Your predictions for 2023 in mobile games: navigating market slowdown and more M&A

 

We asked a load of smart mobilegamer.biz readers for their 2023 predictions to kick off the year.

The folks below discussed how to get through a potentially turbulent year ahead which could bring more M&A and accelerate other trends.

Elsewhere in this week’s run of 2023 prediction posts, we’ve covered the rise of generative AIcross-platform development, evolving monetisation models plus what’ll happen in web3, advertising, hypercasual and other areas like sexist ads, AR, TikTok, live ops and more.

FunPlus chief business officer Chris Petrovic:
I think the new year will bring a continued choppiness in the mobile gaming market for many of the same reasons as we experienced in 2022, namely post COVID consumer and workplace habits, the ongoing effects of IDFA as the industry continues to find its footing on how to operate efficiently, and of course global market conditions driven by financial and geo-political realities.

Having said that, I do think that there will be a renewed focus and energy placed on the mobile gaming sector given the recent Web3/crypto market challenges, and we will continue to see innovation around topics such as cross-platform free-to-play gameplay experiences and generative AI. I’m very excited about both of these!

Flexion CEO Jens Lauritzson:
I cam see some big players taking interesting strategic positions through acquisitions and partnerships as a result of stricter privacy rules and opening up of app store markets.

Chris Petrovic, Jens Lauritzson, Callum Godfrey, Daniel Tchernahovsky.

Kwalee head of casual games Callum Godfrey:
It’s going to be a leaner time in 2023 with many of us feeling the economic pinch and that in turn hitting our ability to splash out on video games. I think this will mean the industry will polarise.

The biggest franchises will become totem purchases for players that they can’t ignore with F2P and smaller indie games becoming a refuge for those squeezed out of the higher prices and the middle ground will become an even more painful and fierce place to get caught.

AppLovin global business development VP Daniel Tchernahovsky:
The gaming industry has always thrived on creativity and experimentation. The current economic downturn is forcing us to double down on this even more. As launching new gaming hits has become more difficult, we are seeing more and more developers take risks and be open to changing their previously winning formula.

We currently see and predict that we will continue to witness the game industry developing in its monetisation strategies. Whether it’s adopting hybrid monetisation, with IAP partners integrating ads, and ad based developers trying to crack IAPs, or new ad formats such as app open or native, I expect to see a lot of new and creative monetisation strategies emerge in 2023.

Raptor PR founder and MD Rana Rahman:
We can expect to see a further round of consolidations and M&A, continuing the trend of the last 12 months. This will be driven by established AAAs embracing the mammoth audiences offered by mobile games, and emergent markets such as MENA stepping up the pace of their investments in global developers and publishers.

Likewise, global games industry companies will sit up and take notice of the huge new addressable audiences in these markets.

Mobidictum founder and MD Batuhan Avucan:
The market is slowing down, layoffs are at the door. Salaries will go lower. Companies that don’t have strong finances will have difficulties, and their talent will move to stronger companies. The market will wipe out the weak and strengthen the strong ones in the long run.

The hyper-casual market is already slowed down, and we see examples like this, especially in Türkiye. Big hyper-casual publishers are looking for alternative business models, focusing on hybrid-casual and casual games. 2023 will be the survival of the fittest year.

Rana Rahman, Batuhan Avucan, Adam Sullivan, Saad Choudri.

Pocket Burger Games cofounder Adam Sullivan:
The mobile industry will continue to be affected by the platform’s ongoing privacy changes and I think we’ll see more consolidation as smaller developers struggle and more prominent developers seek growth. I think we’ll see the platform holders continue to evolve their own advertising solutions and I would like to think this will cause a reduction in misleading and poor-taste user acquisition practices and allow some new and fresh games to break out from the more derivative titles.

Miniclip CEO Saad Choudri:
The mobile games industry is constantly changing and evolving. We’re likely to see disruption and change in payments, platforms and privacy playing out during 2023.

It’s all part of what makes this such a dynamic and exciting space. But of course, we are also facing an economic slowdown in many parts of the world, coupled with the return to more pre-pandemic play patterns. For the industry, it means we need to deliver quality and great value for money, as players are more careful with how they spend their time and more price-sensitive.