Once again it's that time of year where we all start feeling reflective and look back on the year just gone.
So to that end, we thought we'd ask our Mobile Mavens - a collection of games industry experts - a few questions about the year gone by, and what lies ahead in 2024.
Here we ask:
What's your New Year's resolution and what resolution would you enforce on the industry?
You can read part one of this article here.
My personal New Year’s resolution is to get back to more creative business development type work that I find personally fulfilling.
We’re just coming out of a chaotic period launching two games in as many months, after not launching anything for years. That exposed a lot of gaps in the company that needed filling and that took up a lot of my time recently.
Now that we’re profitable, and have many of our key positions filled (like a CMO, GMs, fully staffed recruiting team etc) I’m looking forward to getting back closer to the creation and business development side of things which I enjoy more.
For the industry - I don’t know. I try to focus more on how we can have a bigger impact and less about thinking how others in the industry should act.
My aim is to find greater inner harmony and strengthen my bonds within the mobile gaming community.
While I wouldn't impose a resolution on others, I suggest embracing the industry's inherent unpredictability. Those who can adapt to and leverage this chaos are likely to witness significant successes.
Before sharing my New Year's resolution, I'd like to extend my deep respect and understanding to the skilled professionals in our industry who faced difficulties this year. Both in China and around the world, numerous talented individuals are encountering obstacles, not due to a lack of ability, but owing to wider economic circumstances and the prevailing issue of game oversupply.
Considering this situation, my goal for the next three years is to collaboratively identify opportunities with these talented professionals. I plan to accomplish this by participating in insightful conversations with Gen Z and industry veterans, drawing on our shared knowledge and perspectives to discover potential avenues and solutions for those affected by the job market's difficulties.
To this end, I am initiating conversations with various CEOs and gaming media outlets in China to explore how we can make a positive impact.
So professionally, it would be to be more vocal; as most people know, I recently joined Kwalee as their VP of mobile publishing, and I’m trying to do as much thought leadership with marketing as possible.
I think a lot of executives in big companies are not actually vocal about the market's current state, and things are far from okay. The games industry is a community and I strongly believe a rising tide lifts all ships, and what’s good for the ecosystem is good for me.
This is another reason why Kwalee is doing its first industry event in February. This will be us delivering on that belief and showcasing some of the things we’ve learned to help other studios do well. I implore everyone in our community to try and give back something to the wider community. We all got into gaming because of our passion for games, so helping each other out in times of need is paramount.
Mobivity’s New Year's resolution is to improve the player experience by replacing competitive in-game ads that interrupt play with in-game offers for high-value, real-world brand rewards that are additive to the player experience.
Instead of players having to watch ads to get to the next level, longer gameplay becomes the natural byproduct of players wanting to earn the next brand reward.
My New Year's resolution prioritises quality over quantity, a sentiment echoed in the games industry. Drawing inspiration from successful titles like Baldur's Gate 3, the emphasis is on creating exceptional games with a focus on company ethos rather than overwhelming monetisation.
The industry-wide resolution encourages game developers to learn from successful models like Larian and build compelling games without compromising the player experience.
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.
To quote The Big Lebowski: “The Dude Abides”. I think we are in for a rough ride this year and we need to just hang in there, stick to base principles and make games people want to fall in love with.
I don't really do resolutions - I'm kind of an always-on fitness guy. But I will be doing a cut diet/workout starting soon-ish after the new year, so maybe we could call that a resolution? But it's kind of a cyclical process to boost testosterone/growth hormone to help with lifting.
For the industry, I think I would push folks to think more outside the box, especially in terms of marketing. I just saw a brief clip with Deconstructor of Fun today talking about zero-cost marketing ideas, and I loved it.
I also think there are a lot of traditional marketing ideas and growth hacking tactics that game marketers have never used, just relying on performance marketing far too much in recent years.
Work hard! Deliver quality games and talk about it. Talk about the successes.
The bad news is everywhere, but maybe also show that there are good stories around as well. Assist those who are affected by the layoffs. Everyone has a story and family, so don’t be rude: support each other.
The market is huge, so try to give everyone a chance. We do not need more AI – we need more humanity!
My personal resolution is to complete a project I’ve been working on called “bit-tendo”. It’s essentially a way to let anyone incorporate bitcoin into oldschool consoles such as the NES and Sega Mega Drive.
For the wider game development industry, I hope that the crypto bull run, which seems to be underway, doesn’t cause people to lose their senses and make all the same mistakes as last time - launching tokens and building games on blockchains and platforms, which probably won’t be around in another few years.