Deconstructor of Fun, which breaks down free-to-play games and provides meaningful industry insights, has shared its mobile games market predictions for 2023.

Organic discovery has every chance of becoming a relic of the past this year

This is a bold prediction, albeit not without merit. As the Deconstructor of Fun, run by Savage Game Studios CEO Michail Katkoff, explained in a blog post, without organic discovery (including via features), “the only good the stores do is give a landing page for paid ads and distribute APKs.”

Here is what an executive at a small mobile developer had to say about the impact of getting a surprise feature from Apple: “While the impressions ballooned they hardly translated to page views let alone installs.” To be more specific, the studio got 40k page views and 10k installs on 1.5 million impressions.

The times when a good feature could make you a star seem to be long gone. So when all a developer can get is 10k-20k installs (instead of millions of organic downloads like in the good old days), there is no room left for indie breakouts in the mobile games industry.

As a result, small teams have to either get a safe deal with giants like Apple and Netflix or merge into larger companies. As pointed out by Deconstructor of Fun, there is also a third option — to stop trying and exit the mobile market.

“Senior games industry folks” surveyed by Deconstructor of Fun seem to feel the same way. 86.9% of respondents fully or somewhat agree that organic discovery in the App Store and Google Play is dead.

Other trends and predictions for 2023

  • More mobile publishers and developers will push for third-party payment systems outside of app stores (according to Deconstructor of Fun, Apple and Google can combat this by reducing fees to 15% and returning IDFA “with a reasonable privacy prompt”).
  • Paid user acquisition can’t guarantee profits and becomes a “break-even game” at best. And advertising networks won’t let developers win this race.
  • More devs will start looking for safe deals with Netflix or Apple Arcade for the sake of guaranteed ROI as development is getting more expensive and risky.
  • More streaming giants like Disney and Amazon will follow in Netflix’s footsteps and launch games on their platforms. At the same time, the chances of Netflix finally releasing a hit title in 2023 are still extremely slim.

More information, including the reasons behind the decline in VC deals, can be found in the full article.

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