What will the mobile space look like as we head into 2022?

Anzu's director of mobile games, Lev Kommisarchik looks to the future at PG Connects Digital NEXT

What will the mobile space look like as we head into 2022?

Lev Kommisarchik is a gaming veteran with a passion for advertising.

Prior to Anzu, Lev was Director of Partnerships, Publishers and DSP at Fyber, the global monetisation platform for mobile publishers - with €210 million in revenue in 2020 - that was recently acquired by Digital Turbine.

Lev began his adtech career as a publisher account manager at Inneractive, a leading independent mobile ad exchange that was acquired by Fyber in 2016. An industrial engineer by profession, Lev has vast experience in mobile gaming and app monetisation strategy. What are you talking about at PocketGamer Connects Digital NEXT?

Lev Kommisarchik: I will be hosting a session with Jane Anderson, head of monetisation at hyper-casual game studio Popcore, titled ‘What The Mobile Space Looks Like As We Head Into 2022’.

During this session, we will discuss the wave of consolidations that have happened over the past year, including the recent acquisition of Mopub by Applovin and what this means for those working in the space. We will also address how in-game advertising is helping to bridge the gap between advertisers and game studios and outline our predictions for where the mobile space is headed.

I’m also taking part in the panel entitled ‘How Have New Ad Formats Changed Mobile Gaming’ and will be discussing some of the success stories we’ve seen at Anzu from game studios who have opened their mobile titles up to in-game advertising.

Rather than seeing it as purely a revenue generator, we try to help studios understand how our in-game ads can add to their gameplay experiences. For example, having a brand run a banner ad alongside a track in a racing game or along the side of a stadium in a sports sim can make the experience feel more realistic compared to having fake ads or blank billboards.

...We try to help studios understand how our in-game ads can add to their gameplay experiences.
Lev Kommisarchik

I’ll also be talking about the importance of continually analysing the performance of ad placements within mobile titles. We see the implementation of an ad placement within a game as the beginning rather than the end, and we pride ourselves on maintaining close-knit relationships with all our game publishers, helping them to continually optimise and assess their placements to ensure they are getting the most out of them.

Please tell us more about Anzu and what it does?

Anzu is the world’s most advanced in-game advertising solution. Operating across mobile, PC, console, and Roblox, Anzu blends real-world brand ads directly into video games, esports tournaments, and live streams.

The only solution of its kind to bring real-time analytics and existing digital industry standards in-game, Anzu’s patented, adaptive technology features blended yet highly viewable IAB-compliant ad formats. Anzu’s full suite of one-of-a-kind AdTech integrations includes ad viewability, brand lift measurement, audience verification, data enrichment, and fraud detection in partnership with industry leaders such as Moat, Comscore, Kantar, and Nielsen.

What's your role within the company?

I lead Anzu’s mobile division covering the full customer journey from lead generation to sales and customer success. I oversee a total of three teams who work closely to ensure every one of our clients is looked after.

Why did you want to work in the games industry?

It’s an extremely exciting time to be part of the industry. Although gaming was already massive before the pandemic hit, extended lockdown periods saw millions of people get into gaming for the first time. Stats show that many of them have continued to play, even as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.

Anzu’s technology is also very advanced and miles ahead of anything else in the market. This allows my team to approach and attract some of the most exciting mobile studios worldwide, including Miniclip, Voodoo, and Amanotes - SEA’s most popular mobile games publisher.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in games?

First and foremost, you need to decide where your passion lies, acquire the right qualifications or experience to pursue a career in it, and then keep an eye on those areas of the industry. As gaming continues to grow, as will the job opportunities. We’re hiring for several new roles, so if you think you have what it takes, you can check them out.

Has the games industry changed since you first started?

A few years ago, the term ‘gamer’ was reserved for a bunch of geeks - many associated the term with teenage boys playing from the darkness of their bedrooms. Now everyone is a gamer. Whether you play on mobile, PC, or console, it’s rare to find someone nowadays who doesn’t play games in some form - and that includes my grandma!

...It’s rare to find someone nowadays who doesn’t play games in some form - and that includes my grandma!
Lev Kommisarchik

What major changes have you noticed taking place in the games industry over the last 12 months?

Something I’ve noticed is how games are expanding into other industries more than ever. Netflix has just released a TV show based within the League of Legends universe and has a huge roster of new films and TV shows based on video game franchises.

They’ve also just launched their own games which are accessible with the Netflix Android app. Merchandise and fashion based on games and their characters have become a huge business, especially amongst kids. It’s rare I go to one of my kids’ friends’ birthday parties and don’t see someone dressed in either a Roblox, Minecraft, or Fortnite-themed t-shirt. And when it comes to the music industry, some of the world’s biggest artists have collaborated with games studios - forget Madison Square Garden - Fortnite is the new world stage.

What changes can you see taking place in 2022 - and beyond?

Maybe the most significant trend is that the industry is becoming cross-platform. Over the past few years, we’ve seen cross-platform games like Fortnite, Roblox, and Genshin Impact amass huge fan bases with people playing together over various devices.

Gaming is no longer constrained to one platform, and over the next 12 months, we will see many more games go this way, especially as cloud gaming arrives and mobile devices can run more powerful titles.

At Anzu, we believe in the cross-platform future, which is why we’ve worked towards becoming the first platform to programmatically serve in-game ads across mobile, PC, and console.

At Anzu, we believe in the cross-platform future
Lev Kommisarchik

Which part of PocketGamer Connects NEXT are you most looking forward to?

I always enjoy listening to bright people, and like every year, November’s conference has some fantastic speakers! It will be great to hear how studios have been navigating the past year and what they believe the future holds, especially as we begin to emerge from the pandemic with an even bigger audience than anyone could have imagined.

Anzu’s CEO Itamar Benedy will also be speaking this year on the metaverse and where game developers will fit into it - one not to be missed!

You can hear Lev - and Itamar - speak at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital NEXT, which is running this weekfrom Monday 15th until Friday 19th of November. Find out more and register here.

Managing Editor

Brian has been working in the games industry since the mid-1990s, when he joined the legendary studio DMA Design, as a writer on the original Grand Theft Auto. Since then he's worked with major publishers, founded his own digital agency, helped numerous startups with PR, marketing, communications, narrative design, branding and making money.

Back in 2004 Brian created the Scottish Games Network, the industry body for the country's videogames sector. He also lectures at Napier University on the transformative power of interactive media on the creative industries, is a board member of Creative Edinburgh, and helps to organise games, tech and creative industries events.

In his spare time he plays videogames and is usually, proudly, at least one generation behind the cutting edge consoles.