Industry News Weekly – Issue #134

2019 Predictions

Deconstructor of Fun finished up this year’s round of predictions. The final three categories you can read about are:

Supercell’s CEO about the previous year

Ilkka Paananen, Supercell CEO, shares his view of the Supercell business in 2018 in this blogpost. Some of the highlights:

  • Looking back on Brawl Stars development and road to the global launch. Also shared some metrics: #1 downloaded game in more than 50 regions, average rating 4.5./5 stars, 80M people played already. Some esports events are already happening.
  • In 2018, our revenue was $1.6 billion and our EBITDA (profit before taxes) was $635 million. We paid $122 million taxes to Finland, the country where we are headquartered. 
  • In 2019, they hope to bring Brawl Stars to China, Boom Beach to get Warships update and improvements for Hay Day and Clash of Clans are under development
  • The launch of a new type of coding school called Hive Helsinki (anyone can apply; there are no teachers, classes or books – Instead, it is based on practical coding assignments (including building games) that students do in groups.) Also, Supercell will go entirely carbon neutral as part of their effort to be more eco-friendly.

Industry Layoffs

Surely among the biggest news, last week is Activision’s announcement that they would be laying off almost 800 people in order to “centralize functions and boost profits”. The news about laying off almost 8% of their global workforce comes as a surprise as it follows reports about 2018 being Activision most successful year yet. As part of the major company-wide restructuring, Activision has shut down King’s studios in San Francisco and Seattle (even though King has reported $2 billion revenue in 2018, $88 million more than in 2017). Read more about it on MCVVarietyPocketGamer

Industry layoffs seem to be trending since the beginning of the year, as PocketGamer reports that Finnish developer Nitro Games is looking at laying off and changing the contract terms for as many as 30 employees. They are not the only ones – Next Games is laying off 26 people, South Korean NCSoft has laid off an undisclosed number of people from its San Mateo studio. Other closures include Forgotten Key, Define Human Studios, Daybreak, Starbreeze, Bandai Namco Vancouver, and Trion Worlds, best known for its MMO games. Source: MCV

However, it’s not all bleak: Messenger game developer Softgames has expanded into a larger office in Berlin, Germany (and opened another office in Toronto) as it looks to ramp up its recruitment. In Texas, former Disney and Pixar animators have raised $2 million for a new mobile studio Tonk Tonk Games. As reported in this article, they will use the funds to establish a new HQ in Austin and to scale the team while they develop uFighter, a real-time multiplayer battle that sees users’ faces digitized onto their avatar. 

The State of The App Economy: 2019 and beyond

Eric Seufert has given a presentation on the state of the app economy last week at Mobile Growth Summit in San Francisco. The presentation provides a broad overview of the current state of the app economy from the perspective of app distribution, monetization, and ad targeting. It then proposes three thoughts for mobile marketers on navigating 2019. See the deck on his blog

The popularity of mobile game art styles and genres – data breakdown

Gamerefinery brings us a market overview of game art genres and styles across markets (US; Japan; China) and categories. Read more.

Revenue diversification monetization strategy

Adi Haddad, Business Development Manager at Google Play shares her view of why it is important for developers to think about diversifying their revenue streams by applying IAP, ad monetization and subscriptions in their games. Among other things, she points out that games that generate a higher proportion of their revenue from their top spenders are less likely to get their churned buyers back; while games that are reactivating more churned buyers are less dependent on their top spenders. Read about the benefits of implementing subscriptions and more!

Another article about monetization which explains why it is important to provide some items in the game that are available solely through purchase – not given through events or available for free in other ways.

The sound of music: Composers reveal how to collaborate for inspiring results

MCV brings us a feature on music in video games, focusing on how devs can work better with composers, how the role of game music composer has evolved and the importance of music in games.

“The most important thing is that composers working in games keep pushing what they are capable of doing, whether it’s that new melody that no-one’s heard before, that new instrument that is placed at the forefront of the mix, or a new way of implementing the music dynamically. There’s such a huge amount of variety in what is being created in game music today, if composers keep doing what they are doing, the legacy will naturally take care of itself over time.”

News around the globe

  • Zynga has labelled the company’s turnaround complete after posting its best ever mobile revenue Q4 2018. The publisher’s mobile revenue increased 12 per cent year-on-year to $228 million for the three months ending December 31st 2018.  Read more here and here.
  • South Korean publisher Netmarble has taken a big hit to its net profit due to what it claims are slowing sales of its existing games like Jam City’s Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery and a lack of new releases. For its Q4 2018. the company reported revenue of $432M, down 20.9 per cent year-on-year and 7.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter. Net profit meanwhile tumbled by 72.1% year-on-year and 73.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter to $13M. Details.
  • “I think there’s a value exchange there and it’s been the industry standard,” Pichai said during the call regarding the Google Play’s fee. Google’s CEO says that a 30% revenue cut stays in place and rejects speculations about possible decrease due to Epic Games’ store entering the market.

Notable new releases 


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