Mobile GameDev Playbook Episode 5: COVID-19’s Mobile Gaming Boom with GameAnalytics

Mobile GameDev Playbook podcast by GameRefinery

Join us for Episode 5 of The Mobile GameDev Playbook as we focus the Coronavirus pandemic, how it has impacted developers and how they’ve adapted their games during the last few difficult months. The podcast also examines how the virus has generally affected the mobile gaming industry. We’re also joined by GameAnalytics who unearth some fascinating insights around insights traffic rates, age-specific genre engagement, in-app spending levels, and more.

Host Jon Jordan is joined by GameRefinery’s VP of Games Joel Julkunen as well as Iona Hreninciuc, CEO of GameAnalytics. GameAnalytics is an analytics tool for games used by indie developers, games studios and publishers around the world, including 100,000 games which are played by more than 1.75 billion people.

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Topics we will cover in this episode:

1. Mobile gaming market movement in the time of COVID-19

2. Player behaviour in the time of COVID-19

3. COVID-19’s impact on game development

4. Changes in player spending

5. How COVID-19 is showing in ad revenue

6. Predictions on how the mobile gaming market will develop in the coming months


John: Hello and welcome to the Mobile GameDev Playbook. Thanks for tuning in for another episode. This is the podcast that provides insights into what makes a great mobile game, what is and is not working for designers, and all the latest trends. 

In fact, today we are going to be discussing how COVID-19 has impacted mobile game developers, how they are adapting their game, as well as how restrictions on public movement have affected mobile gaming behaviour. 

I am your host, John Jordan, and joining me this week as ever is Joel Julkunen from GameRefinery. How is it going, Joel? 

Joel: Hi John, I am great. How are you?

John: Yes, very good. Glad to have you on. Our guest this week is Ioana Hreninciuc, who is the CEO of Games Analytics. How is it going, Ioana?

Ioana: Hi. Very well, thank you. 

Mobile gaming market movement in the time of COVID-19

John: Good. So we have two experts and, in fact, both of your companies have been looking at what has been going on in terms of game developers and player behaviour over the last few months. So we have got lots to dig into. 

Joel, shall we start with you? So GameRefinery has released its COVID-19 observations report. What are the headlines there? What are we seeing? 

Joel: Yes, we did release a report. In that report we mainly focused on how do games adapt to the- or react to the COVID situation? So we kind of went to the feature level, what kind of content, what kind of new features offers any kind of communications from the developers in the games to the players have been happening around the globe?

It was quite interesting to see that almost- let’s say almost all of the top games at least have some sort of reaction to the situation. There was, for example of course, free lives, free gifts given to the players. Some kind of notifications about possible delays on updates. But also lots of new kinds of content released, events relating to COVID, or normal events being prolonged. So there is more content for the players to play.

“Free lives, free gifts given to the players, notifications about possible delays on updates, lots of new kinds of content released, events relating to COVID, or normal events being prolonged. Almost all of the top games reacted to Covid in some way”

That is of course natural, because as we all have read from the media, people are now playing more than ever. Of course, they are stuck in their homes. And therefore they need more content. So it has been really, really crucial for the developers to react to the situation. 

John: It has been interesting, because it has been I think kind of a range of different things from the- I mean, one of the early things was kind of public health information, wasn’t it? That people were kind of putting almost like adverts in their games to kind of encourage public health behaviours. I think Zynga linked up a lot of people in the World Health Organisation to kind of promote that, and that was a really positive thing. 

Then there’s the kind of I guess more operational stuff, like what can you do in a game? I guess that what is interesting is, there has been a kind of short-term response, and then there is thinking about what is the new normal and how that kind of plays into it, which is I guess something we will discuss as time goes on. 

Ioana, what have you seen from that level? 

Ioana: We look at- compared to GameRefinery who just look at what is happening in the games, we look more at the overall industry and metrics. So what we saw was obviously a massive increase in playtime. We discussed this. It was about 60% overall total time played, which was extremely impressive. 

