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2022: The Year of Mobile Gaming

May 3, 2022
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The past few years have been a whirlwind for the world at large, and the games industry has been no exception. Last year was notably exciting for mobile game developers, with Epic taking on Apple in a very public legal conversation about allowing monetization opportunities for mobile games.  So, what's in store for 2022? First, let's do a quick recap of 2021. Intro cinematic: Epic vs. Apple
The journey began in August 2020, with Apple's removal of Fortnite from the App Store, citing a violation of Apple's In-App Payment Policy. Epic sued Apple, Apple countersued Epic, and the rest of us got our popcorn out. The case progressed quickly, with a trial in May 2021. Epic's argument focused on Apple's iOS business practices as anticompetitive, noting a monopolistic approach to mobile's most dominant ecosystem. They also similarly sued Google, though that prompted less visible media coverage. In September 2021, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers sided with Apple on nine out of ten counts, agreeing with Epic that Apple's anti-steering policies violated California's Unfair Competition Law. She essentially prohibited Apple from continuing with its anti-steering rules, with an effective date of December 8, 2021. Those rules previously forbade developers from linking to external websites where players could purchase virtual currency or items without a 15%-30% share of revenue going to Apple.  While the ramifications of the game-changing decision in the Apple vs. Epic Games lawsuit are still unfolding, one thing is for sure. How mobile games handle payments in the future will be different than how it has been. And we think it will be for the better for developers worldwide. Chris Hewish, Xsolla President, gave his thoughts on how developers of all sizes can capitalize on the subsequent Epic Games v. Apple ruling on a recent Deconstructor of Fun games industry podcast. And Epic has since appealed the ruling as a whole. Epic cutscene: Xsolla Web Shop for Mobile Games
No matter the year, as a mobile game developer, you're always looking for ways to grow your audience and, ultimately, your player base. One of the best ways to do this is to expand to multiple regions worldwide and allow your players to pay with payment methods they find familiar and are comfortable using. Web Shop for Mobile Games can help you accomplish those goals. Essentially, it allows you to do everything the app stores do and more, for only 5%.  You can easily create a custom online store on your site to sell in-game goods and subscriptions. You’ll save on transaction fees and be able to accept 700+ trusted payment methods in 250+ regions, including emerging markets like SEA, LATAM, and MENA. You'll also have direct UX control and connect directly to your end users via social and email campaigns to drive traffic to your Web Shop. Upcoming expansion: Mobile gaming in 2022 
No one can predict the future accurately. But we can look at past information and make educated guesses. Here’s where we see the market trends going for this year.  DEMOCRATIZATION OF THE APP ECONOMY. Thanks to Epic setting the gears in motion, the app store ecosystem is changing, and we think it’s a boon for mobile developers of every size and everywhere. Solutions like ours, Web Shop for Mobile Games, aim to give more control over revenue to the very people that are making the games: the devs.  The only way to stave off the inevitable web-based transactions as the new norm for mobile games? The app stores have to give their devs a compelling reason to stay on their platforms with their monetization efforts. But will they? INCREASED BRAND PRESENCE. Much of the success of any game can be attributed largely to its loyal community. Mobile developers will need to employ more than just their app store page to connect with their player base, new or existing, from something fundamental such as a website to influencer marketing campaigns. Having an online web shop will be more important to establish and gather a community of active users around it. NON-GAMING COMPANIES ENTERING THE GAMING INDUSTRY. Newzoo estimates that mobile gaming revenue grew by 7% from 2020 to 2021, which will likely continue to grow. Smartphones aren’t going anywhere, after all! That fact, coupled with the new changes to developer fees, should entice more and more companies to enter the gaming space, as Netflix and Amazon have done, and even others like Nike with Roblox Nikeland. PLAY-TO-EARN ENTERS THE PLAYING FIELD. Play-to-earn games encourage players to pay for at least one NFT, a tool that typically gives an advantage in-game, to start earning crypto. Since app stores are vertically integrated into the businesses of their parent companies, it's unlikely companies like Apple and Google will like the decentralized approach to revenue that these games employ. But that won’t stop developers from trying. THE METAVERSE. What is it exactly? Loosely, everyone can access and interact in a singular VR world, combining everything from commerce to entertainment. It pairs well with gaming since there are many similarities. From interactive in-game experiences like concerts to (even more) instant social connection, the concept of a metaverse sounds like it could be great. But until the idea and the product offerings solidify, it’s still an unknown variable. If you'd like to know more about Web Shop for Mobile Games, download our free, informational ebook and follow the simple integration steps to begin. If you would like any additional information, reach out to an expert from our team and let us know how we can help you. Here’s to making 2022 the best year yet!
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