2015 in Review: Glu Mobile CEO Niccolo de Masi on building his deck with Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj

Future trends from the remembrance of things past

2015 in Review: Glu Mobile CEO Niccolo de Masi on building his deck with Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj

As 2015 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 2016.

Niccolo de Masi is CEO of Glu Mobile, which during 2015 released games including Sniper X with Jason Statham (winner of best voice acting of the year) and James Bond: World of Espionage. What was the most significant mobile gaming news of 2015?

Nicollo de Masi: Activision’s acquisition of King Digital, while later in 2015, was certainly big news and in my opinion, an indicator of things to come.

The mobile gaming industry is in a state of dynamic maturation that will likely continue to see increased consolidation. It’s undoubtedly a crowded market that will prove more and more difficult to achieve success in.

It’s no longer enough to have a fun game: companies need advanced distribution, monetization, and marketing solutions to put out hits.

How did the focus of your business change in 2015?

We believe that Glu has become the industry leader in Hollywood IP.

In 2015, we identified that industry-wide film IP often does not reach the level of success as that of well-known celebrities. As such, we’ve re-focused on people. Meaning that we recognize that players identify with individuals on a deeper level and are more likely to engage in the universe we create for them.

Glu had a surprise hit in 2014 with Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and now it's all-in with celebrities

We look forward to the launch of our titles for Katy Perry, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj in 2016.

What do you predict will be the most important trends in 2016?

  • Multi-faceted gaming - Game companies will increasingly identify themselves as technology firms, platforms and social networks - because they are. As such, investors will begin to appreciate the sophistication of leading game companies along these dimensions as their biggest games generate annuity-like revenues.
  • Personalization of media - The industry will continue to favor living and breathing individuals over impersonal static brands. Game companies in all genres will hire more actors, actresses, musicians, YouTube influencers, and social media mavens to support marketing and distribution.
  • Asia will lead in profit generation - The majority of mobile gaming profits will be derived in Asia and from Asian gaming companies. This means Asian firms will continue to be the investors and acquirers of Western gaming players, not the other way around.
  • Console is not going away - It will continue to evolve and dominate the most hardcore and high fidelity end of the ecosystem. The scale, limited competition, and profitability of Electronic Arts, Activision, and Take-Two will enable them to continue acting as acquirers of mobile game companies.

What was your favourite mobile game of the year?

Katy Perry Pop

Katy Perry Pop - gonna roar in 2016?

What's your New Year's resolution and what resolution would you enforce on the industry?

Forcing private companies to value themselves in line with public companies.

You can check out all of our 2015 in Review interviews here.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.