The mobile gaming industry is a fast-paced and constantly evolving landscape. To get ahead in this competitive field, it's essential to have a deep understanding of business beyond the screen. That's why we're excited to share an interview with Janette D’Alessio, a Senior Business Development Lead at Lab Cave Games.
In this must-read article, Janette shares her insights and experiences on everything from the mobile gaming trends she predicts in 2023, to advice to new mobile game publishers. Read on to learn from a true industry veteran and gain an inside look at the business of mobile gaming.
How did you first become interested in the gaming industry and what sparked your passion for it?
I started working in the gaming industry in 2018. I never thought that I was going to work in Gaming - it was more a coincidence than a decision. But after a couple of months in the industry, I knew this was where I wanted to cement myself for my professional career.
My passion was sparked when I started to learn about all the different components that go together behind a game. From monetization to UA, UX, ASO, and player psychology, I became fascinated with the art and science of it all.
Mobile gaming is such an interesting industry. You never stop learning and it’s always changing. You need to adapt quickly. It’s challenging and I enjoy that!
Lab Cave Games recently acquired Zoo Craft and is now building a reputation for spotting leading mobile games. In your opinion, what makes a mobile game stand out commercially to players, and as a good acquisition?
At Lab Cave Games, we’re always on the lookout for games with great potential, a loyal player community and a prominent focus on casual gaming. When discovering games, we always want to understand player retention and how the game can be improved.
Then, of course, we look at different aspects such as ASO, the monetization model, game design and so on. However, a few non-negotiables for us are that it must be a profitable game, we must be able to acquire players and the game should prove to be scalable. We’re looking to buy mobile games that have the potential to be scale-up and generate consistent revenue.
As you’ve mentioned on your LinkedIn, competing with big gaming publishers can be challenging. What are some ways you’ve found to overcome that challenge?
In my opinion, it’s all about the relationship and the trust you build with the developer.
For small publishers, it can be hard to finalise a Minimum Guarantee or upfront payment to a developer because you want to focus on profitability and scaling. But you can win the trust and respect of developers by showing them that you know what you’re talking about and that you have the knowledge and the resources to make their game a hit.
Data.ai predict a 3% decline in in-game spending this year for mobile games. We believe this means publishers need to get creative with how they monetize. What shifts have you seen for games as they navigate lower player spending, changing policies and approaching a global recession?
I believe publishers and developers need to focus on games that have a higher percentage of revenue coming from IAPs. You need to engage those loyal players who’ll spend in the game and those that do not convert, that's where ads come into play.
Hybrid monetization is also here to stay. This means we’ll see many mobile games adding monetization solutions, like Kindred’s SDK, with their current streams to generate as much revenue as possible.
Where do you see the mobile gaming industry heading in 2023 and what are some of the biggest trends?
2023 is going to certainly be an interesting year! These are my predictions:
There’ll be more M&A activity. For example, there was recent news about Playtika potentially acquiring Rovio.
Game developers and publishers will need to find innovative ways to monetize players by adopting a hybrid monetization model.
The quality of a mobile game will be an essential key to keeping player retention high.
User Generated Content (UGC) will become a big part of marketing efforts for mobile games.
In terms of markets, MENA is hot right now! In Saudi Arabia, half of the population consider themselves gamers (Newzoo report)
What advice do you have for a game developer looking to launch a mobile game in 2023?
The first thing they’ll need to focus on is building a high-quality game that engages players. Retention is always the key metric and thorough market research can help you to spot trends and understand how to acquire players.
An article that I really found helpful was “How to soft launch a game in 2022?” by Matej Lancaric. I would recommend gaming developers read this and try to implement it and learn from experts like Matej.
Is a hybrid monetization model for you?
Relying on one or two revenue models for your mobile game is no longer sufficient. Mobile game publishers need to adapt and discover new long-term solutions. Kindred offer a unique SDK where you can unlock untapped revenue from your players, external to your mobile game. Our SDK enables you to generate a commission each time your players shop online. So even after your player becomes dormant, you’re still able to increase your ARPMAU by up to 10%!
Get in touch today to discover how we can support you in this and learn about our SDK activation bonuses.