We are already one of the largest networks for analytics for mobile games, so this growth in traffic was just massive. 

The other thing that was very interesting was that people seem to respond to the announcements more than anything. So as soon as some news would go out that this country’s going on lockdown, you would see impacts in other regions that maybe were now going on lockdown. So you really saw this ripple through the gaming economy with people adapting very quickly to news that they heard. 

“We saw this ripple through the gaming economy [when announcements were made regarding lockdown] with people adapting very quickly to news that they heard”

So it had a big impact on many metrics. Most importantly, I think, playtime. But also we saw changes in retention. And now that some time has passed, these are clearer than ever because these have had time to settle, and we can tell that they are a real trend, and not just a short-term fluke, let’s say. 

John: It seems like one of the interesting things is you have this kind of global, you know, there is so much data you are looking at all the time. And as you say, you can kind of see the ripple effects, obviously different kinds of governments in different countries make decisions. And then you almost get real time, or you do get real time data. But obviously people react in a fairly quick kind of response time. 

So you see that initial reaction that the gamers have to what they are being told by their governments. 

Ioana: Yes. So we saw in January a big change in Asia in general. Then February when the Italy lockdown was announced, the behaviour of the whole of Europe started to change. And then it kind of solidified the change in March when everybody did actually go on lockdown. 

Then the West started off a bit later, trailed a bit behind Europe, but then we started to see changes there as well. So it really kind of spread from East to West, this change that we saw. And there was a massive impact, and we are pretty sure that the information we see is accurate, because we passed two billion players that we track on the platform. So it is truly an ability to see change on a global scale. 

Player behaviour in the time of COVID-19

John: I guess kind of coming back to some assumptions about mobile gaming, I do not think it is true, but often mobile gaming has been seen as this kind of snacking behaviour. I think it is true to some degree, but it…

Do we think what we are seeing now has kind of changed- needs to change that view of mobile being a slightly ephemeral something people do on the bus, obviously, or the train commuting? Obviously people are not commuting now, but we have seen this massive increase in time spent in games. 

Do we think one of the interesting outcomes might be that as an industry, we have to reconsider some of our preconceptions about what our mobile games are used for? 

Ioana: I think what will be interesting to see is how many people stick with this change. Obviously, as the possibilities for entertainment reduced, people had more time to spend in games. We did see, I think some of the games that were most positively affected were adventure games, so games that do have content and are somewhat a bit more in-depth, kind of like Joel mentioned. 

But there was a change across the board. Even very simple games were played more. And I think this is a good opportunity for game developers to get these gamers with them on a journey, on a longer term journey with this new content they are creating. 

“This is a good opportunity for game developers to get these gamers with them on a journey, on a longer term journey, with this new content they are creating”

John: Joel, what do you think about that, from the kind of game design point of view? Obviously it takes time to build games and new features, and that sort of stuff, so maybe it’s one more for the future. Do you think there will be an impact? 

Joel: Yes, definitely. Of course, this is a big shock to any industry on a global scale. And mobile games are not an exception. Just like Ioana pointed out, another change is coming. And I think now that players have more time on their hands, they are engaging more with the games. 

I am not talking only about the hard core gamers who were playing a lot before this all happened. So this will definitely change the way developers need to see the audience, and also I am pretty sure that this COVID-19 has introduced mobile gaming in general to a broader audience.

“COVID-19 has introduced mobile gaming in general to a broader audience”

So definitely now that there are more players, they are grinding the content more. There is also a kind of need for more content. I think what is quite interesting, when we monitored many- of course, monitored hundreds of games, and then we- when everything started, we started to see this kind of announcement, like really light content. More like communication from developers to players that, “Okay, please wash your hands. Stay safe. Stay apart.”

Then, when the first games started to introduce additional content or free gifts or COVID themed decorative items, whatever, it kind of had cause and effect. Then other competitor games had to do the same. 

