Expand your game with cross-platform access

June 25, 2021
Expand your mobile game business to PC and web to reach new players.

The gaming industry is in a constant state of change: trends influence the way people buy, play, and engage with video games. New platforms launch every few years, and developers must adapt to different conditions and migrate from one platform to another to stay afloat.

Online browser games were born in the ‘90s, and with the pervasive nature of Flash, anyone with a connection to the internet could suddenly start playing games. This created a boom for developers on the web — yet monetization would prove to be a problem in these early days. Developers that didn’t alter their outlook were quickly left behind. 

Fast forward just a few years, and you see another shift in the perception and availability of gaming with the inception of Facebook and other social media platforms. Rampantly popular Facebook games like Farmville, Candy Crush Saga, and Words With Friends took the market by storm, proving that the average ‘casual’ smartphone user was just as profitable to a developer as a hardcore gaming devotee.

2012-2021 Global games market

Throngs of gaming developers that had previously specialized in web-based games migrated to app development instead. Though console and PC gaming continued to increase, casual and mobile gaming took off in a way nobody could have predicted.

But as one technology appears, another fades away. 2017 saw the announcement that Adobe Flash was to be shut down, and in 2020 the company ended support for what was once the go-to online gaming platform. There was an exodus of games hosted on Flash that opted instead to migrate to HTML5 or WebGL — which is what you’ll see in most browser games today. Being present on just one platform has become extremely risky, and these days it makes more sense for developers to target several platforms at once.

Despite Flash’s demise, a curious re-emergence of browser-based gaming has occurred. This is not a surprise as the market is overflowing with mobile titles and the studios making them, so developers have to reach new audiences. Luckily, casual players are hungry for browser games once again, and whether you look at free-to-play games, pay-to-play games or pay-in-play games, there’s growth in the sector. The web games market is predicted to rise to a value of $9.3 billion by 2023, and already wise developers are looking for a way to enter that market.

Global Browser Games Market

With marketing costs growing and competition picking up, developers mustn’t waste any time opening themselves to as many revenue streams as possible. This is why some developers choose to create cross-platform titles from the very start instead of spending time and money on porting after the fact. This allows them to reach as many players as possible, regardless of the platforms they prefer, and therefore maximize profits. The result is that users can play wherever they like, with their progress and achievements synced across all platforms.

Global Internet Advertising Spending

Cross-platform is the future, but you need to act now. Keep reading to find out how to enter this market quickly and easily.

Cross-platform opens new opportunities, but brings challenges

More and more developers bring their games to many platforms instead of focusing on just one or two. Fun, casual multiplayer titles like Fall Guys and Among Us have exploded in popularity, with players responding particularly well to the social aspects of both games as international lockdowns have continued. 

Capitalizing on that success, both games are targeting even more platforms — the former is aiming for Xbox consoles and the Nintendo Switch this summer after their PC and PlayStation 4 launch last year, and the latter was released on the Nintendo Switch in December, with console versions coming this year following their initial PC and mobile-only launch in 2020.

Among Us gameplay

These titles follow in the footsteps of a game like Fortnite, where Epic has intentionally made the game available on as many platforms as necessary to attract as many players as possible. The publisher is ‘casting the net wide,’ so to speak, and it’s been very vocal about why that’s important. Cross-players play Fortnite a staggering 570% more on average than non-cross-players. Now that’s what you call player retention.

However, going cross-platform is hard. First, you need to make registration and authentication a quick and easy process for your audience. Creating a user profile only discourages them from jumping directly into the game, so it’s best to allow players to use the same credentials or even their social media accounts. It’s also important to sync user progress across devices and platforms, such as character progress, inventory, purchases, or achievements. Nobody wants to start from zero if they begin playing on another platform.

Then there is a wide range of other things to consider, like developing a game to work with a mouse and keyboard. That’s a different task than making it work with a controller, not to mention a touchscreen. And that’s even before you take into account certification for iOS, Android, and whatever PC platforms you’re planning to target.

It’s easy to see why the world is going cross-platform. For players, it’s about choice and availability, and for developers, it’s an easy way to make one game more lucrative across different audiences. Diversifying revenue streams and getting in the hands of as many players as possible will significantly benefit you and your game. Likewise, scaling up to meet the demands of an audience increasingly used to playing anywhere and everywhere will give you an operational advantage in the marketplace.

Some studios prefer to take on cross-platform development themselves, while others turn to third-party teams or look for existing solutions. But whichever they choose, it’s not an easy feat. You will spend time and money regardless of if you do it yourself or via contractors. As for the ready-made solutions, you’ll want to find a game-oriented and customizable tool, and those aren’t easy to come by.

