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2013 In Review: Gamevil's Kyu Lee

On the rise of games-as-a-service
2013 In Review: Gamevil's Kyu Lee

As we come to the end of 2013, it's time to look back at the events that dominated the last 12 months in mobile gaming.

We've asked the industry's great and good to give their take on the last year, as well as predicting the trends that will come to pass in 2014.

Kyu Lee is the president of Gamevil USA. Earlier in 2013, Gamevil readied a $130 million acquisitions warchest which saw it invest in several publishers before acquiring fellow Korean publisher Com2us.

Pocket Gamer: What do you think was the most significant event for the mobile games industry in 2013?

Kyu Lee: With games like Puzzle & Dragons, Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga, the mobile games industry showed that there is no upper ceiling to how much one game can generate in terms of revenue.

This significantly changed the minds of how each company invests into each product and changed the portfolio strategy for many companies as well.

What was the most significant event for your company?

2013 is the first year where we totally switched to games-as-a-service. We were doing free-to-play but not from the ground-up and we really didn't fully understand the importance of live operations until early this year.

We brought in a lot of experienced talent from the online PC gaming space and worked with many games-as-a-service thirdparty developers to make this our own.

2013 is also the first year where we made more revenue from thirdparty publishing than internal development, and also the first year where our revenues outside of Korea exceeded our domestic revenues.

What was your favourite mobile game of the year?

Of our own games, Spirit Stones was my favorite game of the year since it was the first project that our US office entirely produced from ground zero.

Otherwise, I enjoyed playing Candy Crush Saga for a while earlier this year.

What do you predict will be the most important trends in 2014?

Mid-hardcore online mobile gaming is going to be much bigger next year, and you'll see more MORPGs and MMORPGs hitting the market, especially providing great user experiences on tablet devices.

Companies will constantly try to combine monetisation with retention, which will lead into many hybrid categories in 2014.

What's your New Year's resolution and what resolution would you enforce on the industry?

"Focus" will be the main keyword I will have in my mind next year. The game is no longer quantity as the revenue ceiling is open for a single title by running it as a service.

We're planning to focus more on each title that we release in 2014.