We have always preferred to focus on building intensive gaming experience that are … hard to pull off. We have always bucked the industry trends in this regard.
For example, we have a very well-regarded Voice colleague who created a voice app (not a game) that did stunningly well. He implemented a simple idea that exploited a gap in what Amazon and Google *should have* included as intrinsic features. Besides being a simple application, he didn’t need to invest much effort in writing code, which meant that, once his success became clear, he had a flurry of copycat applications nipping at his heels.
We’ve noticed that casual and mid-core games have certain advantages over hard core games. They are simpler to implement. They definitely require less investment in terms of system architecture and strategic planning. Because of the learning and discovery curves, we have noted that minimalist apps are the easiest for users to engage with. But unfortunately, minimalist apps are not hard to backward engineer. Simple games are easier to copy.
Besides contending with copycats, developers who focus on simple games are limiting their options for building user engagement. Shorter play cycles mean fewer opportunities to deliver compelling content. And user retention seems to require intense engagement.
(Further complicating the situation, we would argue that developers have fewer bells and whistles to add to make applications unique. Voice is a sufficiently low fidelity medium at this point in time that distinctiveness requires real ingenuity.)
We’ve learned a few tricks over time to add complexity and interest to Voice games. Putting in leader boards gives players incentives to compete, and they add a notch that many copycats find hard to emulate. Trying to hook a user with a subscription model or premium content gives them an incentive to come back to your app. (But it also gives them an incentive to use a non-charging app that is almost as good as yours.)
Is it any wonder why we developed the motto: Do Hard Things?