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.
- Neil Young was CEO of F2P pioneer ngmoco (bought by DeNA), and now is CEO of US startup N3TWORK, which launched its first game Mafia Watch for Apple Watch in December.
PocketGamer.biz: What was the most significant mobile gaming news of 2015?
Neil Young: You mean other than N3TWORK coming back to games ;)
I think probably Activision's acquisition of King - personally I was really surprised at the price that Activision paid for King.
The fact that the Board accepted such a small premium over price that the shares traded at and a number that was lower than the IPO told you a story in an of itself.
How did the focus of your business change in 2015?
Pretty radically as we shifted our attention back to games and started trying to reimagine what a new type of mobile game creator, publisher and operator would look like.
The market is obviously very different than when we started ngmoco:) although for the most part app developers are still thinking of hits just from the perspective of scale of audience.
I think that the focus of our business towards higher engagement and, hopefully, higher monetization games is something that we'll see many more adopt in 2016 and beyond.
User acquisition costs are not sustainable given average LTVs.
What do you predict will be the most important trends in 2016?
User acquisition costs are not sustainable given the average LTV of most of the games that are buying ads right now - so I think that we're going to see the beginning of a shake out, where the companies that have either the resources or the LTV to justify user acquisition running the tables.
I think we'll end up seeing fewer and fewer hit titles driven by IP, although there will be some exceptions - especially those that can combine IP with high engagement - there is a real opportunity there as I think Kabam is showing.
What was your favorite mobile game of the year?
It single handily dispelled the myth that mobile games are for non-gamers. Gamers are gamers and they love games for what they are, not where they play them.
What's your New Year's resolution and what resolution would you enforce on the industry?
- My New Year's resolution: Make great games that are great businesses.
- For the industry: ROI-positive User Acquisition or die trying.
You can check out all of our 2015 in Review interviews here.