Comment & Opinion

Mobile games industry experts tell us their New Year's resolutions for 2017

Ambitious plans for the year

Mobile games industry experts tell us their New Year's resolutions for 2017

We've recently asked mobile games industry experts to tell us what the biggest mobile trends of 2016 were, and what they think will happen in 2017.

But with the new year now underway, and beckoning a new start for many, we asked:

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


Alexander Ekvall CEO Snowprint Studios AB

In a maturing mobile market with tougher and tougher competition, don't try to compete by squeezing out games faster and more hours from the people in game teams. Crunch hurts the team, hurts creativity, hurts the players and ultimately hurts the industry.

New Year's resolution for me: Build a Black Coin Pipe in Super Mario Run!

Saara Bergstrom Chief Marketing Officer Next Games

Next Games is determined to work on new delightful experiences based on big IP. Even though mobile games is big business, we will keep our eyes fixed on delivering a fans first experience and work relentlessly on fresh takes to keep things interesting for our players.

Games are great vehicles for storytelling and the service-based model is a great opportunity to bring the player into the game’s universe to create those stories with us.

Andrew Stalbow CEO Seriously

For Seriously - I want us to focus on moving up the value chain as we create more video content for our YouTube channel.

Personal - probably go to the gym more! For the industry - I always enjoy great creativity and artistic flair, so hopefully we’ll see a lot of that!

Gabi Shalel Chief Marketing Officer Plarium

My New Year’s resolution is to continue reaching new players with the highest quality games in our field, whilst doubling down on supporting the fans who’ve stayed with us from game to game over the past seven years.

For the rest of the industry, I’d say commit to at least one innovative product a year along with your safe bets. Someone’s got to move first so we can move together.

Matthew Wiggins CEO MojiWorks Limited

To strive to keep an open mind and embrace new things. For the industry, I’d encourage diversity of thought by enforcing diversity of age, background and gender.

Klaas Kersting CEO Flaregames

Nerd, Gaming Enthusiast, Game Entrepreneur, Angel Investor

The resolution for the industry is to carry on innovating and take risks when breaking genre conventions.

We’ve seen on a big scale how that’s paid off with the likes of Clash Royale and it’s something we as a company can claim to have achieved with Nonstop Knight.

Taking measured risks and not being afraid of failure is what continues to drive us at Flaregames.

Matt Roberts Head of Studio Wooga GmbH

My personal New Year’s resolution is to dig deep again into PC gaming, especially indie games. There is so much to learn from PC. A lot of us at Wooga were really inspired by the craft and charm of Stardew Valley this year, for example.

And for the industry I would enforce to stop using the term “whale”. We think a more appropriate term is “best customers” or “VIPs”.

Oscar Clark Chief Strategy Officer Fundamentally Games

Oscar Clark has been a pioneer in online, mobile, and console social games services since 1998. He is also author of the book, Games As A Service – How Free To Play Design Can Make Better Games.

My New Year's resolution is to actually get my own games out... We are working hard to get The Rocky Horror Show: Touch Me to our Kickstarter community for Beta testing in the New Year and have even started recruiting for Open Beta as well.

That's the key habit that it always come to. Don't assume your game is special or that you know how it will work. Think of your game as a hypothesis... Ship it. Test it. Fix it. But start small so you don't burn people out before its right!

Debora Alejandra Nara Public Relations and Communications Manager Etermax

We need to solve the issue of the lack of computer engineers and developers.
Debora Alejandra Nara

We need to solve the issue of the lack of computer engineers and developers. It is a failure that we see not only in Argentina, but worldwide.

In 2017, we will continue creating games to help improve education around the world, foster links between parents and children and teachers and students. We will continue to be aligned to the development of family games and will try reach kids audiences.

While we are preparing to reach new strategic audiences, we will launch languages for our games, such as: Romanian, Polish, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Malay, Thai and Tagalog, in order to reach Asia and new countries.

Mehmet Ecevit CEO Gram Games

I would say that my two main resolutions are to ensure the success of our new London office, and to foster the rise of midcore titles.

When you look at it, the top ten for the last three or four years has been the same - it’s up to us risk-aware, innovative gaming companies, to change the game. So that’s what we’ll be doing.

I’m also really excited to integrate new talent and perspectives into our team with the opening of the new London office. As we source new people, and new games, to bring into Gram Games, our creativity and innovation will be pushed to their limits, and I can’t wait to see the results of that.

Simon Hade Co-founder Space Ape Games

I don’t have a New Year resolution as such, but we have a couple of games going into Beta, and several more in development that I’m excited about. These will change people’s perception of Space Ape from a creative and risk-taking perspective.

The plan is to come back fresh in January to chase those games aggressively and be one of those companies that defines a new genre or two in 2017.

Gavin Moffat Digital Marketing Executive Tag Games

At Tag we're currently working on a few original IP projects which i've found quite inspiring, so I guess "get creative" could be my own personal resolution. Aside from that I'm determined to finally finish Skyrim after dipping in and out for the past five years.

Industry wide I'd re-iterate my plan to get creative. There's some great mobile games appearing every year but the upper reaches of the charts still look a little too much like they did in 2014. It's time things were shaken up a little.

