6 Must-Have Features for Mobile Games in 2023

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Mobile gaming is booming, and developers are looking for rounded and innovative ways to make their games stand out. To keep players interested and returning for more, it’s essential to keep up with the latest developments and technologies.

Today, we’ll look at the 6 must-have features that will give your mobile game a competitive advantage in 2023.

Let’s jump in 👇🏻

In-App Purchase

Okay, I know what you’re saying right now, In-App purchases duh, I already know that. But I say it anyway because it is the most important feature and it should be in any game regardless of the genre. Before learning why this is important, let’s define what it means for mobile games.

In-app purchases include content or subscriptions bought inside games. Depending on the type of game, it can come in different shapes, such as power-ups, skins, customization, unlockable content, virtual currency, boosts, and many more.

We know that they are the cornerstone of mobile game monetization, especially for freemium games. It helps developers earn money while improving gaming experiences for their players.

But here’s a friendly warning: don’t push in-app purchases into your game to rake in cash. They need to bring something valuable to the table.

Think about it: If a player’s stuck on a level or wants to speed things up a bit, that’s where a well-placed in-app purchase can shine.

If you pressure players to buy without making them feel like they’re getting something special, odds are they’ll keep their wallets shut.

Why should you add your game in 2023?

As we define what it means, it’s time to learn why it is important to add in-app purchases to your game. The gaming world of 2023 has been rigged out with shiny new features that, despite what you may think, offer some pretty solid benefits.

I mean, first off, we’re talking serious dollar signs here. In-app purchases keep cash flowing long after players hit the download button. They’ve proven their worth in the ‘freemium’ model, where you give the base game away for free or next-to-nothing.

Get more players in the door, and you’ve got more chances to earn extra with in-app transactions.

But it’s not all about money it can do so much more. When you play your cards right, you spice up player interaction and keep them coming back. Throw in some exclusive content, personalization options, or gameplay perks, and you’re golden.

And you know what else? The way your players interact with these in-app purchases can give you a treasure trove of data. This information is like gold dust for future game development and marketing.

So, in the cutthroat gaming world of 2023, throwing in-app purchases into your game isn’t just a smart move – it’s the way to optimize your earnings, get your players hooked, and make data-driven decisions.


I’ve got to admit, I have a thing for leaderboards. I write a bunch of blogs and explain how you build them or what they mean in mobile games. Now, you might wonder why I’m so hooked on them. Well, let me break it down for you.

They’re so fascinating! They boost engagement, retention, and eventually game money. They’re fun to see in games, no matter the genre. Now, if you’re here, I bet you already know what a leaderboard is, so I won’t bore you with that.

But I’ll explain why players are so obsessed

  • They love to see their names on the little screen.
  • They want to perform better than the other players and surpass them.
  • Holding a high rank is like a badge of honor, showing off their gaming skills.
  • Players enjoy seeing their improvement over time; it’s like a personal success story unfolding.

Are Game Leaderboards Still a Thing?

The short answer is yes. Leaderboards are alive and kicking in 2023. But hey, what’s the fun in short answers? Let’s dig a little deeper.

These leaderboards aren’t about who scores the most anymore. Nah, they’ve grown up and evolved.

They’re all about stats now. Your achievements, your team’s achievements, even weird and wonderful game-specific stuff you’d never think of

Why? Well, it’s simple. They stoked the competitive fire. They push gamers to reach for more and improve their performance.

They’re a source of bragging rights and a nudge to try harder and play longer. In the gaming community, they’re a source of friendship, rivalry, and that sweet satisfaction of beating your friends.

They’re innovating, integrating leaderboards into gameplay, community challenges, and esports events. You name it, they are part of it.

So, whether you’re a console loyalist, a PC purist, or riding the wave of mobile gaming, one thing’s for sure: they’re not going anywhere.

Social Features

Games need a community and social features help games build one. Confuse? Let me explain, but first I would like to tell you more about social features in games.

Social features refer to the elements that let players interact, compete, team up, and communicate with each other. They’re the chat systems, the co-op modes, the leaderboards, the friend lists, and even the guilds or clans

Mobile games have three main groups. One is Competitive Social Features, which include leaderboards, player versus player (PvP) modes, and achievements & badges.

The other one is Cooperative Social Features, which include chat and messaging systems for strategizing, clans, and teams, cooperative modes (Co-Op), gifts, and trade systems.

And the Social Interaction Features, including friend lists, social media Integration, and shared worlds.

Of course, I’m not bothering with the details. An in-depth discussion of this topic deserves a separate blog.

Why add social features to games in 2023?

If you haven’t added those features yet, you’re missing out on a lot. However, 2023 is a fantastic year to take action – it’s never too late.

Games benefit greatly from social features. According to App Annie’s 2023 Q2 report, games with social elements are more likely to go viral. They have a 20% higher share rate among users than games without these features. This effectively serves as free marketing, reducing acquisition costs for game developers.

