Tradeshow Marketing

Native App Game VS Web-Based Trade Show Games

Explore the pros and cons of native app trade show games and web-based trade show games to make an informed choice for maximum engagement.

The exhibition industry is expected to reach, and even surpass, pre-COVID figures in 2024. As the event landscape becomes more competitive, exhibitors seek innovative ways to engage with the audience and leave a lasting impression.

One strategy that has gained significant traction in recent times is booth gamification. Fun and interactive digital trade show games can grab visitors' attention, offer them a memorable experience, and help you get closer to your business objectives.

But apart from selecting the right game for your booth, another vital consideration is whether you should choose native app-based or web-based booth games. Let’s explore the pros and cons of both game formats to help you make the right decision-

[READ: What to Look Out for Before Choosing and Setting Up a Trade Show Game?]

What are Native Application Trade Show Games?

Native application games for trade shows are built for a specific operating system or platform, like iOS or Android. Exhibitors provide the visitors a link to download the game to their devices, after which they can engage with the game. Alternatively, exhibitors may install Android or iOS devices in their booths that visitors can use to play the game. 

Pros and Cons of Native App Games


Speed and Performance

As these games can directly access the resources of the device on which they run, these games ensure a swift and seamless gaming experience. This is crucial for a trade show environment where quick and seamless interactions are essential.

Improved Graphics and User Experience

By leveraging the full potential of a device’s graphical capabilities, a native app-based booth activity game can deliver a visually stunning gaming experience. The immersive experience will captivate the attendees and leave a lasting impression.

Enhanced Control

Native app games also offer better control in various aspects, including development, user interface, features, and security. This provides developers and businesses with a higher level of influence over the user experience, performance, and overall presentation.


Development Costs

Compared to web-based games, developing a native game app is generally more expensive as it requires specialized skills. Amid the rising exhibiting costs, this could be a cause of concern for many exhibitors. However, unless exhibitors are getting a custom game developed, this would not be an issue. If you’re renting a game from a gamification solution company such as Audiencegage, you only page the rental costs for x number of events. 

Platform Dependency

Native app games are platform-specific. For instance, a game built for iOS can only be played on iPhones and iPads and not on Android devices. This can limit the reach of the game to specific devices and audiences. 

Installation Barriers

The trade show attendees have to download the app to their devices before engaging with the game. The extra step might be a barrier for some participants, impacting overall engagement. But as mentioned above, exhibitors can easily circumvent this limitation by installing Android or iOS devices such as iPads and Tablets at the booth. 

[READ: 10 Worst Trade Show Games to Avoid]

What are Web-Based Trade Show Games?

Web-based trade show games are digital games designed to be played directly via a web browser. Web technologies like CSS, JavaScript, and HTML5 are generally used to build these games to ensure they’re accessible across various platforms and devices. 

For players visiting your trade show booth, they are asked to visit a website or scan a QR code, taking them to the exact link of the game. Alternatively, exhibitors can install their own devices at the booth for a more controlled experience. 

Pros and Cons of Web-Based Booth Games



Web-based trade show games can be accessed across various devices and operating systems, promoting inclusivity and ensuring a broader reach among visitors.

No Downloads or Installations

As trade show attendees can access the game through a web browser, they don’t have to download or install any applications. This helps in reducing entry barriers and encouraging quick engagement during trade shows.

Real-Time Updates

Web-based games allow for real-time updates to ensure all the latest content or features are instantly available to all users. But with app-based games, every version of the game app must be updated individually.


Requires Reliable Internet Connection

For web-based games, exhibitors require a stable internet connection. While this is not a concern at most trade shows, as the organizers make the required arrangements, it is still something you should keep in mind. Moreover, an internet outage at the booth or speed issues can cause worries for the exhibitors. 

If you’re going for a web-based game, we recommend offering your own Wi-fi support to the trade show visitors for better and more reliable user experience.  

Performance Limitations

As compared to native game apps, web-based games can face limitations with regard to graphics and overall performance. However, the latest advancements in web-based technologies have almost eliminated this gap. 

Security Concerns

Web-based games can be more susceptible to security threats compared to native apps. Thus, exhibitors should only work with trusted trade show game providers.

[READ: 7 Key Elements of a Trade Show Game]

Choosing Between Native and Web-Based Trade Show Games

Both native and web-based games have their pros and cons. You can make a decision after considering various factors, such as-

1- The Game You Choose

Some games are better suited for native applications, while others may better fit the web-based game category. 

For instance, if you’re going for a Scavenger Hunt type game where you may want the visitors to move around the trade show floor or trade show booth, a web-based application game may be a smarter choice. 

However, for other games such as Trade Show Trivia or Spin the Wheel, a native application game with installed devices can be a wiser decision. 

2- Number of Trade Show Attendees Expected at the Booth

While you can ask visitors to download the game application, this may not be the best way to go about when choosing a native application game. Hence, you may have to install a few iPads or tablets at the booth so that visitors can play the game with ease. 

However, if you expect a lot of visitors, they might have to wait for their turn (not nice ofcourse). In such cases, going for web-based games where visitors can enter the game on their own smartphones can be a better choice. 

3- Internet Connectivity

While most trade show floors come with Wi-fi support and internet connectivity, the internet speed may be a question mark, especially considering the number of trade show attendees trying to access it. A web-based game can work quite well if internet connectivity is not a problem. However, if not, a native application game played on installed iPads takes away the worries from the booth staff. 

The Best Alternative - Native Application and Web-Based Trade Show Games Capability

While you can choose between the two based on the factors discussed above, the best choice would be going for a game with both capabilities. One that is a native application game but can also be played on the visitors’ web browser by scanning a QR code placed at the trade show booth. 

Audiencegage offers a wide range of native and web-based digital trade show games, including Trivia Challenges, Raffle Games, Prize Wheels, Scavenger Hunts, and Custom Games to help exhibitors with audience engagement strategies. Schedule a free demo to see how our fun and engaging games can offer a memorable experience to your visitors and help you achieve business goals.

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