So we started to see that more and more games were kind of bringing more and more content. Not only kind of light, give some free boosters or something, but actually prolonging events or even coming up with more game play events in order to keep up with the competition. And in order to compete for those additional hours with mobile gaming with the other games. 

COVID-19’s impact on game development

John: Do you think to some degree some of the impacts we have seen early on have kind of highlighted the- I guess have been a bit of an advantage to the larger teams who potentially can throw more resources at things. I guess the kind of prime example was what happened with all the kind of location-based games. I think Pokemon GO was the first one. 

But obviously Pokemon GO is, the game play is not totally based around location. But obviously a large proportion of that has been people wandering around collecting Pokemons. The point of it is you have to travel, and that has been the success of the game. 

Clearly, when people cannot travel, that is a big problem for the game play. And it seems, I do not know how much of that kind of stuff was already in the works, but Niantic, the developer behind Pokemon GO, seemed to move very, very quickly to bringing in new feature sets that allow people to still collect Pokemons within their house, or within a much smaller kind of locality than they had previous enabled. 

Joel: Yes, exactly. Niantic did it with Harry Potter and Pokemon GO, and then of course, Ludia with Jurassic World Alive. Like you said, many of these location-based games, they are all about being able to go outside with your friends and catch Pokemons or dinosaurs, or whatever. 

And now that of course in many countries this became impossible, what they did almost all of the top titles did, they reduced the need to go outside. 

So you can sit inside and the radius that you, for example, encounter new Pokemons or or any kind of similar mechanic is kind of increased. So yes, that kind of basic mechanic, game mechanic-wise adjustment needed to be made. 

John: Yes. And I guess they cannot reverse that now. When we- assuming people over the next whatever months or years will be able to wander back around. In some ways, they are forced to have that design change, which may or may not be something they were going to plan. But equally that has potentially quite radically changed the kind of arc of how they wanted to run their game. 

Ioana, in terms of what you are seeing, you have mentioned a bit about adventure games or maybe that kind of deeper content maybe having a bit more of an uplift. But, from a very outsider’s point of view, I have not really got any clear kind of ideas about what genres have kind of been- have attracted more of an audience. 

I mean, I guess there have been a few of the bigger games that we have seen, and I guess in the US, Words With Friends, which is obviously a big kind of social game where you are playing with your friends and family seems to have done quite well out of it. I guess things like Roblox and Minecraft you can throw a lot of time into those and they are popular. 

Are there any other kind of games or genres that you think have done particularly well? 

Ioana: I think one thing that has changed is that- so with hyper-casual, because we track many hyper-casual games, we consistently saw throughout the past three years the lifecycle of the games getting shorter. I think with some games and developers, it is worth putting more content into the game, as you mentioned. But other companies, or other models, are to just release more games. 

So what we see from these developers is they are just putting out more and more content in the form of new games. 

Traffic is cheaper now, so CPIs are lower, ECPMs are also lower, but it is a good time to test prototypes. And we see games sit at the number one- you know, it used to be that a game would be there for two months, and then it became two or three weeks. And now we see games that are there for half a week.

So that cycle has really accelerated in terms of games that go out. Because of that, it is also quite hard to keep up with all of these games. Like, every other day there is almost a new game at number one in the free to play charts. 

But this is the way the hyper-casual developers are adapting, I think, by just putting out more and more games.

John: That seems like a counter intuitive thing, doesn’t it? I do not know, I suppose people have more time, so if you are really into hyper-casual games you have more time, you cannot- as you say, you can only play them for so long until you get bored. 

It does seem, in the long-term, surely there are only so many hyper-casual games that can be made. I do not know, maybe there is not. 

Ioana: What I would say is, we do see both retention day seven and day 28 dropping. So it does seem like people are playing. You know, the time that they would have probably spent before on a game, let’s say for two to three weeks, is now condensed into one week. And then they just switch the game. 

