Interview

2015 in Review: Flaregames CEO Klaas Kersting on the transition from developer to publisher

2015 in Review: Flaregames CEO Klaas Kersting on the transition from developer to publisher

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.

PocketGamer.biz: What was the most significant mobile games news of 2015?

Klaas Kersting: In terms of significance, it would have to be the King acquisition by Activision Blizzard, making them the biggest global gaming powerhouse.

It will bring interesting times to see how they leverage their brands through King’s knowhow, and how King’s pure play mobile brands impact Activision’s retail business.

How did the focus of your business change in 2015?

We moved full gear from development into publishing - most of our upcoming products now are in development at external partners such as Subatomic, Limbic, Brainz and Emerald City Games.

That required a small pivot of the organisation. And with it came a need for bigger budgets, harder gate and production processes, new skills and expertise - it surely was an interesting year.

We moved full gear from development into publishing in 2015.
Klaas Kersting

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

For one, we’ll see a market that becomes less user acquisition focused.

We are already entering a stage where user acquisition is profitable only on a bigger scale, so we’ll likely see yet more movie IP tie-ins, celebrity partnerships, and established brands making their way to mobile for the first time.

But something to watch out for will be the few breakout hits that displace the mainstays from the top 10 grossing charts.

It’ll be interesting to see what type of games make this level of impact and really shake things up!

What was your favourite mobile game of the year?

I’d have to name three here.

Lifeline from 3 Minute Games had awesome storytelling, I was hooked. The game is very minimalistic in terms of assets as it’s just text, but instils in the player a unique emotional attachment to this lost astronaut.

Secondly, I really loved how Hitman: Sniper translated the Hitman feeling into a mobile gaming experience.

Hitman Sniper's faithfulness to the franchise was pleasantly surprising for Kersting

It was impressive that although they removed any ability to move the main character, the tense feelings remained intact.

And lastly, the Game of Thrones series from Telltale was a perfect match for me. I’ve been a fanboy of both the Game of Thrones series and Telltale’s games in general for more than a decade, so it cannot get any better!

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

Let us all invest in quality.
Klaas Kersting

For flaregames, it’s to carry through what we started and stay disciplined - we have a whole bunch of upcoming games in our portfolio, and are delighted to be working with truly world-class developers.

For the industry, let us all invest in quality.

Mobile gaming has matured greatly since its humble beginnings, but to come into our own our games need to blow gamer's minds with gameplay innovation, with production values, and with truly great games.

We're getting there, the quality uptrend is unmissable, but there's still much to be done!

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

Features Editor

Matt is really bad at playing games, but hopefully a little better at writing about them. He's Features Editor for PocketGamer.biz, and has also written for lesser publications such as IGN, VICE, and Paste Magazine.

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