2020 will be a year that lives long in many people's memories, for better and for worse. Thankfully, there have been some fantastic experiences on mobile to help us all through these particularly trying times.
The games industry is thriving despite the devastating effects of COVID, and the mobile sector has also seen extraordinary growth this year. Games have undeniably been a force for good under unprecedented circumstances.
With that, we've reached out to several members of the industry for their insight, thoughts and personal experiences throughout 2020. We're on a mission to discover favourite mobile games, how has the industry coped under the pandemic, and what we could see in 2021 and beyond.
PocketGamer.biz What do you think was the biggest news or event for the mobile games industry in 2020?
Valentine Dessertenne: Definitely people staying home because of the pandemic. I think there’s a big angle on mobile games being something to do while you’re on the go that gets rocked quite a bit when people need to stay home for months at a time.
It presented both a challenge and an opportunity. Mobile is no longer the only option for people doing commutes or travelling, we have to compete with the home PC and consoles at home while people are there. I think that made for a wider diversity of more engaging games that have a "core" experience.
I think we’re really going to start seeing the impacts of the pandemic on the creation and approach to games.Valentine Dessertenne
Which mobile game do you think had the biggest impact on the industry this year?
Fortnite made a big splash with the platform litigation (for better or worse). It led to a lot of discussion on the topic, that is still ongoing and probably won’t be resolved for months or years.
What is your top mobile game of 2020?
Dead by Daylight: Mobile of course. I’m quite biased since it’s the game I’ve played the most and also (metaphorically) my baby. Call of Duty: Mobile was also excellent. We’re seeing a lot of action games make their way to mobile and the execution on COD is particularly good. It’s well tailored to be played on mobile and an all-around solid experience.
Do you think the mobile games industry has reacted well to the many challenges that presented itself this year?
On the production side, I think the industry mostly reacted quickly and well by setting up work from home for teams and supporting their employees at a distance. On the actual game content/events-side, I don’t think I’ve seen much of a reaction... but maybe that was the right reaction?
What do you think will be the biggest trend over the next 12 months?
I think more action focused games on mobile that aren’t necessarily direct tie-ins to PC/console titles are going to keep on appearing. We’ve seen the successes of bringing existing action franchises to mobile, such as Day by Deadlight, Call of Duty, League of Legends, Fortnite etcetera. I think we’re going to see more mobile-exclusive or focused action franchises being made more visible to the mainstream.
In terms of your company, what's the thing you're most proud of during 2020?
Shipping Dead by Daylight: Mobile worldwide in the middle of a pandemic while everyone was working from home for the first time. For game launches I’ve done, it was among the smoothest and that’s all thanks to our great team. Everyone was able to adapt to the new reality quickly and keep their eye on the ball of the release while the world changed around them.
We were able to make the release within our planned schedule and I think that’s a testament to good planning and the amount of support we got from our studio in settling into working from home - especially our IT department, which had to ship so many phones to so many people.
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
Personally, hopefully vaccinations for all so I can go back into the studio and see my team! It’s been a long while and I miss the collaboration of working in a studio. On the industry-side, I think we’re really going to start seeing the impacts of the pandemic on the creation and approach to games. It’ll be an interesting year for sure.