“We do see both retention day seven and day 28 dropping. People are playing, but content they would have taken two to three weeks to consume, is now condensed into one week. And then they just switch the game”

It is possible that many mechanics then would have been multiple games before. Like you would have had a painting mechanic with a puzzle mechanic now just become two different games, where the game is lighter but it gets the job done. And we also see these trends, kind of like we had with woodturning, where there five woodturning games that all came up, all hit the number one. And then there’s parkour games, and then there’s disco games. 

So you know, all of these- each mechanic is exploited to the maximum in terms of making multiple variations when that mechanic is hot, essentially, in the charts. Then it disappears and another one takes its place. So it is a very rapid cycle. 

John: Does anyone have an opinion on whether…

Obviously COVID-19 has forced people to shut down their offices. So I think pretty much everyone in the games industry is working from home now. That seems to have happened kind of fairly seamlessly in the sense that obviously people need computers and the internet. But that is kind of the core of what they need. They do not need to be in an office. 

Have we seen any impact on that, in terms of how quickly stuff can be turned around? Has anyone got any anecdotal views on that? 

Joel: We noticed at least in- I do not know why, but in many Japanese games, we noticed that there was a lot of communication through the players and the developers apologising for content delays because of changed circumstances. So they were really, really kind of transparent about the fact. 

So that is- I think the same, we of course at GameRefinery, we follow updates quite rigorously. And what we noticed when the US started to get the first kind of cases in a larger scale of COVID, the update cycles, at least in some cases, were a bit prolonged. So there was clearly a need, I just think, for the situation to change. 

But other than that, I think it is- at least now gaming companies have adapted and everything goes as usual. 

John: Yes, it does seem to be surprisingly non-impactful, really. I mean, there have been a few games put back a month or so, which you kind of think in the big scheme of things is not a large time to wait. It even seems like on the hardware side, not obviously on mobiles, but on consoles and stuff, that does not seem to be hit yet. I guess we will wait and see. 

Changes in player spending

John: Something else I kind of was interested in, and I do not know, Ioana, I guess with Game Analytics you have kind of got this data to see. 

Do you think there has been an opportunity for people to look and find new games that they maybe would not have had time to do in their busy schedules? Or is this a kind of case where people are a little bit uncertain, people are not sure what is going on, obviously, employment-wise and just general uncertainty. So they are kind of re-engaging with games that they know and are comfortable with?

I guess it is a bit of both, but do you think there is a strong kind of trend one way or the other with that? 

Ioana: I would say…

Because there is this trend of switching between games, it is hard to tell if re-engagement is as big. However, we do see core games generally doing better in this period. Particularly, spending on core games has increased. So like simulation sports strategy games. 

So I think overall, whether people are new or whether they are just re-engaging with a game they love, they are willing to put more of their resources into the game. Both their time and their money.

The other interesting thing is that also casino games, classic games, gambling, all of that is doing very well. Throughout this entire period it has increased significantly in the amount of money spent, possibly because people have no other means of entertainment. But it has been a significant increase.

“Casino games, classic games, gambling, all of that is doing very well. Throughout this entire period it has increased significantly in the amount of money spent, possibly because people have no other means of entertainment.”

So yes, I would say that is probably a genre where people come back, and if they are committed, they are going to spend a lot more than they used to before. Whereas in core games, more typical core games, it can also be new players that spend. And that conversion cycle can be accelerated, because now and again instead of doing the story over a week, they can get- by day two they can start spending. 

John: That is interesting. Good point on the gambling stuff, because I guess there is no- sports gambling would be a big part in the general life of that kind of community. And basically all sports are shut down apart from, I do not know if anyone is now interested in Belarusian football. That seems to be-

Ioana: That’s a very good point, actually. 

John: The only football going. So I guess people who do like a gamble, they are a bit stuck. So that is an interesting point. 

Ioana: Yes, they are coming and spending their gambling money in games, which is fair enough for the game developers. 

