"We opened an office in Serbia in the spring, increasing our presence to 20 countries," Dmitry Bobrov on the main thing for 2022

We summed up the results of the year together with Dmitry Bobrov, CEO of ZiMAD Studio. He spoke about the company’s releases, a noticeable drop in revenue per user and the tightening of platform policies.

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

The year was not easy for the entire industry, not only for companies that were at least partially monetized and operated in the CIS. As an achievement, we can note that we are passing this difficult period with dignity, without any noticeable operational costs and losses on the team, our main value.

The geography of our employees has significantly expanded: in the spring we opened an office in Serbia.

At the moment, we cover about 20 countries. We are perfectly ready organizationally and infrastructurally to work with a team distributed around the world, which was confirmed in the previous couple of years, accompanied by lockdowns, relocations and mass abandonment of offices.

We continued to increase our expertise in various aspects of working with games, strengthened marketing, and became noticeably more active in the M&A field. We continued internal reorganization and optimization of the team, various business processes in order to accelerate hypothesis testing, improve the quality of the final product, speed of delivery to the market, and improve the quality of user support.

The main event of the year for us is, of course, the release of Jigsaw Puzzle Villa, our new flagship and a new word in the genre. The game was extremely warmly received by players, both new and long-term fans of the classic Magic Jigsaw Puzzles, which is confirmed by high ratings in stores (on average 4.8 and higher) We have tried to keep the best of the original product in the new game, supplementing and strengthening it with a narrative, colorful visual, a lot of new and unique game mechanics for the genre.

The development of other active products continued, the casual portfolio was supplemented by a new coloring bookMagic Diamond Painting.

Our honored, already 11-year veteran, Magic Jigsaw Puzzles, gave players new features unique to the genre, a variety of activities in the game and in the community throughout the year, within its framework, work continued on free unique branded content, including with Disney.

How has the situation changed for the company in the gaming market? What new challenges from the point of view of platforms, marketing and competition did it face?

Firstly, it is worth noting that due to the difficulties in the global economy, for the first time in many years, a drop in revenue in the mobile games segment was recorded. Many experts predict a slight drop next year. Despite the continued overall growth of the advertising market, we still see a fairly noticeable drop in revenue per user in some places.

They continue to leave their mark on work, primarily on its speed, as well as on the predictability and manageability of business, various restrictions, tightening of rules and laws at the level of individual services, platforms, state and international regulation.

Of course, every year the struggle for each individual user intensifies, the market continues to become more and more mature, new players can hardly take a place in the sun. As a rule, this happens only with the help of a partnership with a major player, or by pouring large funds from outside in the absence of a guarantee of good returns.

At the same time, many (including the largest and most successful) studios and publishers are experiencing a wave of business cuts and optimizations, which frees up a large number of highly qualified specialists who are ready to take on the most complex and rather specific tasks. This opens up some opportunity for medium and small teams to get the missing expertise and make good progress in their target areas, to compete with more eminent competitors.

Is it possible to talk about a change in user behavior? Or about their new interests, features that you have noticed?

I would not say that it is possible to track any distinct changes in the patterns of user behavior in just one past year. At the same time, all this is quite specific for different genres, platforms, demographics.

But it is safe to say that users are becoming more discerning and sophisticated every year. Reports from analytical companies show a gradual increase in the price per installation simultaneously with a drop in long-term retention metrics on average across genres.

Every year it becomes more and more important to understand your core audience, its needs and expectations, segmentation of players and providing each group with a customized gaming experience, opportunities to realize everyone’s motivations.

What was the year like for the genres in which you work?

There was a revival in the genre of classic puzzles this year: new strong products appeared, although the niche seemed to have been formed for a long time. Their strength is primarily in lightness, simplicity and focus on content.

Jigsaw Puzzle Villa and I are going the other way, the project, on the contrary, is much more complicated and deeper, has no direct analogues. According to the first results, the risk was fully justified.

Generally speaking, the hardening policies of platforms and advertising networks complicate monetization, fewer and fewer new games get into the tops of the stores. There are fewer weak projects, but also fewer new, bold and out-of-the-box ideas. Large hyper-casual publishers, who had not previously competed with us, began to look beyond their expertise, move to casual genres with more complex meta (merge, idlers, puzzles, cards, board games, etc.), even look at midcore.

What are the company’s plans for next year?

We are working on several new titles at once, both casual and in new directions and genres for us. We can expect releases in the first half of next year when projects achieve target metrics during softlonches.

No less efforts will be directed to the development of a part of the existing portfolio, the potential of which is far from being exhausted. Even the veteran, Magic Jigsaw Puzzles, is waiting for big changes, including we are preparing new global partnerships for our players and free unique branded content that has not been seen before in any game of the genre.

Of course, we will build on the first success of Jigsaw Puzzle Villa.

For our many Domino fans, in the coming months we are preparing the most extensive updates since the release of the game on the market, a large amount of new content.

In addition, we will continue to actively work on M&A, continue to explore and try our hand in new directions outside the mobile market and the main platforms, in particular, we are talking about VR.

Every year we organize quite a large number of charity events in which our employees and players take a direct part, for which we are very grateful to them, because it is thanks to them that all this becomes possible. Next year will be no exception.

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