Seth Coster Programmer/Designer Butterscotch Shenanigans

We're excited, as always, with the ever-improving hardware available on mobile. Having faster GPUs, more RAM and faster processors means every year we get to try to push things just a little bit further in terms of how many particles we can have on screen, or how many enemies we can throw at the player, or take advantage of cool shader effects.

If I had to enforce anything, it would be to have hardware developers cram more RAM into their devices.
Seth Coster

Even as a 2D game developer, we have to be very cognizant of these limitations, and it's always great to see things on the rise. So this year we want to push the envelope with our special effects and overall game design ideas to make things bigger, crazier, and cooler-looking than before.

If I had to enforce anything on others in the industry, it would be to have hardware developers cram more RAM into their devices. RAM availability is a pretty big deal for games and it has been one of the biggest limiting factors for our own game development.

Fortunately we are seeing a new wave of 4GB devices hit the market, which is definitely workable, but lots of mobile gamers are still running around with 1GB or less.

It will be another couple years until the average mobile gamer has even more than 2GB of RAM for us to work with, but we have to start somewhere!

Veli-Pekka Piirainen Founder / Chairman of the board Critical Force Entertainment

Veli-Pekka is CEO and founder of Critical Force Entertainment Ltd, a Finnish startup game studio established in 2012. He is a former studio manager of Supercell North, as well as a lecturer and head of Kajak Game Development Lab.

Veli-Pekka is also co-founder of NMP Games Ltd.

Personally I never make any New Year’s resolution, I’ll just do my best and work as hard as possible.

Anyhow I can promise, that Critical Force’s competitive mobile FPS game Critical OPS is worth keeping an eye on, because it is on the path to become the first mobile eSports success story.

Ben Murch Co-Founder Perchang

I don't really do New Year's resolutions. However, let's set one for the games industry....

I love mobile games dev. It's a space where you can literally do anything.
Ben Murch

"I promise to put gameplay first".

I love mobile games dev. It's a space where you can literally do anything. Let's get a mobile eSport. Let's get serious titles that challenge viewpoints. Let's expand minds and boundaries. Let's blow people away with graphical style. Let's get more than one category in the Game Awards.

Hell, let's get a sequel to Pokemon! Let's be about more than squeezing money out of players.

Let's be better.

Let's do more.

See you all in 2017!

Sebastian Lindén CEO & Creative Director Qaos Games

I should play more games. I often end up playing games I like for 30 minutes or less (because there are so many).

For the industry, I’d love to see how the big guys can help and learn from smaller studios.

Antti Kananen CEO Koukoi Games

In 2017 our goal at Koukoi Games will be getting more and more business in, which will lead our business growing more.

We’ll also focus towards developing enjoyable gaming experiences for the players. You’ll also see us challenging ourselves through several interesting design decisions for our games.

We would encourage other developers and publishers challenging themselves in 2017 and making games that brings mobile gaming more towards gamers and wider audience.

We all want the industry to grow. While this might mean higher level of competition, we would encourage others to form partnerships, which can achieve the set goals on a much better level.

Gabriel Stürmer CMO Cupcake Entertainment

For Cupcake Entertainment, 2017 is about getting us closer to our goal of being the best casual brain puzzle games company in the world.

We are working hard to maintain our aggressive monthly growth rate of 45% in the past 18 months as well as bringing more of our successful Facebook games into mobile.

For the industry, I would love to see Nintendo embracing free-to-play. Can you imagine how a well done F2P Super Mario Run would do?

Taija Kanerva Chief Game Analyst, Japan GameRefinery, a Liftoff company

As the Chief Game Analyst - Japan at GameRefinery Taija Kanerva is living her dream. Her interest and enthusiasm for digital games and Japanese culture started early in her childhood and later became the focus of her formal education.

Her Master’s thesis (2015) for University of Helsinki compares Japanese and Western games and gaming cultures. She has held positions at Rovio and Ubisoft before joining GameRefinery in 2016.

It’s increasingly important for game developers to refer to data and analytics when making decisions.
Taija Kanerva

Personally, I will keep researching and dissecting various games from different cultural backgrounds to learn everything I can about them. Sometimes I might even share my findings. ;)

As for the game industry as a whole, I’d like to point out the obvious, but unpleasant facts: competition in the mobile game industry is getting tougher every day and development budgets are growing.

Therefore, it’s increasingly important for game developers to refer to data and analytics when making decisions and improvements instead of relying on a hunch or gut feeling – whether it’s before or after global launch.

W. Edwards Deming is often quoted for saying that “without data you’re just another person with an opinion”. I hope that game developers take heed and use data and analytics to help them conquer the top spots of the heap in 2017.

Torulf Jernström CEO Tribeflame

Don't do straight rip-offs of other games. Bring something new to the table. We'll do that, and it would be awesome if the industry as a whole stopped cloning stuff.

80% same, 20% new is fine. 98% same, 2% new is not.

Johan Persson VP of Product MAG Interactive

As a New Year's resolution, our goal for the next year will be forcing the industry to shift towards a "player-first" mentality.

Sadly, many developers forget why people play games and what it is the players really want. With such a saturated market, the only way to break through the noise is to create something that people actually want.

If you constantly deliver this, people will be coming back for more.

Wilhelm Taht Executive Vice President, Games Rovio

That we will all march into the new year with a blast, yet keeping a humble approach both in the face of failure and in the face of success.