As 2014 begins to fade into memory, we're taking a look back at the events that have dominated the last 12 months in mobile gaming.
As such, we've asked the industry's great and good to give us their take on the year, as well as predicting the trends that will dominate in 2015.
Jesse Divnich, is VP of Product Strategy and Insights at US new generation games partner Tilting Point.
Pocket Gamer: What was the most significant mobile games news in 2014?
Jesse Divnich: Definitely the success of Flappy Bird and the aftermath it left on the industry. Prior to the Flappy Bird sensation in late 2013 and into 2014, we thought we had the industry figured out.
We thought we understood the mobile consumer in its near entirety. We thought we understood virality. We thought success meant bigger development budgets, high production values, and high user acquisition spends. Flappy Bird flipped a lot of what we thought on its head.
- Flappy Bird taught us that the mobile consumer is not as predictable as we thought.
- Flappy Bird really reinforced the importance of the 1 minute mobile experience at a time where developers were trying to develop titles around a 5 to 15 minute experience.
- Flappy Bird showed us that despite the growing demand for more emerging gaming experiences, there will always exist demand for that quick 1 minute pick-up/put-down experience.
How did your business focus change in 2014?
It was an honor for one of our titles, Leo’s Fortune, to receive an Apple Design Award, runner-up for Game of the Year by Apple, and multiple other recognitions and awards for the game and our marketing campaign.
While we only released three games in 2014, all of them received top banner placements in the app store and it helped reinforce our core strategy to always partner with talent.
One of our changes in 2014 was an addition to our portfolio strategy. Instead of just focusing on proven talent, a strategy that will always be one of our core philosophies, we have actively sought out to discover talented developers before they’ve achieved critical acclaim.
It’s been a beautiful journey this past year, talking to hundreds of developers to discover those very few that are highly likely to be the next breakout success stories.
What was your favourite mobile game of the year? Why?
Hearthstone. I never had a taste for CCGs and this was the first to get me hooked. It was also one of the very few games I’ve sunk hundreds of dollars into with no regret.
What do you predict will be the most important markets for your games in 2015?
China is a big key focus for us in 2015. Not just in bringing our games over there, but their games over here.
What do you predict will be the most important trends in 2015?
Independent developers will continue to struggle without proper support in 2015, whether that be from a publisher or a partner.Jesse Divnich
We’ll likely see an increase in consolidation among publishers and developers. More publishers acquiring studios, more developers turning into publishers, etc. I’ve been through it all and one thing I’ve seen as a constant is that as a market matures, consolidation begins.
Additionally, independent developers will continue to struggle without proper support in 2015, whether that be from a publisher or a partner.
Sure there will always be those few breakout independent developers that make us rethink the way we design and launch our games (e.g. ustwo [Monument Valley]), but for the majority of independent developers the capital required to go to market and be successful will continue to rise.
What's your New Year's resolution and what resolution would you enforce on the industry?
Personally: It is to continue to play games outside of my preference and comfort zone.
For the industry: To build more brands. We are a part of the entertainment industry and aside from a few of us, we have forgotten what succeeding in entertainment is all about - outside of making money - it’s about building brands and allowing consumers to interact and consume your brand outside of the game itself.
Thanks to Jesse for his time
You can check out all of our 2014 in Review interviews here.