Joining us on Christmas Eve for another “2021 in Video Games” episode is Michael Hudson, CEO and Co-Founder of GameBake. Founded in 2019 by mobile games developers Michael Hudson, Rocky Grant and George Abdallah, GameBake is a game distribution platform that provides end-to-end distribution, monetisation and marketing solutions. GameBake works with global platforms such as Huawei’s AppGallery and Samsung’s Galaxy Store.

Michael Hudson, CEO and Co-Founder of GameBake

How did 2021 treat the company? Successes? Failures? Important learnings?

It was a huge year for us! We soft launched the GameBake platform in May and massively built up our developer/publisher and platform partnerships. We have already onboarded almost 50 games and started setting them live in Q4, delivering strong initial performance that will ramp up in 2022. This autumn we also secured funding from Innovate UK.

I wouldn’t say there were failures — let’s call them lessons! We initially soft launched with an SDK and quickly found that developers are tired of integrating dozens of different SDKs. So we quickly retooled to go SDK-less, meaning games can be deployed directly through GameBake. We also learned to expect delays in game launches and to build these into our timelines!

What market development or trend stood out to you in 2021?

The changes to marketing on iOS really ramped up interest from devs in getting their games on alternative Android stores, as well as social and browser HTML5 gaming platforms to make up for revenue drops. Tough for the industry but mostly pretty good for us!

I think going SDK-less is a part of a trend too. We realised endless SDKs have really bugged devs for ages, so tech companies like us really need to take this into account and realise that devs will eventually build their own products if we can’t make ours easy to use.

Finally, due to various policy changes, it became even more difficult to work with the Chinese games industry, which is a shame because there are so many amazing games and platforms out there. It’s unlikely to get easier in the short term.

As a company, what are you going to strategically focus on in 2022?

Hard launching the GameBake platform with more games and more platform partners! That’s what it’s about, helping games deploy in more markets and helping channels secure more great content! It’s a great thing for underserved players too who want more games to enjoy.

We’ll also launch our UA and monetisation offerings for various ecosystems in 2022 which will be available not only to GameBake customers, but to games already deployed on those platforms too, helping them monetise better. We’re really excited about this.

What third-party titles were you personally excited about as a gamer?

Loads of games have done amazingly this year but I honestly don’t get a chance to play as many as I probably should. That being said, I have enjoyed Beatstar from Space Ape as I think they have done very well in bringing that feeling Guitar Hero used to provide back in the day to a mobile audience.

I am dying to finish The Last of Us 2 over the Christmas break and also spend some time on the new Age of Empires as well as finally getting around to completing Gears of War 5. As you can probably tell, even when you work in the industry, playing games rarely gets to be number one priority!