Adam Smart of AppsFlyer chats to us ahead of his talk at PG Connects

"The games industry exists to generate revenue but that shouldn't be the only focus"

Adam Smart of AppsFlyer chats to us ahead of his talk at PG Connects

In case you have somehow missed all the hype, we’re bringing back Europe’s favourite games industry conference to Finland, the industry's spiritual home! On September 27 and 28, over 1,200 games industry professionals from around the globe will descend upon Helsinki to network, take advantage of matchmaking opportunities and absorb wisdom from over 200 thought leaders at Pocket Gamer Connects. We are currently highlighting some of the brilliant speakers who will be joining us at the conference this September so make sure you keep an eye on!

Adam Smart is the Director of Product - Gaming for AppsFlyer, leading their product development for the gaming industry. Having worked in technical, product and growth roles in the industry for more than 10 years, he has extensive experience in user acquisition and retention, montisation and conversion design, product analytics and software architecture. He is also the co-host of In The Sandbox With… a podcast that dives into the latest trends, tools, and best practices for growing your game. Please give us a summary of what you’re speaking about and why it’s important.

I’ll be joined by user acquisition leaders from some of the world’s top gaming companies, to get a first-hand insight into the strategies and methods these companies are using to scale and grow.

What’s the most common mistake you see being made in the games sector?

Monetization over content, obviously the games industry exists to generate revenue but that shouldn't be the only focus. Quality and gameplay in my opinion should be the primary focus of any game studio.

What company do you most admire in the mobile games world?

Honestly there is so much to admire about so many gaming companies, for me, over the years there are two that captured my attention, The innovative way SuperCell stay relevant, spawning new concepts in small teams constantly. I love the speed and it gives teams a chance to work on different things which is always fantastic.

The other who I’ve talked to on the podcast recently are Paradym3 a small studio of 3 who by creating great content (with a focus on the game rather than monetization) accrued 65M installs organically.

What is the single biggest challenge facing the mobile games industry today? 

Saturation of the industry. There’s so much competition nowadays that acquiring new users is getting harder and more expensive. If gaming developers actually looked into user acquisition costs when designing their games we’d probably see far more gaming companies move into unsaturated markets and tapping into new audiences. Drest is a great example of this, merging high fashion with gaming.

What’s your favourite ever mobile game?

I’m a huge fan of strategy games such as Clash of Clans, which probably stems from enjoying Age of Empires back in the day. My game of the moment is Raid: Shadow Legends, as it has so many intricacies, combinations of characters, and specific gear that’s needed to take on different bosses. You end up becoming a mathematician to work out turn orders to succeed.

What is the most overhyped trend from the last 12 months - and why?

NFTs and blockchain. There’s so much investment being put into blockchain and NFTs that I think it’s highly likely they’ll become a key part of gaming in the future. Having said that, I don’t think the correct application has been found for it yet and there are still a number of questions that need to be addressed.

Are they just the same as in-app purchases? How do games make money with NFTs in the long-term? If people are able to transfer NFT purchases to later versions of the game, why would they need to make additional ones? What’s the cost of minting them in the first place? Can anyone develop a game to use existing NFTs in? Where do IP restrictions come in if the NFT owner owns the object? It’s early days, and I’m sure we’ll see these technologies play a part in mobile gaming going forward, but right now, I feel its overhyped.

What do you enjoy most about working in the mobile games industry?

There are so many things. It’s such a dynamic and constantly changing industry with new developments occurring all the time - it’s never boring. I get to spend my days discussing major trends and harnessing their potential with some of the largest gaming companies around, as well as on the podcast I co-host, “In the Sandbox with…” and that’s a real privilege.

What was your first-ever mobile phone?

Nokia 3200 (still the best phone ever!)

What was the fundamental appeal of the mobile games industry that brought you to it?

As a kid, I grew up with Sega and Nintendo, so always had a strong interest in the gaming space. Then if you look specifically at mobile gaming, I love it because they’re so easy to pick up and play. They’re intuitive, accessible and undoubtedly creative. Gaming apps allow developers to innovate and experiment with new concepts to engage their users, whether that’s through graphics, design, sound, storylines, or the overall experience.

Can people get in touch with you at the event? What sort of people would you like to connect with?

Definitely! Anyone with an interest in mobile gaming.


Tags: regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.