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 back in June 2022.
The Netherlands puts the boot into loot
When is it gambling and when is it just ‘a harmless bit of fun’? If you think about it, games have been ‘gambling’ with players' wits and emotions from the very beginning. Would that Mystery Block yield Mario a life-saving mushroom or just another coin? But in more recent times with games offering untold riches in exchange for of the real stuff and some ‘free to play’s proving to be anything but when you drilled down into them it seems that the law – as slow to adapt as ever – finally caught up with the ‘humble’ in-game loot box.
Legislation in the Netherlands in July 2022 saw six countries political parties collude to ban them outright from games going forwards and pre-existing. No age limits, no prior circumstances, just Loot Boxes? No.
While the ruling is yet to run its course (and send its repercussions through the rest of Europe and the world) the legal threat was sufficient to prevent Activision-Blizzard from releasing its smash hit Diablo Immortal in the region or Belgium. Speaking of which.
Diablo Immortal earned $49 million in first month
This is how to run a successful franchise. Despite being as old as the hills the Diablo series is currently enjoying its most successful episode ever. And not on PC or console, but on mobile for the first time.
July 2022 saw Diablo Immortal – released just one month earlier – reach a total of $49 million in profits from its first month in service. There’s no maths required to realise that that’s earning Activision-Blizzard over $1 million per day.
The game earned 6.5 million downloads in the first seven days and the remaining 3.5 million spread out over the subsequent week. And such was its impact that, after having its release in China delayed indefinitely due to legal ramification, stock in Chinese release partner NetEase plummeted to $139.20 from a six-month peak of $172.50.
Niantic try to start a fire
It’s amazing how fast time flies in the world of tech and mobile tech in particular. Just when you’d got used to the phenomenon of ‘fail fast’ product development, comes the current vogue for pretending that an announcement back in July never really happened at all.
Blame Google+, Wave, Buzz, Tango, Glass, Inbox, Allo and more. These days doing PE in your pants isn’t a crippling life trauma but just part of the day to day of sticking your neck out then toughing it out afterwards.
So when big players Niantic mapped out the future we’d all dance to with their Campfire platform for social media, we all sat up and got ready to tether up and take part.
Whether Campfire will have its day in the sun, time will tell, but right now it’s not so much a bright spark as a damp squib.
EU approves Digital Market Act
In July 2022 the European Parliament passed the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, described as the "first comprehensive rulebook for the online platforms that we all depend on in our lives".
Both pieces of legislation will be applicable throughout the EU, including for companies based elsewhere. Apple and Google are expected to be among those most greatly affected by the new regulations.
While the full effects are still yet to be realised, current rumours suggest that Apple’s ‘workaround’ isn’t so much a cheeky fix as a complete capitulation to the ruling, ending their App Store monopoly for getting apps on board iOS devices.
Pocket Gamer Connects Hits Toronto
And of course, how could we forget another blockbusing Pocket Gamer Connects international event, this time bringing the gaming community of high-flying Toronto together with the international dev and publishing audience that we’re famous for.
Pocket Gamer Connects Toronto 2022 was our biggest event in the region yet with More than 800 delegates, 425 companies, 100 speakers and 50 countries represented. Find out what you missed here.
And be sure to get the full low-down on our upcoming London event – our first of 2023 – coming soon. You’ll find all the details here.
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? We'll be bringing you the rest of the year in highlights across the Christmas break. Or take a look back to January here.