With 2021 almost over, Craig Chapple, Mobile Insights Strategist, EMEA at Sensor Tower, reflects on the achievements of the year and what lies ahead.
Craig ChappleMobile Insights Strategist, EMEASensor Tower
How did 2021 treat Sensor Tower?
It’s been another huge year for Sensor Tower as we greatly expanded our global operations by growing our teams in North America, Europe and Asia. This year also saw us make our first acquisition with the purchase of Pathmatics, a leader in the world of digital advertising intelligence.
This year we also launched two major products for our customers: Game Intelligence and Consumer Intelligence. Our Game Intelligence tools provide access to our industry leading Genre Taxonomy and lets users drill down into games by theme, setting, art style, and more. Consumer Intelligence, meanwhile, provides unprecedented access to mobile usage behaviour.You can expect continued growth into 2022 and beyond as Sensor Tower cements itself as the industry-leading provider of data and insights that helps mobile apps and games publishers to flourish.
What developments or trends that you saw in 2021 do you consider critical for the video games market?
This year saw continued heated activity in M&A and public flotations. For mobile, it’s a sign of the industry’s maturity and growth: mobile games have clearly had the potential to deliver lucrative returns for publishers for years, but last 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns saw the sector experience outsized gains which it continues to build upon. Large acquisitions – such as EA’s swoop for Glu Mobile and Zynga’s purchase of Peak Games, to name just a couple – show that publishers continue to be bullish on the sector and its opportunities. Meanwhile, successful IPOs from the likes of Roblox and AppLovin are an indicator that investors are also bullish on mobile and wider games industry growth, too.
What to expect from the video games market in 2022?
I think next year we can expect more M&A activity, though it’s increasingly becoming slim pickings at the top as many of the big targets have already been snapped up.
One of the most exciting trends, in my opinion, is the increasing number of titles going cross-platform. Fortnite made a big splash with this on mobile, with the ability to play against your counterparts on other platforms. It was a huge hit on smart devices, picking up $1.2 billion on the App Store and Google Play before its removal. Roblox, meanwhile, another huge cross-platform game, has generated $3.5 billion on mobile to date.
Then you have Genshin Impact, the latest global blockbuster that’s available on mobile, PS4 and PC, raking in $2 billion on mobile during its first year. Now Zynga is getting in on the act with cross-platform title Star Wars Hunters. It may not be suitable for all games, but by being available everywhere, publishers are able to broaden their audience and improve accessibility, while also not being completely beholden to dramatic platform changes, such as the end of a console lifecycle, or the situation with IDFA.
Which third-party titles were you personally excited about as a gamer this year?
It’s always an interesting question on mobile, as the games I’m most excited about aren’t always new at all, but rather titles that have continually been updated for years and that you can come back into to find something new. At the start of the year I got back into Pokémon GO after a couple of years out, to find some cool new features and, of course, lots of of new Pokémon. Other titles that I’ve enjoyed this year include Cookie Run: Kingdom, Love & Pies, Golf Clash (always) and Rush Royale.
As a massive fan of Rocket League – having frittered away too many hours to get into Diamond League – I’m also very much looking forward to getting my teeth into Rocket League Sideswipe. The original is such a fun and rewarding experience with great skill progression, that I hope at least some of the same sensibilities that make it excel can transfer over to mobile with this new title.