Predictions for 2024 from video game industry professionals

We have compiled the evaluations of game industry professionals for 2023 and their predictions for 2024.

2023 has been a rough year for the industry, stained by mass lay-offs and shutdowns. But as the industry still struggles to shake off the effects of the pandemic, some positive developments also took place. 

It’s been a year that mid-tier, AA and indie games conquered the stage. Multiple non-AAA games made breakthroughs, shaking the blockbuster studios, making a name for themselves, and giving a message in the meantime: The industry is still alive and kicking hard! There are creative, persistent, and compassionate people out there who are still pushing hard to see their passions come to life and enjoyed by millions.

The mobile game arena wasn’t much different. It was busy, competitive, and ready to eliminate the ones that were not fit to survive. Long-time chart leaders struggled to maintain their status or were brought down by tenacious newcomers determined to get a foothold. 

So, what do industry professionals think about 2023, what do they anticipate the scene will look like in 2024? We asked them for their thoughts and are sharing them with you!

Christian Lövstedt, General Manager, Midjiwan

Entering 2024, I’d like to see the games industry – mobile games especially – begin to adopt monetization models that are more fair for players. There are too many games on the market that interrupt gameplay with ads or push players into spending, from pop-up ad formats to very aggressive microtransactions that affect the quality of life and sometimes introduce pay-to-win elements into the game.

Christian Moss, Co-founder and Head of Gaming R&D, ZBD

In 2024, iOS will continue to clamp down on ad networks fingerprinting the user, which will lower ad revenue for developers. However, incoming EU legislation will force Apple and Google to allow developers to use alternative payment methods, and I expect to see more developers compensating for lower ad revenues with new payment infrastructures.

Ivan Trancik, Founder and CEO, SuperScale

A business model we call ‘IP expansion’ is something we expect to see more of in 2024. With the difficulties of launching new games, breathing new life into older titles or ‘Legacy Games’ to maximize revenue is a must. Once operations are optimized and legacy titles are making more revenue again, IP expansion can take the existing games to new platforms and territories – or even logically lead to the creation of new titles within the IP.

A good example of this process is Pocket Trucks – a title developed by SuperScale using the “Pocket” IP of our partner, NimbleBit, which includes titles like Pocket Trains and Pocket Planes, which already in soft-launch managed to add additional 50% revenue into the portfolio. IP expansion followed the successful improvement in the performance of Pocket Planes and Tiny Tower under SuperScale’s Game Management partnership.

Jonas Martins, Director, Video Gaming & Media, Worldline

In terms of upcoming trends I see poised to reshape the industry in 2024, the EU Digital Markets Act (DMA), expected to be enforced as early as March of this year, is set to positively disrupt the payments landscape. This act will allow third-party payment providers to enter the digital app domain. We’re expecting this to be a game-changer, significantly increasing potential video game revenue for companies of all sizes, across all platforms as well as providing developers with more control in payment design and better customer experiences and engagement.

2023 saw the expansion of games incorporating cryptocurrencies and/or blockchain technology (e.g., CCP Games being bullish on blockchain technology, joining major game makers like Ubisoft and Square Enix in announcing their work on a AAA web3 title set in the Eve Online universe). I see this trend continuing to grow, making significant progress in 2024 with more AAA developers integrating web3 technologies into their existing portfolio as well as new titles – giving gamers more options to earn, protect, and share their gaming content and experiences.

With AI technologies growing smarter and more sophisticated by the day, the space is poised to provide even more tools for game developers of all levels to utilize. This will be especially prominent this year in the fields of dynamic and personalized storytelling, expansive open world-building, and even ‘smarter’ NPCs will become extremely popular, and its use in larger titles will be more apparent. 

Gaming experiences will also be enhanced further this year through subscriptions providing accessible and comprehensive offerings, as well as Cross-platform gaming, which is set to surge, empowering gamers to seamlessly choose their preferred platforms and fostering a more inclusive gaming community.

Julia Scurtul, Account Manager, Gamelight

Today, AI is not only transforming how players discover games but also creating personalized experiences that foster enthusiastic communities. But AI targeting, powered by machine learning, also enables UA managers to discover new audiences beyond their targeted age and gender groups. User Acquisition will undergo a transformative phase, propelled by AI’s capabilities, allowing faster and less expensive launches, more simplified campaign set-up, less time for campaign management, less manual targeting or optimization, more focus on strategic vision by UA, higher short and long term KPIs, a better chance for games to succeed.

Omer Kaplan, SVP Revenue & Operations, Unity Grow

In 2024, developers from all genres will maximize their growth strategy: hyper-casual developers will deepen the gameplay to enable more investment in IAP monetization and a more lucrative variety of ad units, while mid and hardcore developers will branch out to rewarded video and offerwall in order to monetize their non-paying users.

Technology will continue to be used for increased efficiency and profitability. More ad networks will move to bidding only, and subsequently, more games will follow suit. Developers will spend more time on a smaller number of games, using tech to screen for game marketability, helping focus efforts on games with higher potential.

On the creatives side, we’ll see a data-centric approach to ad quality, enabling a better balance of performance with churn in order to optimize the ad experience.

Pasqual Batalla, Chief Operations Officer (COO), Sandsoft Games

In 2024, the game industry is anticipated to experience moderate growth, with a particular focus on higher growth in emerging markets due to advancements in technology, such as devices and network speeds, as well as an influx of new players. 

Capital restrictions are expected to persist throughout the first half of the year, creating pressure for startups and companies seeking new financial rounds while industry consolidation by major corporations continues. As AI becomes increasingly integrated as a tool to support development and marketing teams in game creation, talent will remain a critical resource for building top teams capable of delivering exceptional gaming experiences. 

Significant changes in regulation and the relationship between mobile gaming and its platforms are on the horizon. For companies seeking lasting success and future growth, the key lies in balancing new game development with the nurturing of legacy games through data analytics, LiveOps, monetization, and marketing.

Roman Garbar, Marketing Director, Tenjin

The mobile landscape in 2024 is shaping up to be a challenging arena, especially for smaller developers. They’re facing heightened risks as the publishing business becomes increasingly complex, with new challenges such as SKAN, CMP, and ATT, creating a labyrinth of acronyms and hurdles, particularly for newcomers. This complexity might prompt many to switch gears, moving towards alternative platforms like Steam or the Web.

However, for those who remain in mobile, having the right tools is crucial. They need access to the same capabilities as big publishers but without the hefty cost. There are likely to be many success stories in self-publishing. The winners will be those who harness AI and data science and who come up with clever new ways to attract users and make money, especially in up-and-coming markets.

Tom Wijman, Lead Analyst, Newzoo

After a modest recovery in 2023 following the industry’s first decline in over a decade, 2024 promises a robust rebound. The driving force? The ever-expanding user base of the Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 generation. Despite a seemingly lackluster release schedule, live service games and back catalog sales will drive growth in the segment. After two consecutive years of decline, we will also monitor a potential upswing in the mobile gaming sector. 

Against challenging market conditions and privacy regulations, the mobile gaming segment declined in 2023. Game companies adapt by evolving existing games instead of launching new games—a shift driven by rising user acquisition (UA) costs and market saturation. Instead, they are exploring the strategy of launching mobile games on PC to enhance retention and engagement, aligning with the evolving preferences of core players. The goal is to be available whenever players want to dive into the gaming experience.

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