As 2021 begins to fade in memory, we take a look back at the events that have defined the past 12 months in mobile gaming.
We asked the big and the big in the industry to give us their take on the year, as well as predict the trends that will dominate in 2022.
Ben Liu is the CEO of Pocket Gems, a San Francisco-based mobile game development studio.
PocketGamer.biz: What do you think has been the biggest news for the mobile gaming industry in 2021?
Ben Liu: The biggest news for me has been the continued generational shift towards games and especially mobile games as the future of entertainment. I firmly believe that as soon as people have access to computing devices, they choose to play games. We are seeing this happening during the pandemic with more and more people around the world using computing devices and discovering the power and joy that games can bring.
The net result has been that mobile games have continued to grow and take an even greater share of all other forms of entertainment – according to App Annie, mobile games are on track to surpass $ 120 billion in 2021, or 20% growth from 2020. Even with this huge growth, I still believe these are the early days of mobile gaming and there is so much more to come. Our products have been downloaded over 500 million times and have generated over a billion revenues, but I can see that our next products will be several times the size.
Which mobile game do you think has had the biggest impact on the industry this year?
I have to say that Roblox continues to be the game of the moment with its impact on the next generation of gamers, the amazing community of creators, and the steps taken for the early metaverse experiences.
What is your favorite and / or favorite mobile game of 2021?
Definitely the game we just launched on December 9, Adventure Chef: Merge Explorer! We think it’s the perfect game for that moment in time, where people want to explore and travel, even from the comfort of their own homes, and it’s something we’re really proud of.
I’m most proud of what we’ve done to serve our players in Episode and War Dragons.
The game I played the most outside of our games was Wild Rift. I’ve always wanted to play League of Legends on my phone and now I can.
What is the thing about your business that you are most proud of in 2021?
I’m most proud of what we’ve done to serve our players in Episode and War Dragons. From helping our community of over 25 million Episode-registered creators create amazing stories to bringing our best War Dragons players together at our 2021 Player Summit, we’ve been motivated all the way through. year to serve our community.
I’m also very proud of what we’ve done as a team and as a company to move on to a whole new tech stack and create a new game for the first time remotely with Adventure Chef: Merge Explorer. It’s a testament to our close-knit culture and the years we’ve spent working together through many ups and downs.
Finally, I am proud of the resilience of our team and our business through everything that has happened and how we have gone above and beyond to take care of each other.
What do you think will be the biggest trend over the next 12 months?
One of the things that I look forward to is the release of more games. One gets the impression that the pandemic has slowed development a lot and that there are a lot of delays throughout the industry. Now that we’ve released Adventure Chef, we’ve got a lot of new things we’re working on that hopefully could pick up steam as well and hit the market soon.
What are you expecting the most in 2022?
I really look forward to seeing our entire business in person at some point in the year, safety of course. Related to this, I also can’t wait to see what the next phase of Pocket Gems will look like, making the most of in-person interactions and what we’ve learned about remote working over the past couple of years.
You can check out all of our 2021 interviews in Review here.