Patrik Wilkens from Azerion on the rising cost of UA and the emergence of hypercasual

"There is room and demand for innovation"

Patrik Wilkens from Azerion on the rising cost of UA and the emergence of hypercasual

Patrik Wilkens and his teams have released and managed over 20 successful products so far, of which several have generated six figure daily revenue and entertained millions of monthly active users.

He hired, developed and managed cross cultural and cross disciplinary teams in Europe and Asia and has an in-depth understanding of the mobile value chain & business models.

Patrik is Vice President Mobile for Azerion, accountable for managing 2 game studios and the company's Business Intelligence, Marketing and core tech departments.

Patrik is also the founder of Game Industry Networking - enabling people to develop better products and grow their network.

We caught up with Wilkens to talk about the changing industry and how there's never a dull moment. Can you tell us a bit about Azerion?

Patrik Wilkens: Azerion is a media and technology company that provides safe, reliable and valuable content on a European scale with local presence.

We touch real people when they’re actively engaging with their friends and their favorite content while we help advertisers and publishers connect with these people at the right time and in a meaningful and valuable way.

We own the content and the technology to guarantee the safety and reliability and we have offices in 14 markets to make sure we can support our users and clients in a local, specific and personal way.

What does your role entail?

As Vice President Mobile I am accountable for the happiness and development of 50 interdisciplinary & intercultural colleagues. I am coaching the leadership teams for 2 game development studios and being hands-on defining the partner and content strategy.

I also deal with the leadership of our group's horizontal Business Intelligence, Marketing and Core Technologies teams and work together on defining, building and evangelizing the strategy across the company.

Why did you want to work in the games industry?

To be frank, I was 22 and who wouldn't want to get paid to do their hobby? What made me stay in gaming for the last 13 years is the awesome peer group and the opportunity to learn something new every day.

Gaming is an incredibly fast moving and changing industry. You also get immediate feedback from colleagues or players - there is never a dull moment. The push for more diversity in all areas made it even better and more colorful.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into it?

Reach out to people in the industry and have meaningful questions prepared. You'll be surprised how many senior and smart people are more than willing to share their 2 cents with you.

What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?

The stakes are higher each year and 2019 was no exception. Rising costs of user acquisition brought player retention more into focus and entertaining them within your ecosystem has become key. It's also pushing us to find new ways to raise ARPU.

In-app advertising gained relevance - especially for hypercasual games. The emergence of this new genre also showed us all that there is room and demand for innovation and should motivate us for new ideas and projects in 2020

What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?

It'll be interesting to see which OS becomes the major player in India. Granted, it is not a top 10 country yet but with 40% YoY growth we can expect this to change in the next few years. There is room for a 3rd OS and the growing Indian market is going to be very important for its success.

We can expect a Chinese phone alliance to make a major push for it. The accessibility of the Indian (and SEA) market is going to be a major factor for growth in the future.

Cloud gaming is also going to be a major trend in 2020. In 2018 and 2019 many companies brought themselves in position and I expect 2020 to see some major investments into content and marketing of the new platforms, all of it supported by 5G adoption.

Consumer data and how to responsibly deal with it is another hot topic for years and will continue to be very relevant for all of us. To be compliant with the various laws and regulations everyone has to up their game

How has the games industry changed since you first started?

It's matured a lot from a technological, market and professional point of view. I started in gaming when mobile phone batteries lasted weeks and 64 MB RAM was top notch.

Phone hard/software nowadays enable us to deliver a much richer experience to our users - and they rightfully demand it. Multi million budgets for mobile games are standard when aiming for the top 10 slots. Demand pushed the industry to get more and more professional.

It is amazing to see how many smart people joined, and are still joining. The bar is definitely higher to join and stay in gaming. It's a serious business.

Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?

The face to face meetings with colleagues from different companies. It is a great opportunity to discuss the latest trends and plans for 2020 and beyond.

At Pocket Gamer Connects London 2020, Patrik Wilkens will be part of a discussion panel entitled "What are the things you wish you knew when you started developing your games?" For more information, and to book your tickets for the event, click here.