Interview

2012 in review: Jon Jordan, PocketGamer.biz

2012 in review: Jon Jordan, PocketGamer.biz
As we look back over the past 12 months and forward to the next 12, we've asked the great and the good in the mobile gaming industry for their opinions.

But despite stringent security, it appears that PocketGamer.biz editor-at-large Jon Jordan has somehow managed to sneak in his responses.

Pocket Gamer: What do you think was the most significant event for the mobile games industry in 2012?

Jon Jordan: There have been plenty of trends that will shape the way the industry operates in 2013, but I think the most significant has been the very fast rise of companies bringing PVP competitive gaming to mobile.

The most obvious example is Kabam, which had one of the year's top grossing games with the mobile version of its success web game Kingdom of Camelot.

Of course, Supercell managed to do something similar with a totally original game Clash of Clans, while NaturalMotion stripped down gameplay to its limits with CSR Racing.

Combined with the games that platform companies such as GREE/Funzio and DeNA/ngmoco are pushing, not to mention the output of companies such as Kixeye, Zynga, Glu, Machine Zone and all the German, Chinese and Russian MMOG companies piling into the sector, things are going to get very bloody in 2013.

It will also be interesting to see how the first wave of successful social mobile gaming companies such as Storm8, Pocket Gems, CrowdStar and TinyCo - which have typically released games for girls - deal with the situation, especially as we'd expect the big console developers to become more active in this space too.

So I'd expect plenty more M&A activity as the sector bubbles and shakes itself out.

What was your favourite mobile game of the year?

I'm not sure I'd say I had a nailed down favourite game. I spent the most money in Clash of Clans, and enjoyed trying to work out how CSR Racing was monetised, and was impressed by Angry Birds Space's polish and controlled innovation.

In terms of games I spend more time with that for purely professional reasons, while I'm terrible at Triple Town, I enjoy its simple charms as a timewaster...

But if pressed would give Tiger Style's Walking Mars my Game of the Year award.

What do you predict will be the most important trends in 2013?

Without repeating my answer to question 1 in terms of the continuing rise of mid/hardcore gaming, I think there will also be lot of confusion about the value of real money gaming for a couple of months.

Window 8/Windows Phone 8 will likely be an interesting space, especially for PC/console companies who want to go cross-platform but who don't want to do pure mobile games.

And I think the ongoing competition between GREE and DeNA's Mobage's platform will underpin much of the news cycle in 2013.

Both companies have a lot of money to spend on content (whether acquisitions or marketing), and as I don't think it's clear that either has yet demonstrated its strategic goal of expanding outside Japan will be a success, they could start to get desperate, and spend even more than they have already. 

What's your New Year's resolution and what resolution would you suggest for the industry?

Professionally, I'll be working less (but smarter) in 2013, while hopefully taking up rock climbing.

For the wider industry, I think developers of less than 10 people need to think very seriously about whether they have the scale or expertise to survive in 2013, while companies of more than 50 people need to think very seriously about their burnrate and their ROI from user acquisition.

editor-at-large

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at PG.biz which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.

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Christopher Kassulke
For the wider industry, I think developers of less than 10 people need to think very seriously about whether they have the scale or expertise to survive in 2013, while companies of more than 50 people need to think very seriously about their burnrate and their ROI from user acquisition <= so true! ;)
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