Last year has slowed down the annual growth rate of many industries, but not gaming. In fact, the sky’s the limit for gaming companies, which, in 2020, have reported a record number of players. Spending more time at home and having more availability for relaxing pastime activities, people are now more likely than ever to escape into the world of games, whether that’s an intricate RPG or a simple yet catchy mobile game.
But there’s also another niche between the two, one that many have forgotten about over the years and that is now making a comeback: browser-based games. Flash may be gone, but HTML5 has successfully taken up the baton and, in 2020, we noticed a resurgence of web-based games. According to a new study from Research and Markets, the global browser games market was worth $23.46 billion in 2019 and it’s forecasted to grow at 4.7% and reach $28.18 billion by 2023.
North America reported the biggest growth, followed by Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Australia. If you want to launch a website with or about games, that can be quite a lucrative business idea and the good news is that you can even start on a budget. There are many professionally developed free and premium WordPress themes to choose from so that you don’t have to pay an agency to create your design.
However, in order to choose the best WordPress themes for a games-related website, you need to be aware of the latest trends in the industry and understand the target audience. Here are three things to keep in mind.
Responsiveness is a must
There was a time when people would play web-based games only on their desktops and laptops, but those times are long gone. Smartphone screens are getting bigger and bigger, and many people choose to play their favorite games on mobile too, or access dedicated websites to look for tips – websites like yours. That’s why, when choosing a WordPress theme, you need to make sure it’s responsive and that it offers the same seamless experience on mobile.
Thememattic are experts at modern and responsive WordPress themes, so if you need inspiration, that is a great place to start. Before launching your website, make sure you allocate enough time to testing. Your theme should look just as great on all devices, smartphones and tablets included, and there should be no difference in functionality.
Remember, 2.4 billion people play games on their mobile phones. That accounts for around one-third of the world population, and not all of them use apps. Web-based games also hold a significant percentage of the mobile gaming market, and you shouldn’t neglect that when looking for themes.
Focus on clean designs with intuitive UX
When choosing a theme for a web-based game, there is one major rule you should follow: the design of the website should complement the theme of the game, not overshadow it.
Remember, people are there to play a game, and the theme shouldn’t stand in the way of that.
So, to reduce the bounce rate and boost traffic, choose simple, intuitive themes that people can make their way around regardless of age and level of experience.
All buttons should be visible, and you should avoid clutter as much as possible because it can be distracting. And here’s another statistic to keep in mind: 58% of social gamers are over 40 years old. Although gaming, in general, is associated with tech-savvy Millennials and Gen Z, it is for everyone. Games can be played by 17-year-olds and 67-year-olds, and your theme design should appeal to all categories.
Essential features you should consider for gaming website templates include:
● A review system that people can use to rate their favorite games
● Organized navigation menus with multiple categories if you offer an entire library of games. This feature should be tested extra thoroughly on mobile because it can make or break the experience.
● A forum or a similar type of community that users can join to ask questions, talk about the games, etc.
● Live chat features, in case users encounter any errors and need support.
● A news section where you can post updates about future events, projects, and launches
● An image gallery where people can see trailers and snapshots of the games.
Bright colors: yes or no?
The use of color in gaming WordPress themes isn’t as straightforward as one might think. As a general rule, bright colors incite action, so you’ll see many themes based around red, yellow, and orange color palettes. These colors energize the user and encourage them to play now. However, you also need to keep in mind the kind of games people can play on your website. If it’s only one game, and it’s based on action and adventure, then it makes sense to use red, orange, and yellow to make it pop.
However, you look at the websites of the biggest gaming companies, you’ll notice that their preferred color palette rarely revolves around bright or neon colors. Most of the time, gaming companies keep it neutral and choose hues such as grey, khaki, and brown, with slight variations depending on the theme of the game. For example, sci-fi action games feature colors such as teal, grey, and light blue.
Meanwhile, if you have a game that’s nature-focused or that includes mindfulness and meditation elements, then bright colors should be avoided as much as possible. Instead, use light pastel hues such as baby blue, green, or light brown. But, if there’s one color palette trend that seems to apply to game websites of all types, that’s dark mode. Apart from the already known benefits (it reduces eye strain, it saves screen energy on mobile), dark mode is also more immersive, allowing the rest of the content on your website to pop. So, if you want to make sure people are really looking at your game screenshots, you can’t go wrong with a black background.