An exclusive interview with Harry Lang of Kwalee

Mobidictum has conducted an exclusive interview with Harry Lang, the Vice President of Marketing in Kwalee. He answered our questions about the future of hyper-casual, their strategies, and targets.

There are some companies in the industries that adapt, companies that can see the most clever paths to advance, and there are some that show or even draw these paths. Founded in 2011 by David Darling, a person who is hailed as one of the founding fathers of the U.K. game industry, Kwalee is one of those companies. 

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Kwalee is a global developer and publisher of hyper-casual mobile games with offices in Bangalore, Beijing, and Portugal. Even though it started as a hyper-casual mobile games company, Kwalee isn’t shy about its shift from hyper-casual to hybrid-casual and even its expansion to other platforms like consoles and PC. Although they recently passed the one billion downloads mark thanks to the genre, they don’t seem hesitant to abandon it if that’s “players” demand

Looks can be deceiving, so we have asked the questions in our minds to one of the key figures in Kwalee, Harry Lang, the Vice President of Marketing, and he provided answers. We thank him for that and leave you with Mobidictum’s interview with him. 

Mobidictum: Most reports and industry leaders claim the hyper-casual genre is on its last legs. Is hyper-casual really dying?

As Mobidictum’s readers will likely be aware, the Hyper Casual genre of mobile games became popular in recent years due to its simplicity, intuitive gameplay, and the ease with which you could create and distribute these games. Many developers and publishers entered this space with gusto, including Kwalee. This has resulted in a highly competitive market.

It’s true that we believe, along with other industry leaders, that Hyper Casual monetisation has become challenging. There are many reasons for this, including the saturation of the market and the high levels of incredibly astute games creators, studios and publishers in competition, which makes it challenging for new games to stand out and generate revenue. Moreover, changes in the advertising landscape and stricter regulations on data privacy have also made it more difficult to monetise Hyper Casual games through ads.

While it may be challenging for Hyper Casual games to generate the same levels of historic revenue and stand out in the highly competitive market, it’s too early to say that the genre is dying. The industry is always evolving, and new opportunities and trends will certainly emerge in the future. This is the reason we’re still open to publishing high-performing Hyper Casual games, while equally investing heavily in our Hybrid Casual in-house development and publishing capabilities.

Mobidictum: You have amassed 200 million downloads in 2022 and have won the Publisher of the Year award at TIGA 2022 Game Industry awards. What is the plan for 2023? Will the dark clouds surrounding the hyper-casual genre affect your forecast?

Looking ahead to 2023, we’re excited to expand our portfolio with a variety of games, including hyper, hybrid, casual, and PC and Console games too.

Ultimately, as a B2C entertainment business, we listen to what players want and deliver the best games experience for the devices, formats, and platforms they favor at any given time. We’re an independent and dynamic business that’s an early adopter of trends, and we listen to our players and developer partners constantly. Our flexibility to pivot with the times is a wonderful asset.

We’re about to release two new casual games, and just this week, we released a new Hyper Casual game, “Monster City Merge”, with great quality production values and early signals that there’s still life in Hyper Casual!

Mobidictum: You expanded your portfolio to PC and console in 2021. Can you tell us more about your publishing strategy for those mediums?

I should clarify from the beginning that the development and publishing cycle for PC and Console games is very different from that of mobile games, and of course, the games take much longer to develop, so our plans have been in the works for a long time now. In 2023, we’re looking forward to releasing at least four new PC and console games, starting with Die by the Blade, Wildmender, Robobeat, and Space Chef. We’ve built an extremely capable PC and Console team led by Ben Forrester, with experts in Production, Scouting, and my own Marketing team, which includes Community & Social, Creative Design, Influencer & Media, and Product Marketing. They’re all really excited about our current launch plans and focused on delivering the most fun games for the world’s players.

In addition to these releases, we’re partnering with other developers and actively scouting new games. It’s a pretty exciting time to be at Kwalee, so if any of your readers are looking for an upgrade, I’d encourage them to look at our open roles on our careers portal.

Mobidictum: After Kwalee achieved one billion installs, David Darling said, “We’ve always believed in the potential of mobile games as a medium to connect people from all walks of life. I’m incredibly proud of our team and their work to get us to this point, and I’m excited to still be playing Kwalee games when we hit 2 billion installs.” does Kwalee have a target date to achieve the “2 billion” Installs?

The short answer is ‘as soon as possible’! I’m excited about aiming for five billion, then ten. Our mission is to make the most fun games for the world’s players and in this industry, the sky’s the limit. We’re all enjoying the journey and it’s up to us how far we can go.

Mobidictum: Can you tell a bit more about your Game Jams in 2023?

Well, we’re excited to provide numerous opportunities for developers to submit mobile games this year. While we always welcome game prototypes through our Publishing Portal, we’re particularly interested in structured Jams for Hybrid Casual games with high potential. We’re also planning to host more pitching events and attend industry gatherings to meet and connect with developers. And for sure, we’ll be releasing more information soon.

In addition, we’re focused on developing coaching content and case studies to share our methodologies and stories with other developers. We believe that collaboration and knowledge-sharing are essential to the growth of the industry, so we encourage developers seeking a publishing partner to get in touch with us.

We’re passionate about making the most fun games and eager to foster relationships with other game enthusiasts. As such, we’re working hard to provide as many opportunities as possible for developers to connect with us, collaborate with us and profit through us.

Harry Lang, Vice President of Marketing, Kwalee

Harry is the VP of Marketing at Kwalee Ltd, UK’s leading games publisher and developer.

He started his career in integrated marketing agencies before spending 17 years marketing in online and mobile gambling.

In 2020 he wrote and published a book ‘Brands, Bandwagons & Bullshit’ as a guide for young marketers trying to break into the marketing industry. Harry joined Kwalee as VP in 2022, overseeing the marketing function for mobile games, PC and Console games, and the Kwalee brand.

NEXT: Founder Stories: From word game to acquiring 30 million dollar investment

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