When we think of mobile gaming, we primarily think of out-of-nowhere sensations that generate millions upon millions of dollars for game developers. From Angry Birds to Candy Crush, Clash Of Clans to Temple Run, a lot of these games have become franchises unto themselves. Pokémon Go just became the biggest mobile game ever in a matter of weeks after its release, putting one of the most popular game series of all time back on the map and to some degree even reviving interest in Nintendo.
In short, mobile games are incredibly powerful. They can revive gaming companies, launch new developer empires, and generate incredible amounts of wealth for those involved. But in the past five years or so, they’ve also developed another use that has moved steadily to the forefront: mobile games are wonderful marketing tools for film studios.
You might notice it most where superhero films and characters are concerned. Marvel and DC have the advantage of creating films with superheroes that are already extraordinarily well known and popular, so it’s pretty natural that they’d use the same characters in gaming. As a result, there are countless mobile titles that employ superheroes and villains from comics. But beginning (arguably) with Injustice: Gods Among Us, the companies really began to churn out games with direct connections to film content. Both comic book giants have used mobile gaming to promote characters who are soon to appear in new films. Marvel has even used its Contest Of Champions game to introduce new people ahead of upcoming projects (such as Elektra before the second season of Daredevil on Netflix). In this way, the games have become not just further extensions of comic empires, but targeted advertisement tools for new films.
Where superhero films are concerned, a similar strategy now extends to the online casino business too, and this is an area closely tied to mobile gaming. The selection of licensed slot games featured by Gala Casino can be accessed via the same site’s mobile apps, and includes numerous representations of popular superhero blockbusters. For instance, an Iron Man 2 game is there that, deals entirely with the film and keeping it on fans’ radars even years after the movie left theaters. The same is true of The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, and even films that might otherwise have been more or less forgotten by now, such as Ghost Rider. The fact that these titles are still featured prominently at a major gaming platform undoubtedly helps to drive streaming and DVD sales to some degree.
But it isn’t all about the superhero genres. You may notice that other licensed slot options include the likes of Gladiator (which, judging by the amount being won on it, is still one of the most popular games) and Cowboys & Aliens, and it’s these types of films that also generate independent mobile gaming experiences. Basically, anything that naturally incorporates action and fun settings can spawn a mobile game, and studios are increasingly aware of the fact that releasing such a game is a legitimate form of publicity.
Jurassic World, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Martian, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Furious 7 are just a few of the other recent films that have led to mobile releases, either directly or through various twists and spins. And while some of these games tend to play more like extended playable trailers than actual games, most of them actually have a lot to offer and ultimately become pretty popular. Just for an idea of what “popular” means in this context, Android’s page for Fast & Furious: Legacy has over 415,000 ratings and estimates between five and 10 million installs—and that’s just at Google Play. Factor in the Apple store as well and it’s fair to say that millions of fans are trying games like these, only helping to increase interest in the accompanying films.
This all sounds pretty natural, but it’s actually something that the studios only now seem to be grasping. Not evert film is conducive to mobile gaming, but those that are will probably begin leaning on this brand of game-based marketing even more in the near future. Before long, it could be that a mobile release is as plainly expected as a YouTube trailer.