With that in mind, it’s worth considering how Xsolla can help get your game into the hands of as many players as possible, making the login and play process as painless as possible while simultaneously easing the workload on your studio. Moreover, you can adapt Xsolla’s solution to the needs and looks of your game and even add new features that you may not be utilizing.

How Xsolla can help

For developers who are vying for space in the game industry, Xsolla has the perfect cross-platform identity solution, Xsolla Login.

A cross-platform solution that lets players freely move between platforms on their terms. Login allows you to retain potential customers as they move between mobile, PC, and browser. Xsolla Login supports 30+ authorized providers, which enables seamless, one-click authentication. Instead of creating a new profile, players can sign in to your game using whichever account they want: including Xbox, Steam, Twitch, Discord, Facebook, and more.

Xsolla Login Interface

Login also allows you to keep user data safe and under your ownership, making sure it’s compliant with things like GDPR — which is now law in Europe. Login takes out the hard work when it comes to complex legal issues around player security and data management. If you want to change the way the base Login looks, not to worry — it’s white-label and can be completely customized to suit your needs better. It’s also localized into 20+ languages so that you can use it in multiple regions around the globe.

Better yet, if you’re one of the myriad developers experimenting with live-service games, Xsolla Login supports ready-to-use integration with Playfab and gives you the flexibility of monitoring Playfab’s analytics while also utilizing Xsolla’s tools to communicate with your audience clearly and directly. 

These tools are easy to understand and use and fit frictionlessly into most developmental pipelines. For instance, if you’re looking to publish your game with Epic, Xsolla’s Login also comes as standard with integration with Epic Online Services — allowing you to create cross-platform leaderboards, and integrate tools for matchmaking, lobbies, achievements, and much more.

A solution with Single/Universal Login, whether your customer is playing on mobile, PC, or via a browser, can easily port their progress across. That means players can enjoy your game on various platforms without having to start over — and risk losing interest and retention. 

But Login isn’t just geared towards getting your players to access your game across various devices. It also has a suite of solutions that make the process of migrating your game from one platform to another as effortless as possible so you can find your players wherever they want to play.

Combined with other Xsolla’s solutions, not only can Login help you make the most out of cross-platform, but it can also cut down on your expenses. Being present on several platforms is lucrative but at the same time costly, with each platform taking its fee. These can take up to 30% of all your revenue streams. 

But Xsolla’s solution, you can save up to 25% of your profits. For instance, Push Payments allow players to transfer funds directly into their gaming account without logging into the game. This way, you can avoid various platform fees and let players top up their accounts from anywhere in the world, with Xsolla only taking a 5% commission.

More than that, you can build a robust and active community across all platforms. If you’re a developer aiming to create multiple projects that potentially keep accounts between games, Xsolla Launcher may be your best bet. It provides a one-stop place for your community to assemble, interact and support your game, which will aid in the development of a collaborative, lucrative player base.

Xsolla also offers tools to create your own in-game store and website, giving you complete control over the player journey with your game — no matter what platform or how many you decide to build it for. Xsolla Web Games Distribution Solution is the easiest way to reach a massive, highly-targeted base of video game players, allowing you access to more than 440 distribution channels worldwide through a simple one-time integration. Plus, Xsolla handles the global payments, taxation, compliance, integrations, paperwork, and portal payouts, all with cross-portal, multilingual support.

Better yet, Xsolla’s engine-ready, out-of-the-box instruments work seamlessly with both Unity and Unreal, practically giving you the coverage you need to launch on just about any platform people want to play games on in 2021 and beyond.

Conclusion

Cross-platform development is a strategy that will become ubiquitous in the gaming industry, whether you’re working on triple-A games or committing to making smaller, independent titles.

But developing a cross-platform title can be quite a challenge, with a lot to keep in mind. You must provide players with quick and easy authentication and sync their progress across different devices. Distributing games across multiple platforms can be time-consuming, while fees can eat up a significant part of your revenues. Not to mention having to comply with a range of regulations. 

You can try to solve these issues yourself or contract a team to help you out. But this will take more of your time and money while the cross-platform market continues to attract more and more developers. You can’t afford to waste time.

This is where Xsolla’s suite of identity and publishing solutions comes in. Easy to integrate and customize, these tools will lift the burden of cross-platform development off of your shoulders while you focus on game development. All of that comes with no upfront cost, just 5% of the revenue you make with Xsolla. 

Create your account to start exploring Xsolla’s range of publishing and developmental tools today. If you want to learn how Xsolla can help reduce your workload and provide a simple solution that allows you to publish your game across multiple platforms, contact an expert from our team.

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