7 Reasons why any Mobile Game needs a Backend

One of the differences between mobile games and online/facebook games is that mobile games actually don’t require you to setup a server.
This might not look like a big deal but it actually is. At least for some developers who don’t have the capability to develop server based solutions. It also means you can slash your game dev costs by half on mobile. If you were wondering why so many game developers are targeting mobile platforms these days. That’s part of the reason.

the cloud, a backend server
Well, that was true until 18 months ago when selling games for $0.99 stopped being effective and everything became free with in-app purchases. Nowadays, game developers need to care a lot more about what happens after the game is launched and that usually requires a backend as a service solution or just making your own. If you are making a free to play mobile game and not sure about this need you might want to read on.

Reason 1 – Resolving Disputes

Let’s imagine the following scenario. A user is unhappy with the game from some reason and sends you an angry message to your support email address threatening to put in a bad review. Sounds familiar? Well, wouldn’t it be nice if you could turn the situation around by gifting the user a few bonus gold coins? This trick can magically resolve many support calls but is only available via a server based solution.

Reason 2 – Preventing Fraud

Many games are subject to In-App Purchase hacking these days. Preventing it is important for properly analyzing and optimizing your development as well in order to keep a leveled battlefield for your users.

Reason 3 – Play Across Multiple Devices

More and more users these days have multiple devices and the number will just increase over time. Server based solutions can allow these users to keep their game-state and balances when moving between devices.

Reason 4 – Collecting Data Getting Insights

Analytics is probably the first reason for setting up game servers. Even today when there are quite a few analytics providers out there, there are many publishers who prefer to have their own analytics.

Reason 5 – Implementing DLC

DLC stands for downloadable content which means that the app is downloaded only with some of the content. In games, this usually means additional episodes, worlds or level packs. Implementing DLC allows the game developer to keep the initial install under the 30mb limit and also defer content development to the post launch phase where he knows more about his users and their preferences.

Reason 6 – Optimizing In-App Purchase Store

As in-app purchase stores are making their way into almost all games that optimize various aspects of the store experience as the need arises. A game developer may want to add items to the store, hide items, reorder them or try different price points.

Reason 7 – Keeping the Game Fresh

If you want to keep your users engaged in the game for long periods of time you would need to add fresh elements to the game and adjust it as time goes by. A server based solution may come in handy.
Now, you may be aware that some of these areas are already covered by backend as a service providers or dedicated 3rd party solutions.  Developers today may choose if they want to focus on creating a great looking game or if they view the server side as core to their business and invest time and money in creating their in-house solution.
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