As 2019 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 2020.
- Henry Lowenfels is SVP of Business Development at Scopely
PocketGamer.biz: What do you think was the biggest news in 2019?
Henry Lowenfels: I have to mention Scopely's momentum this year, which has been hugely exciting for me personally as someone who has seen this company grow from its infancy -- and, I can't wait to see what else we can accomplish and bring to players in 2020.
But overall, I would say consolidation was one of the huge events that touched the industry this year. We saw this escalate at a global level consistently throughout 2019, signaling that the market continues to become more and more competitive.
I'm also excited by this trend as its bringing together some of the best teams in the world -- just imagine what they can all accomplish together.
What's the thing you're most proud of during 2019?
Growing our live titles to the biggest they’ve ever been.
We love bringing new experiences to players such as Star Trek Fleet Command (launched at the end of 2018), but we are very focused on investing in our player base across all of our games and many genres -- continuing to evolve our long term franchises. We want to ensure players can consistently enjoy new immersive experiences in their favorite products.
Our Yahtzee With Buddies game is a great example, 5-years into the product's lifecycle it saw its best year yet in 2019 with players taking an average of 110 rolls everyday and many new features joining the product such as "Survivor," which allows hundreds of players to experience the game together at one time.
Which mobile games have you most played/enjoyed during 2019?
The two games I've played most this year are Tennis Clash and Rumble Stars. As a lifelong, hardcore sports gamer, I love that these games offer bite-sized competition with long-term progression.
The synchronous 1v1 gameplay means that every match is different. It feels like a chess match each time, because you never know what your opponent's strategy might be.
I also have to add Scopely's Star Trek Fleet Command - the way we’ve combined RPG elements to a mobile 4x genre has created a new type of MMO for mobile with real-time multiplayer elements. This is a game that is truly about community.
Call of Duty Mobile is another game I've enjoyed a lot since it launched. It's been exciting to see a huge console brand come to mobile, and the game is a great experience overall.
What do you think will be the biggest trends in 2020?
At the industry level, global consolidation will continue and there will be even fiercer competition for talent on a global scale.
We're championing the shift toward directed-by-consumer.
At the product level, we think personal experiences are key to creating games players love — and we're championing the shift toward directed-by-consumer. Games need to evolve with players for them to want to keep playing and enjoying the experience.
Also, I think retention-driven LTV is a trend that will continue to be more of a focus across the industry and we should also expect to continue to see the rise of ad-driven models as a supplement and alternative to IAP-heavy games.
If you had one New Year's Resolution for the mobile game industry, what would it be?
A serious commitment to greater diversity and inclusion overall - both in the workplace and from an audience perspective.
Publishers and developers should recognize and execute on the massive opportunity to create more experiences with all audiences in mind.
You can check out all our 2019 in Review articles here.