The short cycle of mobile games is what's driving opportunities, says Unity's Helgason

The short cycle of mobile games is what's driving opportunities, says Unity's Helgason
'Peak PC' - 1.5 billion units in 2012 - took 36 years.

That's already the install base for smartphones, said Unity CEO David Helgason, introducing his Nordic Game 2013 talk.

Taking a broad, strategic view, he unpicked the reasons for 'the energy that's in the mobile games business'.

Faster, faster pussycat

One example is what he called the half-life of content.

For films and music, it take decades or longer for things to go out of fashion.

Helgason argued that for PC and console games, this is severely reduced to 2-3 years.

And for mobile games, it's 0.5 to 2 years.

"This isn't the graphics. This is the social aspects. The business model. It's a very short cycle, which is scary for developers," he said.

But, Helgason argued, the short half-life of content increases the power that creators as a whole have in the business value chain. 

"This is what is creating these incredible opportunities," he said.

Speed of thought

This has implications for your multi-platform approach when you have a hit game.

Obviously, this is something Unity is helping out with, particularly now its iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry game engine is available for free.

And more generally, Helgason pointed to the industry's sheer pace as a reason for its innovation.

"Everything you did last year to be successful won't be useful this year," he said.

"It's a scary thing, but that makes it a good opportunity for new, fresh companies. You at least have as much chance as the incumbents."

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.


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