Introduction
 
 
Devices
 
 
Launch
 
 
Data
 
 
Feature Story
 
 
App Icons
 
 
Top Creatives
 
 
PowerUp Report: How to Win This Holiday Season
 

iPhone 6s

By Apple

Release Date: September 25, 2015

Why We Care: The iPhone 6s improves on previous generations of Apple’s flagship handset in nearly every way—packing an all-new A9 processor chip, 12 megapixel camera and better battery life. Most notably, the latest iPhone features a new gesture, 3D Touch, which registers harder presses on the screen as an interaction different than light touches.

Dev Tip: Mark Brown, editor of industry publication Pocket Gamer, says devs are already using 3D Touch to create shortcuts like aiming down the iron sights of a rifle with a hard press of the screen, but there are much more inventive outcomes waiting to be dreamed-up. “Imagine manipulating a lump of virtual clay with hard and soft presses, or having to use soft taps to sneak past a sleeping dragon,” he says. Beyond gameplay mechanics, 3D Touch also offers new gestures such as Peek and Pop: allowing players to interact with a game when they’re not even playing it. It’s rolling out to the iPad Pro and likely to become a standard feature on iPhones (on Android handsets there’s a similar gesture called “force touch”), so it’s worth preparing your game for 3D Touch and the 6s sooner rather than later.

iPad Pro

By Apple

Release Date: November (rumored)

Why We Care: It’s considerably larger and more powerful than its fellow tablet brethren, creating new opportunities for portable, large-screen mobile games.

Dev Tip: “Think about how people will hold the device,” Brown says. “Holding the iPad Pro like an Xbox controller will lead to tired arms in no time. Instead, focus on games and controls that work best when the device is in your lap or on a table, like strategy and puzzle games.” As for taking advantage of the extra power of the device, don’t expect as much advancement as you might like: “The iPad Pro comes with extra power and memory you can use to make your games look even better,” Brown says. “But remember that a lot of that brunt will go to powering those 5.5 million pixels.”

Apple TV

By Apple

Release Date: November

Why We Care: It’s the first generation of the set-top box to feature games.

Dev Tip: Apple has limited the file size of all games on the device to 200MB, which rules out games with a large storage footprint. Additionally, every game on Apple TV must be compatible with the Apple Remote. In accordance with this requirement, devs must work out a way to use the remote’s limited button set and touchpad to create a similar experience to the mobile game counterpart. According to Des Gayle of London-based studio Altered Gene, this means prioritizing simplicity: “I would concentrate on getting the default controls solid before thinking about anything else.”

Gear VR

by Samsung & Oculus

Release Date: November, some time before Black Friday (consumer edition)

Why We Care: It’s the first consumer VR product from Oculus that works with a mobile device.

Dev Tip: Simple games can utilize Gear’s head tracking and head touchpad controls, but more complicated games will need to be optimized for a mobile controller. Barry Meade, CEO of the UK-based Fireproof Studios (creator of the VR-only Omega Agent), says that regardless of complexity, the key to success for all VR games is to move beyond the tech demos seen so far to create titles that are both immersive and intellectually engaging. “Make a full game in every sense of the word and not just a ‘VR experience,'” Meade says. “You can love the VR aspect but you still have to execute everything else equally well.”

 
 

CHRISTMAS GAME SESSION GROWTH BY CATEGORY 201

iOS & Google Play, Average Thursday vs. Holiday

  • LATAM, the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and Ireland were some of the most notable markets that experienced outsized game sessions on Christmas when compared to the average Thursday.

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NEW YEAR'S DAY GAME SESSION GROWTH BY CATEGORY 201

iOS & Google Play, Average Thursday vs. Holiday

  • The Irish couldn’t put down their mobile devices after Christmas, as Ireland saw a 117 percent increase in game sessions on New Year’s Day when compared to the average Thursday. Additionally, pockets of western Europe and Southeast Asia kicked off the New Year with increased game sessions.

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Christmas Game Session Growth by Category 2014

iOS & Google Play, Global, Average Thursday vs. Holiday

  • Players unanimously chose to stretch their brains on Christmas and New Year’s, as game sessions for trivia exploded by over 70 percent across both platforms and holidays when compared to the average Thursday.

New Year's Day Game Session Growth by Category 2014

iOS & Google Play, Global, Average Thursday vs. Holiday

  • Players unanimously chose to stretch their brains on Christmas and New Year’s, as game sessions for trivia exploded by over 70 percent across both platforms and holidays when compared to the average Thursday.

Christmas and New Year's Day Install Growth by Platform 2014

iOS, U.S., Average Thursday vs. Holiday

  • On both iOS and Google Play in the U.S., New Year’s Day recorded greater install growth than Christmas. In particular, installs on New Year’s Day, when compared to the average Thursday leading up to New Year’s, increased over 114 percent on iOS and 54 percent on Google Play.

Christmas and New Year's Day Install Growth by Platform 2014

Google Play, U.S., Average Thursday vs. Holiday

  • On both iOS and Google Play in the U.S., New Year’s Day recorded greater install growth than Christmas. In particular, installs on New Year’s Day, when compared to the average Thursday leading up to New Year’s, increased over 114 percent on iOS and 54 percent on Google Play.
 
 
 

The Simpsons: Tapped Out

By EA

  • Subtle side profile of Homer Simpson’s face is instantly recognizable to anyone who’s seen The Simpsons.
  • The Simpsons brand color palette, including the yellow skin on the giant finger, lends itself to sparking a player’s subconscious.
  • Snow, the universal symbol for winter, enhances the creative asset’s effectiveness during the holidays.

Solitaire

By Harpan

  • Solitaire logo, with a subtle holiday title treatment, maintains branding while still displaying some holiday flair.
  • In the instance of this creative, the photograph of a real iPad and holiday tree is more effective than an illustration.
  • Effective use of depth of field directs a player’s eyes to focus on the gameplay in the iPad.

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood

By Glu Games

  • Arrangement of “I hope it’s amazing!” copy in the speech bubble and “Let’s Play!” CTA looks as if Kim Kardashian is personally recommending the game to the player.
  • Black background accentuates the high contrast gold theme for New Year’s.
  • Placement of Kim Kardashian takes advantage of Western players’ tendency to read images from left to right

Caesars Slots

By Playtika

  • Santa’s jolly face triggers positive emotions in the players’ minds, which potentially increases engagement.
  • Familiar image of Santa with a bag full of gifts makes players instantly associate the positive sentiment with the game.
  • Spinning slots in the device screenshot gives players a sense of the gameplay.

Farm Slots

By TopGame

  • The high contrast color combination of the red background and the white “Merry Christmas” copy leads players’ to notice the copy before anything else in the creative.
  • Overall design of the creative feels less like an ad and more like a holiday greetings card.
  • Players reproduce the sense of unwrapping a gift in their mind, thanks to the wrapping-paper inspired background design.