John: Yes. I have certainly heard some- I guess they are again apocryphal stories, but Americans getting their, what is it, $1,200 of stimulus cheque and doing- working out what they want to do with it. Obviously there are people who are kind of fairly well off and basically have got free money from the government which seems to be spreading that around in a slightly ridiculous form.  

Something I guess in the long term then, if we have seen spending going up, that I did think was interesting. And I guess it is something we have discussed in the past, particularly Joel. A lot of the revenue from mobile games, particularly on the core side, comes from these high spenders who are spending thousands, tens of thousands of dollars a month to be ranked at the very top, or their alliances to be ranked very highly. 

I do wonder economically, what is our view- these people are obviously very wealthy, probably not from even work, but from just shared wealth. And obviously things like assets, like the stock market and stuff have taken a hit. 

So do we think that this kind of thing could have a kind of impact on this very specific class of players, who are a very small number of players? Probably thousands, tens of thousands around the world. But they do have a very large impact on overall revenues in the free to play kind of model. 

Joel: That is an interesting point. And of course, it is kind of interesting to see, now we are seeing mobile game revenue going up, of course. And the epidemic is…

I do not know if it is contained or if it is going to shoot up with a second wave, or what is going to happen. But of course, if you think about not only mobile games, but anything like consumer spending habits. If the economy is going belly up, like really going to crash, of course that is going to- people are going to focus on the everyday needs like food. And they are going to be minimising other money things. 

That could possibly also affect gaming and IAPs, of course. But then on the other hand, if you think about the whales that you are referring to, that is also of course a possibility. If they see their investments going to the red very highly, of course that could affect the revenue. 

So it is interesting. Whilst I’m looking forward to, let’s say, next Autumn, for example, how the situation evolves globally. And if it is continuously going to go on and on. Let’s see if unemployment kind of skyrockets. And that might have a negative impact in the long run. Even though now the initial reaction has been a kind of positive spike in mobile revenue. But that is something I do not have a clear view of, but there are two sides of the story, I think. 

Ioana: I have some insight to add here. So we saw the growth in different genres happen at different times, which I think is a signal of the fact that the people are spending differently. 

“We have seen the growth in different genres happen at different times, which I think is a signal of the fact that people are spending differently”

So in core games, we saw a slow and steady increase. It started off around March and then continued increasing throughout April, and now it is really high. Whereas, in casino games and gambling, we saw a spike in February and March and then it started going down. 

So it is as if some people just spent their money very quickly, and some people kind of adopted new games and then started spending, and so on. So it may just be a sign that the audiences are different. And what happens for each individual studio may be dependent on the type of game that they have. 

We however have not seen a significant statistical increase in RPPU, so revenue per paying user. Transactions are not generally higher. Most of the transactions are coming either from people spending- more people spending, or from people spending a little more, but not tripling the amounts, if that makes sense. 

John: Yes. That is good. I do wonder whether this is an opportunity for game developers to maybe switch a little bit their design from attracting these very large spenders, and maybe spreading out payments to a wider audience. I do not know, I am not a game designer, but I always kind of thought that would be a sensible thing to do to try and kind of shift the balance a little bit, and have more people spending a little bit more than before. 

I guess the big issue is if 95% of people do not spend anything, so converting some of those to spenders would be probably the main thing. 

So yes, that would be kind of interesting to see. 

We have always thought- gaming in general has always been thought of as a recession proof sort of industry. Because I guess if people in 2008 or something, people were not going out. The argument is people are not going out to restaurants. They are buying ready meals at home, and then they have essentially more money to spend, because they are not doing these kinds of high value things. 

I guess people now are not going on holiday, big holidays anymore, for at least the next year or so. So in a weird way, they actually kind of have often more disposable- they could have less money, but more disposable income in a weird way, because people’s attitudes change on what they want to spend on. 

Ioana, obviously this peaked in China. Have you got any more data about how- obviously China is I guess two months ahead of potentially where we are now. And obviously, it was mainly focused in one area. Does that give us any ideas about what might be happening in the next few months in the rest of the world, in terms of how behaviour has had this big shock, and then potentially gone back to some sort of normality? 

