2022 was a year of big news and even bigger industry movements. Mobile gaming was no different. Here’s the stories that set the scene in December 2022.
As we've pointed out in our January month in review, the Activision-Blizzard saga has been rumbling on right the way through the year. Regulators have been scrutinising the deal closely, especially allegations it could lead to Microsoft having a monopoly or an undue advantage in the gaming industry.
However, if not materially then at least in terms of perception the acquisition saw its biggest blow when the FTC sued to block the acquisition due to concerns its previous statements regarding exclusivity would not be adhered to. Although there’s still an ongoing debate about the legitimacy of these claims it’s fair to say that this is the exact thing many on the side of the deal were hoping wouldn’t happen.
Riot Games, for better or for worse, is one of the largest game studios in the world. Whatever the issues that one may have with League of Legend’s toxic player community and Riot’s own internal misdeeds in the past, there’s no denying it’s also built up a loyal and dedicated fanbase, as well as producing amazing spin-offs in the form of TV shows such as Arcane.
Riot Games took another major step to making themselves an even more formidable global presence by bringing their games to Game Pass. Although many of their games are free-to-play already, there’s still an audience that wants to play on platforms unsupported by them, but present on Game Pass.
Nintendo are, perhaps by contrast to Riot, an absolute pillar of squeaky clean gaming as artform, history and industry. Rising out of the ashes left by forerunners such as Atari, Sega and Nintendo are widely credited with boosting the game industry to global prominence. However, their performance in recent years has been somewhat shaky, especially in terms of pursuing new platforms.
Despite Pokemon, a series inextricably linked to Nintendo, seeing huge success with Pokémon Go, surprisingly Nintendo said in December 2022 that they see mobile only as a promotional tool. It’s a shame, really, because what Nintendo can bring to the mobile table is a family-friendly approach as they have with their own handheld platforms such as the Switch.
However, for now they only seem to want to see mobile as ancillary, not a priority.
The tech industry, including gaming, has often seen a philosophy that one should be glad to work there. Changing the world and innovating is seen as its own reward, and too often people forget that these are jobs, earning them money with which to live. Businesses have historically been cagey about revealing their salaries to weed out people ‘just there for the money’ among other justifications.
Which is why it’s impressive and heartening to see InnoGames taking the lead by offering salary transparency as standard for their roles. They announced the move earlier this year, but this month we got the first indication of how it had paid off. Allowing them to fill roles in only a couple of months rather than the more usual 15. It shows that good treatment leads to better business, a practice that will hopefully become standard.
Epic Games earlier this month debuted their cabined accounts, which sought to correct many of the privacy issues faced by younger players. Whatever your opinion on Fortnite it’s undeniable that the game is extremely popular amongst a younger audience. The move would appear to have been a shrewd decision given the consequences they now face.
A lawsuit from the FTC has resulted in Epic Games facing a fine of $520m “For violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by failing to obtain consent or notify parents about information being collected, making it difficult for parents to delete collected data.” The fine being given is in the form of half that amount being the fine itself and the other half been allocated as refunds to misled customers.
For Epic, it’s another blow in a number of legal battles they’re conducting across the media space that has seen them come to blows with the likes of Apple and Google.
Do you have a favourite mobile story from 2022? Take to Twitter with the hashtag #PocketGamerYearInReview to tell us your highs and lows of the year.
Want more? Whisk yourself back to the start of the year with our January 2022 highlights here.