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Hot Five: Supercell revenues decline, Ubisoft’s mobile games plummet, but MTG signs a Monumental acquisition

Our quick-fix roundup of the hottest stories on PocketGamer.biz
Hot Five: Supercell revenues decline, Ubisoft’s mobile games plummet, but MTG signs a Monumental acquisition

Start your week right with our quick take on the stories that are impacting the mobile industry right now.

To help get you primed and ready for another week in mobile gaming, we’ve curated the biggest stories you need to know from the last seven days.

1) MTG pulls the trigger on a Monumental Kongregate acquisition

Modern Times Group has given Monumental the go-ahead to acquire its subsidiary Kongregate, having signed an agreement permitting the deal. Monumental and Kongregate combined will operate a portfolio of more than 40 titles including Mythgard, Crowfall, Storm Wars, Toss the Turtle and Dino Storm.

Monumental CEO Monty Kerr will run operations of both studios, while Modern Times Group will continue to benefit from its ex-subsidiary via fully diluted 30% shareholding in the joint entity.

2) Only 7% of Ubisoft’s net bookings are from mobile, down 28% YoY

In the first three quarters of its fiscal year, Ubisoft’s mobile earnings have dropped to a mere 7% of total bookings, compared to 35% in the same time last year. That equates to approximately $101 million so far this year. And comparing Q3s alone, that decrease is even more extreme: down from 45% to only 5%.

Overall, Ubisoft’s third quarter brought in €626.2 million in net bookings, proving marginally more successful than the €610 million forecast, but any plans for a mobile resurgence look minimal, with an increasingly PC and console-focused portfolio on the horizon.

3) Niantic moves Pokémon Go redeem codes exclusively to web store

The in-app purchases landscape has been changing rapidly thanks in no small part to the raucous rise in developer discontentment around the Apple and Google 30% 'app tax'. Niantic is among the mobile developers taking the web store route away from this tax, encouraging its players to spend off-app, and has made a noteworthy manoeuvre to familiarise Android users with its store.

Namely, Niantic has removed the redeem code section from Pokémon Go on Android entirely, previously positioned at the bottom of the in-app store page. Now, to redeem free rewards from codes, players will have to go onto the dev’s web store and enter codes there instead, just as Apple users have been for some time. The result means one fewer reason to look at the in-app store page - decreasing the chance of player spending - but extra eyes on the web store where Niantic will earn more per purchase, should a purchase take place.

4) Supercell reveals year-on-year declines in revenue and EBITDA but promises "big and bold changes"

Supercell’s latest financials have been revealed by CEO Ilkka Paananen with an outline of plans for the future, aimed at fixing the revenue and profit declines observed in the latest report. Revenue of €1.698 billion is a 4.2% decrease from 2022, after all, while EBITDA is down 8.2% to €580 million. 175 people have been hired in the financial year bringing the total number of employees at the end of 2023 to 525.

Supercell described its numbers as "a steady performance" and mentioned "very open dialogue with Apple" but gave no big reveals as to what this may mean.

5) Scopely's Kingdom Maker team sees lay-offs

Savvy Games Group-owned publisher Scopely has laid off a number of staff across its games library, predominantly impacting the team on fantasy combat game Kingdom Maker. The 2022 title was developed by Global Worldwide in partnership with Scopely and served as a key component of the latter’s catalogue when Savvy Games Group was considering the acquisition.

The deal went ahead, but since then Scopely has found major success with the 2023 breakout Monopoly Go. Alongside Stumble Guys, Scopely simply has bigger priorities now, and Kingdom Maker’s updates have become less and less frequent as a result - a fate shared by many older Scopely titles. Hence, even more layoffs have hit the industry, this time impacting Scopely staff.