What is a metagame?
The definition of metagaming is gameplay beyond the core game functionality or concept. The implementation of metagaming, however, differs between gaming app developers and mobile game players. For gaming app developers, a metagame includes any additional gameplay outside of the core mechanics of the game which does not take up the majority of the player’s time.
For mobile game players, metagaming is the use of information from the real world to influence gameplay. This could look like finding a loophole in the game rules or looking up information online to assist in achieving a higher score in-app. Metagaming is sometimes frowned upon in the gaming community and can be considered cheating. Let’s take a look at metagaming from a mobile app developer’s perspective.
Metagaming is often thought of only amongst the roleplay gaming community. However, metagaming applies to any type of mobile game. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Puzzle game: Each time a player solves a puzzle they earn virtual coins to spend on building a world for their chosen avatar.
Endless runner game: As the player navigates the level they can collect power-ups that allow them to upgrade their character’s capabilities.
Food game: Each level completed earns the player points which can be exchanged for time extensions, virtual equipment upgrades, or customization options.
Construction and management simulation game: A player can choose to complete specific objectives for their city’s inhabitants on the side of their core building gameplay.
Sports game: A persistent leaderboard with varying levels encourages players to continue earning points or get demoted.
What are the benefits of metagames?
In the incredibly competitive world of mobile gaming apps, having a metagame differentiation can make for a great advantage. Adding these extra features to your app makes for a more engaging, interesting, and therefore addicting game. Metagaming can:
- Increase session lengths.
- Improve user retention.
- Differentiate your app.
- Increase in-app purchases.