Factors to Consider Before Designing Your Own App or Mobile Game with Creative Director Mike Ionita

Mike Ionita
3 min readOct 14, 2020

The number of active mobile gamers worldwide is over 2.2 billion. As the Founder and Creative Director of Crux Game Design, Mike Ionita believes that mobile games are the future of gaming. In 2020, over 3.5 billion people now own smartphones, making mobile gaming accessible, affordable, engaging, and diverse. If you’ve ever thought about throwing your hat into the ring and creating your very own mobile game, Mike Ionita has some tips and tricks to help you get started.

Ensure Your Idea is Innovative and Engaging

The first thing you want to do is work on your idea, finding something that is both innovative and engaging. Start with a brainstorm, outlining any ideas you might have at the outset: characters, story lines, scenes, design, etc. The idea should have mass appeal, and as Mike Ionita explains, should have a ‘sharing’ element built directly into it — like ‘Words with Friends’ or ‘Draw Something’. While you want the user to have a positive experience of your game, you also want them to encourage other people to download it. Mike also suggests writing a compelling story about your game that answers: Who is the hero/villain? What are their strengths/weaknesses? Why are they fighting each other? What is the goal? This will help sell the game to users and keep them invested long-term.

Implement Varying Difficulty Levels

Next up, you want to ensure that your game ‘sticks’. Mike suggests making your game easy enough to reel users in, but challenging enough to keep them coming back. He explains that slowly increasing the difficulty over time will help keep users engaged.

Once you have decided on the story behind your game, what it will do, and how it will challenge users, it is time to identify which platform you want to develop it on. Whether it is Android, iOS, Blackberry, or Windows, try and think about your target demographic before moving forward with a specific platform. A hybrid model of iOS and Android for example, can be a great choice if you have the resources and funding to develop it for multiple platforms.

Once you’ve built your idea and decided on a platform, it is time to mock-up the design of the game. Mike Ionita explains that this step is extremely important, as the aesthetics of a game can make or break it. A game’s design is one of the first things that potential users will see before they decide to download it, so make it as compelling as possible. However, this doesn’t mean that it needs to be complicated, as even a simplistic pixel aesthetic can be appealing to audiences.


This next step may just be the most important: monetization. Mike Ionita claims that deciding how to monetize your game should ideally be considered during the planning phases. You may want to have in-app purchases, where users can download the game for free but pay to upgrade their characters, weapons, and resources. These purchases account for roughly 2% of all sales on Android, and can be a great way to monetize your game if you make it engaging enough. Mike also explains that ads within the app itself can also bring in substantial revenue. Additionally, you can have a premium version of a game with a free trial or demo to get people interested in paying for a monthly/yearly game subscription.

Lastly, Mike Ionita recommends working with skilled game developers to achieve the best possible results. At Crux Game Design, he and his team have overseen the development of hundreds of mobile games, and are able to provide vital insight into what makes a game a successful. You need a game developer who has the requisite skills to transform your ideas into a lucrative business.