Take the 2-minute tour ×
Game Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional and independent game developers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Specifically iPhone/iTouch, Droids, and the new Windows Phone 7? I don't know how to quantify this, or if any research has been done. I am wondering how important the music is to the gaming and what % of games come with music at all, if good music at that.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I wouldn't say music is critical, but good music on any platform can greatly enhance the player's experience. The most important consideration with respect to music is that the music be appropriate--it should fit the game, and it should be somewhat subtle; it should not be too distracting. I would argue that poorly chosen music can easily be worse than no music at all, so it's worth investing time (and often money) to put together a good soundtrack. Your soundtrack should be large enough that it does not become too repetitive, and there must be a way to adjust the volume and switch the music on/off entirely (this functionality is usually provided for you in mobile devices).

If securing a proper soundtrack is not a viable option for you, then consider subtle ambient background sounds instead (see Angry Birds for an example).

I have no meaningful figures about the percentage of mobile games shipping with music, but most of the games I've played do include music, or at least ambient background sounds. There are some notable exceptions of excellent games without music, including Trainyard on the iPhone, which easily ranks in my Top 10 favorite mobile games.

share|improve this answer
Nice answer, I think music is part of keeping the player in the Flow zone, which is important. If you don't know about the Flow, I suggest you read this paper writting by Jenova Chen, this guy actually wrote a thesis on the subject. jenovachen.com/flowingames/p31-chen.pdf –  Frédérick Imbeault Oct 24 '10 at 13:07
I know as a player, the first thing I always do on a phone game is turn off any music. But maybe I'm in the minority. –  BBlake Oct 25 '10 at 12:12
@Frédérick Great point, thanks for the link. @BBlake It definitely varies from player to player, and often depends on where a person is playing. Someone playing mobile games in their cubicle at work will probably mute their device ;). –  Mike Strobel Oct 25 '10 at 12:41
Maibe but you can think of well known Iphone games using music like Tap Tap Revolution. If this game works, it means players probably like music on their portable device ;) –  Frédérick Imbeault Oct 25 '10 at 13:32

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.