Or maybe it has not, I do not know. Maybe it has not gone back to anything like normality. 

Ioana: That is exactly what we see. It is a case of no news is good news. So January had quite a significant impact, and February somewhat lower. And then things are kind of slowly getting back to normal. Or quickly getting back to normal, actually, if you consider the size of the crisis. You know, things being more or less on track after two months is probably pretty good. 

So that is generally what we have seen. China is no longer an interesting market from that point of view for us to follow. They are kind of just behaving as normal. 

We are now however starting to look more closely at Europe and the US. The issue is that the US did not have quite- you know, we see the US as one place. But the reactions are very different on a state by state basis, and the population of the states is very different. 

So I think they did not have such a unified reaction as Europe did in terms of now we are all going to stay at home. Because I feel that that was much more visible in the European reports where, when news of Italy happened, again we saw the impact on the whole continent. Whereas in the US, it is a bit up and down. 

It will be interesting to see what the news that comes out of there, what the reaction will continue to be. I think that market is still unknown, because the public messages that they are receiving are so mixed and so partisan. It is hard to tell if there is going to be a clear direction that people go in, or if they are more split in gaming as well. 

How COVID-19 is showing in ad revenue

John: I guess actually that is a good point, because more generally on the kind of epidemia, logical side, we are told it is better to look at urban areas. So do not compare Sweden to the UK. Compare kind of Stockholm to London, and I guess New York. So that is a wider point, really. 

I guess to a degree, if that is how the local government is locking down or unlocking, those big urban centres that are potentially more- have a different dynamic to the rural areas, I suppose. 

It is something you did mention a while back, but I think it is worth coming back to. And it is something we do not talk about much in the mobile games industry, which is ad revenues and how- obviously a lot of all the hyper-casual games are all funded by ads. 

For either of you here, how do we think that the ad store is going to play out? Because that is quite a lot of- most studios will get a certain amount of revenue from mobile ads. And that can be quite an important kind of sense of revenue going on in the future if something happened to that. 

I guess we have lost a lot of advertising from travel companies and airlines and auto and all that sort of thing, who essentially were doing big brand advertising. And they are not there anymore. 

Ioana: I would say, we have seen mixed reactions. So actually games that do have a strong foothold in Asia seem to have held up better, because that market is going back to normal. We have seen in our own group of companies, because Game Analytics is owned by Mobvista Group, and they have such a strong presence in Asia. We have seen that the group has generally been stable and that investing in Asia is a really important place. 

So I would say anybody that has seen the ECPMs go down right now from ads, Asia is a really market to look at. Especially China, because they are a tier one country in terms of ECPMs, so you will get the same ECPMs as you do in the US with lower CPIs. It is quite a profitable market. 

However, in other aspects we have seen people be very, very affected. I have heard anecdotally of studios, especially with browser games that were very impacted by advertisers reducing their spend. You know, their revenue is dropping by as much as 40% and they are trying again very quickly to put out new content, put out new titles, explore new markets. 

So I would say, again, depending on the category you are in, you may be more or less affected. 

Generally across the board, there have been- the change has varied between 10% to 30%, I would say, in ECPMs. And it has been comparable in CPIs. But there have been companies where their worth has dropped significantly. And I do think that moving into Asia as fast as possible if you are affected like that is very important. They are recovering faster, there are good economies there, there is volume. So it could be a way to get your cash flow back on track, pretty much. 

John: That is a good point. It does seem like as well, that some- because as you said, you can get- you can attract eyeballs for less money at the moment. So some companies, maybe those that are a bit better funded, have had a slight advantage that they can kind of capture bigger audiences than potentially they would have planned to do. Because there is this kind of hole in the advertising economy at the moment. 

Ioana: This is also quite a good lesson in assuming that things will always stay as they are. You know, like the US will always be the tier one market, and then it will be Europe. And this has been quite a good kind of shock to the system in the sense that people are realising that a global strategy is the only viable strategy now, because you never know what is going to happen in either of these regions. 

