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.
This time we're catching up with Rami Ismail, co-founder of Vlambeer, which closed down earlier this year.
PocketGamer.biz: What do you think was the biggest news or event for the mobile games industry in 2020?
Rami Ismail: Honestly, I think not much exciting changed over 2020 in terms of the market overall. If anything, I think mobile mostly evolved more into the increasingly connected eco-system of games. We're seeing more and more games cross the line between PC, console, streaming, and mobile - and while that is cool, I do hope we continue to see the exquisite and context-specific gems that mobile has always been defined by in my eyes.
Which mobile game do you think had the biggest impact on the industry this year?
That'd have to be Genshin Impact or Among Us. I don't think either changed much about the industry, but I do think they'll generally be considered benchmark games for the power of the mobile platform for devs who aren't primarily targeting mobile.
I do hope we continue to see the exquisite and context-specific gems that mobile has always been defined by.
What is your top mobile game of 2020?
HoloVista was the kind of clever surprise I did not expect, and all the better for it.
Do you think the mobile games industry has reacted well to the many challenges presented this year?
Yeah, we came out pretty OK, I'd say? I'm way more interested in how it'll deal with the opportunities and challenges of next year - as things start moving again, the industry has a year of developments to properly start processing, and I wonder what will happen in general as the world (hopefully!) recovers from one of the oddest years in recent history.
What do you think will be the biggest trend over the next 12 months?
I honestly have no idea, and I am pretty excited for that. The overall shift to games as a subscription continues, and I wonder if we'll see more prevalent or renewed attempts at achieving that on mobile.
In terms of your company, what's the thing you're most proud of during 2020?
We shut Vlambeer down. In my mind, Vlambeer always was a bit of a 'statement' studio, and for that studio and its legacy, the final act of being a statement is that you can quit a studio without scandal or bankruptcy - that felt right.
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
I'd love to tell, but I probably shouldn't yet! All I can say is that exciting things are over the horizon, but for now, I think I'd rather take a bit of time to catch up to what happened to my life during this past decade of Vlambeer.