In essence, social features promote user engagement, increase player retention, and build a loyal gaming community. All these factors contribute to successful and profitable games.

What is the best case study?

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Candy Crush Saga

Before moving to the next topic let’s look at the most well-known Match 3 game Candy Crush Saga and how they created the best case for using social features.

After integrating Facebook integration, the game tapped into social networking to create a compelling experience that went viral.

Here’s a closer look at the key ingredients:

  • Facebook Integration: The game allows players to link their accounts with Facebook to connect with friends, share achievements, and invite others to play, creating a strong community feeling.
  • Leaderboards: This feature encourages friendly competition, as players strive for higher scores than their friends and worldwide gamers.
  • Social Gifts: The gifting system where players can exchange lives and power-ups, promoting teamwork and helping them to overcome tough levels.
  • Viral Spread: Players’ progress posts on Facebook act as viral marketing, making the game popular worldwide.
  • Regular Updates: Developers ensure the game remains appealing by regularly introducing new levels and events.

Live Operations (Live Ops)

Live Operations, often shortened to “Live Ops”, is a term used frequently in mobile and online games. Developing, releasing, and managing new content and features in a game after its initial release is known as post-release maintenance.

Here are some examples of what can be considered liveops and what cannot:

Live Ops:

  • Short-term discounts or special bundles in the game’s store.
  • Special events during holidays with new, time-limited content.
  • Periodic ranked resets with new content or game balance changes.

Non-Live Ops:

  • Fundamental rules and systems of the game.
  • Always-available game content without time restrictions.
  • The original visual style, character design, level design, and sound.

All developers agree that it is the most beneficial feature of a game. If you ask why, let me explain.

When developers release new content in mobile games, players have a strong reason not to delete the game. Regular updates, new levels, characters, or special events keep gaming fresh and engaging.

It motivates players to continue exploring the game and look forward to the next adventure.

Is Live Ops still the hottest trend in 2023?

Absolutely! As of 2023, Live Ops is not just a hot trend in the mobile gaming industry, it’s a wildfire. It’s so hot you could fry an egg on it

Jokes aside, there’s a specific reason why live ops dominate as the hottest trend. Cost Per Install (CPI) rates are flying; the sky is the limit. Today, monetization is more challenging than ever, and competition is intense across the board.

So, if you want to keep your players, rethink your strategy. Live Ops is more viable in rising CPIs. Instead of acquiring new users, the focus shifts to nurturing and monetizing your existing player base.

Because it is generally less costly to keep an existing player than to acquire a new one, it can reduce user acquisition costs.

How to create winning strategies for successful Live Ops in 2023?

To create winning strategies for successful Live Ops in 2023, use in-game analytics to understand player behavior and tailor your content.

Motivate participation in limited-time events with exclusive rewards. You should update your game with fresh content while maintaining a balance between challenges and rewards.

As a final tip, promote your gaming community on social media and through in-game messaging, incorporating player feedback to improve the gaming experience.



On this list, we discussed many features, but now we come to my favorite. I believe multiplayer is a must-have in 2023.

In case you don’t know what multiplayer features let me explain.

Multiplayer is a gaming mode where two or more players can interact and compete against each other. It could happen when players play on the same network or online, where people connect from different locations worldwide.

I find that multiplayer games take center stage for several reasons. For one, they offer an avenue for social interaction.

These games create a community, allowing friends, family, and even strangers to connect, collaborate, and compete in a shared virtual environment.

Moreover, those games’ competitive nature adds an exciting element that heightens the gaming experience.

It’s one thing to play against AI, but competing against real players is challenging to replicate. It’s the challenge—the unpredictable nature of human opponents—that keeps them coming back.


Rewards are the secret sauce that keeps players coming back for more. It creates a sense of accomplishment and progression for players.

Achievements are the most prevalent system—virtual badges or trophies marking victories and milestones.

They keep players pushing forward, challenging them to complete specific tasks or reach the next level.

Why should you add rewards to games in 2023?

In gaming, rewards play a crucial role. They act like magnets, pulling players back into the game and creating lasting habits.

The reward is increased player involvement by setting objectives to strive for.

Moreover, these rewards can be connected to in-app purchases or ads, paving the way for extra revenue streams.

Rewards contribute to games’ social fabric. They spur competition and teamwork, creating a lively, interconnected community.

So, in 2023, rewards will become an indispensable tool for crafting compelling and engaging games.


Mobile gaming is about more than just making a game; it’s about creating engaging, dynamic, and social experiences.

The must-have features we discussed today—in-app purchases, leaderboards, social features, live operations, multiplayer modes, and rewarding systems—are essential to keeping players hooked and monetizing effectively.

But beyond that, they’re also a source of valuable data to drive decisions and create successful games.

So, in 2023 and beyond, let’s embrace these essentials, innovate, and strive to make gaming experiences that players love and return to.