“You can de-risk your business, especially in gaming, by being present globally. Even if you pick out only a handful of economies that you focus on in each region, I still think that is a very worthwhile strategy”

So you can de-risk your business, especially in gaming, by being present globally. Even if you pick out only a handful of economies that you focus on in each region, I still think that is a very worthwhile strategy. 

Predictions on how the mobile gaming market will develop in the coming months

John: Okay, it is getting time to wrap up now. So I guess some thoughts about the future. Joel, how do you think this is going to play out over the next few months? Do you think, as you said in your report, that people are just going to- developers are going to be rolling out more events and still being very generous with their rewards? 

At what point do you think developers will start to make some bigger long term changes? Or is that still a bit early? 

Joel: Yes, it is hard to kind of predict the future too far. I would say if- let’s say that if the situation continues as it is, next fall and Autumn, we get a second wave, and we have to – it is a kind of cliché – adjust to the new normal, as they say. Then I think already many of the developers have made the adjustment. As we have been discussing, revenues are going up, there are more players, they are spending more time with the games. And the industry is changing that way. 

So that is what is going to pretty much happen. But then it is interesting to see, if the situation eases, will the current boost for the revenue kind of sustain itself? So basically, if the lockdown has introduced gaming to new audiences. Or if just kind of mobile gaming has benefited in that way in the longer term. Or if everything gets back to normal. Let’s say we get a vaccination next January 2021, everything is kind of normal, what happens to mobile gaming? 

So that is what I am most looking forward to. And as I said, it is really hard to make any prediction, because everything seems to be so kind of hazy at the moment. 

John: Ioana, what do you think? I guess there are these two kinds of counter, contradictory things. Either a big change like this – not particularly COVID-19 in itself – but in general big shocks to industries either accelerate existing trends, or they create new behaviours. Which way do you think it is going to play out? 

Ioana: Well, I think in the industry we are going to see- we have seen this period of very rapid activity, almost frantic. And I think people have not been going on holidays, even, because there has been nowhere to go. So I think over the summer as lockdown starts to ease, we are going to enter a period of calm. And let’s say low productivity. 

People are going to start going on holidays, they are going to be burnt out. We are going to probably see less titles coming out. That is what my expectation is, let’s say, from the second half of June until August. 

Then I think in the winter, based on the virus potentially returning unfortunately, and people- and weather just getting colder, I think we are going to see another spike in traffic right before the holidays as people start to spend more time in the house. And I think we are going to also see a big moment of very rapid releases, let’s say around October/November. 

That usually happens, but I think the spike is going to be higher this year from everybody coming out of hibernation a little bit and getting back to it. 

I also think that unemployment levels and this kind of risk to the economy will force more people into gaming as an industry that is less affected. 

So I am expecting to see a lot of new games, a lot of new people in the industry. And we are going to have to see how productive they manage to be very quickly. Especially from these kinds of middle economies. We have seen the gaming industry talent move eastwards, for instance, to Turkey, Eastern Europe, and now to Pakistan. 

So I think this trend is going to continue with developers coming up from these economies and making globally successful games. 

Yes, I think those would be the trends over the next six to nine months. 

John: Great. Excellent. Thank you both very much for your insight and expertise in today’s show. I think we have packed a lot in there, a lot to consider. So thank you to Joel and Ioana. And thanks, listeners. Thanks for coming on and listening to our podcast for another month. 

If this is your first time, thanks for taking time out with us. Do not forget to subscribe. Every month we are looking into what is going on with mobile games. And it is, even without the current situation, a pretty fluid and dynamic place. So please come back next month and see what we are talking about. 

Thank you very much, and see you next time. 

Did you like the episode? If you haven’t listened our previous one yet, you can find it here: Mobile GameDev Playbook Episode 4: How to Create Chart-Topping Casual Games with PeopleFun

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