原作者：Guest Author 譯者：Willow Wu
毋庸置疑,2008年App Store的出現對app的發展和分銷有着革命性的意義。突然之間，開發者們只需要考慮兩種設備(初代iPhone和iPhone 3G)，一條全球分銷渠道還有好用的開發工具。
就在這種環境下，第一個手機遊戲在iOS上發佈了。業內支持者很快就開發出了像Super Monkey Ball (Sega)和Spore Origins (EA)這樣的遊戲，而且在APP Store發行時，Steve Jobs還把它們放在了的相當顯眼的位置。
Candy Crush Saga是西方休閒手遊市場中早期的IAP先鋒之一。
之後在2012年的夏末，Clash of Clans的出現再次改變了手遊行業。Supercell認爲可以把現有的遊戲理念（遊戲邦注：比如農場、反塔防）移植到另一種平臺上，玩家可以專注在時間相對較短的流程上。
好了，接着就是core類遊戲，它的主要特徵就是流程少，玩家也沒有那麼多，但是轉化價值極高。雖然midcore和core之間的分界線是所有類別中最模糊的，而且還有些交叉領域，這裏我要說的是Game of War或者Empires and Allies這樣的遊戲。
Core F2P遊戲要如何成功盈利？Game of War就是一個非常好的例子。
除此之外，由於core遊戲的玩家有上百萬人，社交功能就變成了盈利的基本要素。Machine Zone創始人Gabriel Leydon稱Game of War是一個“高度結構化的Facebook”。
考慮到前期對遊戲投入的時間，玩家不得不花錢。如果不花錢，那麼他們就會功虧一簣，淘汰出局。由於Game of War不限制規模，遊戲中永遠都不會缺少交易，而且這些交易通常都非常划算，在玩家改變主意之前，性價比會不斷提升，就如同這篇Game of War的分析所說。
This article is part one of a planned three-part series.
Since the App Store first debuted in 2008, the mobile games landscape has flourished.
Thanks to various enabling factors, nearly ten years on, the App Store is home to over 760,000 games – a volume that is quite amazing to ponder.
Over time three rough categories (with admittedly blurry lines) have emerged within mobile gaming – casual, midcore, and core – that define players’ tastes and generally speaking dominate mobile gaming.
In this three-part series, I will cover why I think an addition to these categories is on the horizon.
But first, in this installment, I’d like to cover where we’ve been and where we are now.
The dawn of the app age
Remember the Dark Ages of flip and feature phones? Or perhaps you don’t? The App Store is old enough that some younger developers may have never known anything other than smartphones.
Well let me tell you, those were the days. Mobile games were small Java apps that you downloaded in .JAR files. In terms of distribution, the national carriers maintained walled gardens. And there was no standardisation – indeed both hardware and software were massively fragmented – and monetisation was chiefly through carriers with different revenue shares.
The problem of course was that few users went out of their way to download games, so if you were a mobile game publisher, getting “on deck” with the carrier as a default app was the only way to succeed. Carriers were the gatekeepers, and if you didn’t get past them, you didn’t stand a chance.
But it’s not like that was the only problem if you were a mobile game developer back then: building games with Java was no fun, there were literally dozens of different handsets across multiple carriers that had to be designed for, and mobile hardware was extremely underpowered, so the limitations on gameplay, graphics and sound were many.
The introduction of the App Store in 2008 of course revolutionised both app development and distribution: Suddenly there were only two devices (the original iPhone and iPhone 3G) to design for, one global distribution channel and robust tools to develop with.
Revenue share was standardised. Discovering and downloading was suddenly easy for users. When you look back at that moment, it really was like the dawn of a new era in terms of the burst of innovation and creativity.
Casual: “Snackable” mass appeal and the dawn of IAPs
It was in this environment that the first games were launched on iOS. Industry stalwarts moved fast to develop games like Super Monkey Ball (Sega) and Spore Origins (EA), which were highlighted on stage by Steve Jobs at the App Store’s launch.
Most games were paid downloads that started at 69p, and IAPs were not allowed. In 2009, Rovio was the first studio to really figure out how to capitalise on the touch screen with Angry Birds, which by 2012 would notch over a billion downloads.
Then when IAPs were introduced, with Candy Crush, King managed to transition from Facebook to mobile, introducing social hooks and an engaging meta-game, effectively teaching a large user base how to make micro-payments through IAP.
Candy Crush Saga was one of the early pioneers of IAPs in the Western casual mobile market
These pioneers came to define the category we now call ‘casual’ on mobile devices. Their products were characterised by relatively straightforward and easy to learn gameplay and appeal to a broad audience.
Midcore: the advent of sophisticated monetisation
Then in the late-summer of 2012, Clash of Clans changed mobile gaming again. Supercell understood that it was possible to migrate existing game concepts (farming, reverse tower defense) onto a platform where players would engage in relatively short sessions
In this phase, the engaging meta game, the adapted controls for touch and the delivery of a simple, recognisable design pushed mobile gaming to new levels.
Then there was the fact that midcore games moved asynchronous multiplayer and social features to the next level and mastered virtual economies.
Meanwhile, monetisation became a flexible hybrid combining virtual economics with full-screen ads.
Then there’s ‘core’ titles – games that are characterised by fewer sessions and users but conversion at high prices. While the lines between midcore and core are the blurriest of all the categories, and there are crossovers, here I’m talking about games like Game of War or Empires and Allies.
These games started to take off in 2013, as mobile became ubiquitous. Android caught up and incredible complexity in mobile games was possible thanks to advancements in hardware.
Game of War is a prime example of how to succesfully monetise a core F2P game
Not only that, but as core games connected millions of people, social networking became a foundation for monetisation; Machine Zone founder Gabriel Leydon called Game of War “a highly structured Facebook”.
Time commitment to the game forces players to spend money; if a player doesn’t spend money, they’re out. Because Game of War is infinitely scalable, deals are constant and generous, and they become more valuable until players convert, as outlined in this analysis of the game.
Monetisation of core games is highly whale-driven – depth keeps its big spenders engaged and average paying users are rumored to spend about $550 annually.
In core, monetisation has reached its apex, combining complex virtual economies, gacha mechanics, social incentives and active community management.
Games like the ones I’ve mentioned above have each been pioneers in mobile gameplay, and the companies that have built these games have created massive businesses valued at billions of dollars.
The question becomes: in terms of the evolution of mobile game genres, are we done? I think not.
Indeed, I think another blockbuster genre is emerging, or rather is re-inventing itself from an earlier incarnation.
I’ll tell you what it is in Part two of this series.（source：pocketgamer.biz ）