Pixel Federation's Erik Hegely on the rise of play-to-earn

Pixel Federation head of growth marketing on 2021's challenges and opportunity

Pixel Federation's Erik Hegely on the rise of play-to-earn

As 2021 begins to fade into memory, we're taking a look back at the events that have defined the last 12 months in mobile gaming.

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 2022.

Erik Hegely is head of growth marketing at Slovakia-based games outfit Pixel Federation.

What do you think was the biggest news for the mobile games industry in 2021?

In 2021, we saw the play-to-earn business model being validated in practice. To me, that not only qualifies as the biggest news of the year but also as an innovation that could eventually disrupt our industry in a similar fashion as Free-to-Play has done to the Pay-to-Play. Or maybe not, one never knows. But personally, I’m very excited to see where this will take us for years to come.

Which mobile game do you think had the biggest impact on the industry this year?

Based on my answer to the previous question, it probably won’t come off as a surprise that I will go with Axie Infinity by Sky Mavis as the most impactful game of 2021. Although it’s not distributed through traditional channels and it doesn’t control a significant market share of Tier One audiences, technically it could qualify as a mobile game and we certainly can’t ignore its impact.

What is your top and/or favourite mobile game of 2021?

My top game of 2021 is Farmville 3 and my favourite one is Crash Bandicoot: On the Run. I believe successor games/spin-offs are a viable product strategy and both games are very well executed. We practice a similar approach at Pixel Federation and we’ve experienced amazing growth over the past years with our TrainStation 2, successor to TrainStation 1, or recently released Port City, successor to Seaport.

In terms of your company, what’s the thing you’re most proud of during 2021?

I’m definitely most proud of validating our new discovery and prototyping processes from the R&D department, where I currently spend roughly 50 per cent of my day-to-day time. We’re growing the team to up to 20 people next year and we committed our very first project into production earlier in November. It’s a bit too soon to talk about it at this point but what I can tell you is that it will be a tycoon mobile game for a female audience.

What do you think will be the biggest trend over the next 12 months?

I expect that many existing and new studios will keep exploring blockchain and go down the rabbit hole of the play-to-earn model. We’ll continue to see growing demand for social features and triple-A quality mobile games. Speaking of quality, I expect the video ads to keep raising the bar as well – and yes, there’s more to mobile game commercials than those fake ads we’ve seen so much of!

What are you most looking forward to in 2022?

I am really looking forward to releasing our Puzzle Adventure title globally in Q1 2022!

You can check out all of our 2021 in Review interviews here.

News Editor

The man formerly known as News Editor.