As 2021 begins to fade in memory, we take a look back at the events that have defined the past 12 months in mobile gaming.
We asked the big and the big in the industry to give us their take on the year, as well as predict the trends that will dominate in 2022.
Elena Grigoryan is Marketing Director at MY.GAMES, the Russian developer and publisher which includes more than 10 development teams and 80 active games.
PocketGamer.biz: What do you think has been the biggest news for the mobile gaming industry in 2021?
Elena Grigorian: For the mobile industry, the key development in 2021 was the change in user identification policies for App Store – IDFA applications.
This has caused mobile game companies around the world to reconsider the methods they were used to of user acquisition and adapt their marketing strategies to the new terms. At MY.GAMES, we are actively working on the diversification of our marketing channels, which has allowed us to maintain our purchasing marketing efficiency at a good level regardless of the IDFA.
Also important was the topic of authorizing third-party payment instruments in the ecosystems of the largest platforms: Epic Games vs. Apple and the repercussions that this case sent across the world. Overall, 2021 has shaken some parts of the industry’s foundation that were seemingly rock solid, and who knows what 2022 will bring in that direction.
Which mobile game do you think has had the biggest impact on the industry this year?
We usually see games influencing and inspiring other titles within two to three years, but this year we can already distinguish several projects that will be groundbreaking.
First of all, we are talking about Axie Infinity here. Despite all the controversies surrounding this project and its business model, it was certainly this year’s biggest achievement that started the debate on games to win, NFT, and digital property rights in gaming systems.
Currently, NFT games are not allowed to be distributed in official Google and Apple stores, so big companies will not rush to make them, but these games are not difficult to manufacture, and demand is high, their number will increase. therefore inevitably.
Among classic mobile titles, it’s worth mentioning Royal Match, now a shining example of casual live-ops – and the only casual game to show active growth this year.
In Asia, we must also mention Harry Potter Magic Awakened and The Lord of the Rings: War.
What is your favorite mobile game in 2021?
My favorite game is one of the top three titles in MY.GAMES, a tower defense game called Rush Royale from our studio IT Territory. It was the most successful launch in MY.GAMES history, and our team made it happen by working from home.
By the end of Q3 2021, the game had around 14 million downloads and a huge number of fans around the world including myself. On average, players spend 66 minutes in the game per day. It is truly inspiring.
What is the thing about your business that you are most proud of in 2021?
As I said earlier, we managed to complete the most successful mobile launch (Rush Royale) in MY.GAMES history, and its importance is doubled by the fact that it all unfolded in a new working environment: working from home.
To stay on the theme of the new titles, we should also mention the first-person team shooter World War 3 developed in partnership with The Farm 51. It launched in closed beta on PC in November. Right now, we are actively working to perfect the product to prepare it for its global launch in spring 2022.
2021 has been very productive for our MGVC investment division, which has been active both in Russia and abroad. He signed 12 agreements and consolidated two studios, Mamboo Games and Playkey. MGVC has also become one of the 10 largest strategic investors in the world having funded projects worth more than $ 30 million, according to the rating of analyst platform InvestGame for 9M 2021.
We continue to help emerging developers, including through educational programs and business accelerators like Game Drive, a project we started with Google, which has received over 80 apps from around the world.
So despite all the challenges, 2021 has been a productive year for us, and we are delighted to see our team’s efforts being recognized in the gaming community. For example, Left to Survive by our studio Whalekit was named best action game at Samsung’s 2021 Best of Galaxy Store Awards.
What do you think will be the biggest trend over the next 12 months?
The hypercasual market will evolve towards hybrid occasional games or aggregating content like Roblox. There will be more big budget games with Western IPs and funding from China, more console IPs on mobile devices.
The new genres that have the best potential to fly high are mobile looter shooters (Division), retro sports games or sports RPGs and NFT idle games. Additionally, NFT games will boost game distribution beyond official stores.
What are you expecting the most in 2022?
Our strategy remains to continue to diversify our portfolio, which already includes titles from many different genres across all platforms.
We’ll be launching several new games in 2022, including World War 3, which will become a key PC launch for us – the biggest in two years. Along with our partners The Farm 51, we’ve invested a lot in this project, and we really hope players like it.
You can check out all of our 2021 interviews in Review here.