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 speaking to Lana Meisak, VP of business development at Gismart.
PocketGamer.biz What do you think was the biggest news or event for the mobile games industry in 2020?
Lana Meisak: It’s hard to pick just one event as the main one for 2020. If we talk about prominent trends that had a significant impact, I have to mention the Covid-19 pandemic that forced people all over the world to stay in their homes. It boosted games usage to the point that Newzoo had adjusted its initial 2020 mobile gaming market revenue forecast from $77.2 billion to $86.3 billion.
What is your top mobile game of 2020?
With our focus on hypercasual games, we have a pretty different approach to classic game publishing. Rather than focusing on one game, it is important to have consistent new launches and offer our players new experiences. Gismart’s portfolio grew by 25 new titles this year, 15 of them are games. In total new products generated 270 million downloads. Among the most popular ones are Baby and Mom Idle 3D, VIP Guard, Foil Turning 3D, Little Ants Colony.
What do you think will be the biggest trend over the next 12 months?
This year also saw the emergence of hybrid-genre games which enables more sophisticated monetisation and I believe we will see more of these releases in 2021, including a few from Gismart. More publishers will diversify and strengthen their portfolios, tapping into different game genres to achieve their revenue targets. Major publishers would probably achieve that through acquisitions, smaller publishers would probably concentrate on developing their own titles or through partnering with independent studios.
In terms of your company, what's the thing you're most proud of during 2020?
2020 has been a good year for Gismart. We launched over two dozen new products, opened another office in a new location, added 85 people to our team. Gismart also received recognition from Financial Times 1000 this year. We were listed as the 6th fastest-growing company in Europe.
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
Like many we are looking to get back to normal or a new normal I guess. Though we quickly adapted to working from home, online conferences and networking via Zoom, most of the team is looking forward to getting back to the office, being able to physically attend industry events and network in an offline world. I really hope this pandemic will be under control and the world will open again.
As for the business, Gismart is looking forward to releasing a few brand new casual and hybrid genre games, as well as continuing to grow our portfolio of hypercasual and idle games. With our own advanced marketing and analytical tools we are able to quickly do in-depth market analysis and see emerging game trends. This helps us and our partner studios to launch high potential games on the market faster and benefit from staying ahead of the severe competition that exists on the hypercasual market. In addition to games, we will continue to work on growing audiences for our flagship music entertainment apps such as Beat Maker Go, Piano, Guitar, Karaoke, and developing more promising younger products like DJ It!, for example.
We are also excited to continue our expansion in Asia, with a specific focus on China. Despite our successes in this market, we have identified further opportunities for growth on Android and will focus on working with local publishers, including relatively new players but those that already have a huge audience.