"Chinese developers are confidently entering the market of small casual games," Victoria Belyaeva from AppQuantum about the main thing for 2022

We summed up the results of the year together with Victoria Belyaeva, head of the Business development and PR department of AppQuantum. She spoke about the success of the publisher, the growth of the quality of Chinese idlers and the hybridization of genres.

Tell us what the year was like for you personally, where are you now, were there any things that you finally managed to realize and are proud of?

I probably won’t surprise anyone by saying that it was a very difficult year. I am in Armenia myself, in Yerevan, but I don’t know yet if I will stay here forever. I’m thinking of traveling to different countries.

As for personal achievements, for me this year was more about trying to keep and preserve what I have — connections, friends, a healthy psyche.

What was the year like for the company? What have you done, implemented, and what would you like to highlight in terms of achievements in general?

And for AppQuantum, the year was also difficult, but at the same time eventful and full of achievements. We have started investing in promising studios: we have already concluded three deals and two more are currently in the process of signing. As soon as we get the first results of joint work, we will definitely share the cases.

Our flagship project Gold & Goblins has been confidently in the top of gross revenue worldwide and in the US in the Idle Tycoon category all year. We have held our own online game festival PublishMe! Festival, the broadcast of which was watched by about 1,500 people — we think it’s great for the first event.

The company has carried out a lot of internal reorganizations in response to changes in the market and in the world. For example, we switched to full remote, now our employees work from all over the world. We are also opening an office in Armenia and relocating people there as well.

However, I believe that our most important achievement for the year is that we were able to keep the team and continue to move towards the goal no matter what. Of course, not everything was smooth. This year has highlighted a lot of problematic points, and we still have a lot to improve and do, but we will definitely cope. After this year, I am sure that we will be able to do everything.

From your point of view, what has changed in the gaming market in terms of production and distribution (in general, publishing) over the year?

The trend of recent years continues to increase competition for the user, who is becoming more picky and selective and, accordingly, more and more expensive to attract.

If a few years ago it was possible to make a good project in terms of game design and art in the current genre and, at least, recoup the team costs from it, now the situation is more complicated, since users want something new, and the cost of attracting players is growing.

We see that hybrid projects that mix mechanics of different genres arouse more interest among players. It turns out that studios first need to invest in finding new and interesting gameplay, and then spend money on marketing, and if this amount was impressive before, now it has grown even more.

In addition, we see that Chinese developers are confidently entering the market of small casual games. Previously, Chinese idle taikuns could be easily calculated by clumsy graphics and poor gameplay, but now they are made no worse, and sometimes better than Western ones.

As for the publishing house, there are also difficulties here. As I have already said, the tastes of the audience are changing, they need something fresh and interesting, and not all developers can afford to release risky projects to the market. So the competition between publishers for such players is very high. This leads, for example, to the fact that we started signing projects at earlier stages.

In general, we see that the market is consolidating, more and more publishers are moving towards investments and studio purchases, and studios are more willing to make such deals.

Has the practice of working with developers changed, perhaps the developers themselves, their requirements, desires, and the level of proposed projects have somehow changed?

There is a feeling that it has become much more difficult for everyone everywhere. Covid got used to the good, and then it started: in 2021 — IDFA, in 2022 — military operations and inflation.

The CIS teams had the hardest time – it became more difficult for them to find partners and investments. Now all companies are thinking about how to optimize their expenses, and if they have the opportunity to invest, they try to find the least risky projects. Those developers who were able to keep their company have become tougher than they were. It has become easier to abandon unpromising projects, it is easier to part with part of the staff if the financial situation of the company requires it.

The life of developers from other regions has not changed so much, but we see that they are also affected by the general situation on the market. Many are trying to find a partner to share the development costs with him or just feel more relaxed.

The level of proposed projects has not changed much. There have always been very experienced and strong teams with cool projects, as well as novice guys who still have a lot to learn. But it is the professionalism and savvy of developers that is growing in terms of understanding what they need from a publisher. It’s very nice, it’s always easier to communicate and negotiate with such teams.

Speaking about the games that game teams are developing today, are there any trends in the areas that they choose and offer?

It’s hard to speak for the whole market here. We are mainly engaged in casual games and a bit of midcore.

We can accurately note the trend, which I have already mentioned, towards hybridization — this is the mixing of elements or whole mechanics from different genres. We also see an increasing number of hybrid casual format projects, extended hyper-cases.

What are the company’s plans for next year?

We had ambitious plans for 2022, but, unfortunately, not all of this was implemented this year, as we had to deal with other, more urgent tasks.

Therefore, in 2023 we want to do everything that did not work out in 2022 and even more from above: to release what is in development, sign even more cool projects, invest in more cool studios.

But besides that, we have another ambitious idea — to make our services the best on the market. We already have excellent marketing and a good production department, now we want to perfect our other services: analytical dashboards, community management, QA, customer support, to establish even greater transparency for our partners.

Plus, we just recently had a big and serious change in the company, we will definitely tell you about it in January.

Have a nice New Year and lots of warmth!

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