2015 in Review: Martine Spaans on narrowing focus and not chasing VR hype

Future trends from the remembrance of things past

2015 in Review: Martine Spaans on narrowing focus and not chasing VR hype

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.

  • Martine Spaans is the owner of Tamalaki, the main publishing label of FGL, which specializes in casual games. What was the most significant mobile games news of 2015?

Martine Spaans: Well, casual-focused King being bought for a gazillion dollars by a company that mainly focuses on hardcore/midcore was quite the news, I’d say!

How did the focus of your business change in 2015?

At the beginning of the year I tried to publish all sorts of casual games on Android. Later in the year, I started to narrow down the focus to puzzle/hidden object/match-3/etc.

I found it easier to acquire high-quality user and cross-promote my games with this highly targeted focus.

This made Tamalaki (FGL’s main publishing label) a stronger brand, and it also benefitted our presence on other platforms like PC.

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

I really don’t think the world is ready for VR puzzle games.
Martine Spaans

I see major changes within the main app stores (iOS, Google Play, Amazon) about their relationship and attitude towards developers, their ranking algorithm, and how they face consumers.

Not sure what kind of impact they will have on the industry, but I have a feeling that the stores will be more segmented and possibly discoverability will be easier in highly targeted segments, but more difficult to dominate overall.

Or maybe that’s just my wishful thinking!

What was your favourite mobile game of the year?

Puzzle Mayor - a game I discovered at Pocket Gamer Connects SF.

I’m happy to tell you that we launched the game last month on Android as Matchy City! Totally addicted to it…

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

Personally: Start getting more active in iOS publishing, finally.

The industry: Don’t run after the VR hype if it doesn’t make sense for your audience. I really don’t think the world is ready for VR puzzle games.

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


Ric is the Editor of, having started out as a Staff Writer on the site back in 2015. He received an honourable mention in both the MCV and Develop 30 Under 30 lists in 2016 and refuses to let anyone forget about it.