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2013 In Review: SponsorPay's Janis Zech

Supercell deal was a vote of confidence in mobile games
2013 In Review: SponsorPay's Janis Zech
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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.

Janis Zech is the co-founder of SponsorPay, which fuels the app economy by creating solutions for smarter ad monetization.

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

Janis Zech: SoftBank and GungHo's $1.5 billion strategic investment in Supercell was a resounding vote of confidence for the mobile gaming market, as well as confirmation that iOS and Android are becoming the biggest gaming platforms.

The launch of iOS 7 also had huge impact.

The upgrade was the fastest and largest software upgrade in history, and with it came the deprecation of UDID and the push to use IDFA. This change, of course, had far-reaching consequences within the advertising industry.

What was the most significant event for your company?

We've had a great year with many milestones for the company.

Besides growing our wonderful team and working with many great partners both new and existing, our most significant achievement in 2013 has been expanding our platform to become a supply-side platform that empowers developers to integrate, manage and optimize all their ad revenue sources.

We're excited to continue fueling the app economy in 2014 by creating solutions for smarter ad monetization.

What was your favourite mobile game of the year?

Choosing just one is impossible - there have been so many awesome game releases this year! I'm a sucker for tower defence games, so Bloons TD Battles by Ninja Kiwi comes to mind. The multiplayer functionality is a highlight.

Angry Birds Go! by Rovio is another current favorite. Beyond resurrecting the joys of the Angry Bird cast, it's reminiscent of Mario Kart, which always brings back happy memories.

I'm also completely addicted to QuizUp. It's a great reminder that it's still possible to define a new game genre and create viral growth.

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

The most significant, industry-changing trend is that mobile games are becoming a hit-driven business, dominated by fewer but bigger companies.

Within this movement I see several smaller sub-trends:

  • Game production costs will continue to skyrocket. Will we see the first $50 million game in 2014?
  • We'll see less fluctuation in top grossing games - it will become much harder for indie game developers to win spots on the top grossing charts, so the publisher model might have a renaissance.
  • Fewer but much larger game companies will spend higher budgets on user acquisition in 2014, with a stronger focus on profitability.
  • Communication apps in the U.S. will double-down on game promotions, adapting the "Kakao, LINE & WeChat" model.
  • There will be consolidation and unification on the game service provider side.

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

Tech companies are about product, people and partners. Choose these three things wisely and you’ll win.