"We have crossed the threshold of 30 million installations," Nikita Guk from Hoopsly about the main thing for 2022

We summed up the results of the year together with Nikita Guk, CEO and co-founder of Hoopsly. He spoke about the growth of the company’s installations, changes in the hyper-casual games market and the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult for small developers to anticipate trends.

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

I’m in Dubai now, our company has an HQ here, so I have to be in the region until we close a number of important issues.

To be honest, it is difficult to single out something from what was implemented during the year, all attention was focused on the development of the company – we grew rapidly, the team had to delve deeply into analytics, game design, marketing and direct project management.

I will not downplay it and speak only about the positive — this is the worst year in an extremely long period of time. At first, a pandemic with a couple of years of restrictions and closed borders, and recent events have generally gone beyond the scope. The amount of nerves that was literally wasted, in the future I would like to direct in a productive direction, at least this will give a greater effect.

But I had to unload my head with the help of a camera and travel — I got a little pumped in flying on FPV drones and shooting. This allowed me to switch my attention a little from what was happening in order to remain functional.

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?

Let’s be honest — I don’t remember so many problems at a time. The most important thing is that this year we have strengthened our team, and also helped our employees in every possible way with relocation. It was a really difficult period for everyone, and within the company we even lowered the bar on the expected results.

But it’s nice to realize how cool guys we have gathered together! They are ready to perform cool even in such conditions. What can I say when half of the payments are blocked because of the passport, and you are trying to transfer funds to developers who are sitting without lights? Or when the development team changes the country of residence for the third time in two months?

Another good thing is that we have significantly improved the analytics inside, which has now become our USP, crossed the threshold of 30 million installations, and also concentrated on fine tuning at the stage of concept preparation. This made it possible to significantly increase the conversion rate to releases, and also had a positive effect on the quality of the games themselves and metrics.

We also decided to conduct projects from the process of detailed prescribing of a prototype to micromanagement and assistance to novice studios on all issues — from game design and art to build optimization. This approach is already bearing fruit, so we will continue in this direction, gradually moving to the start of the development of casual projects inside our studio.

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

Competition has grown even stronger in the hyper—casual market – now a situation where a developer can release a project on his knee and soar to the top has no more chances than winning in a casino. Therefore, now more and more often there is a more dense work of studios and publishers. The latter refuse more from those who are focused solely on the number of prototypes produced. Quality is not just important — it has become a key element.

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

So it turns out that now developers can’t just make prototypes for a prototype using the PPP model in the hope of switching to Bern. There is a much tougher selection of studios and priority is given to those who are ready to raise their level.

It should be understood that this year has hit small studios very hard, many also faced relocation, and in the current realities it was extremely difficult even for large companies. What can we say about small teams! This is the first time this has happened in my memory.

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

Small studios do not have access to the extensive market analysis tools that publishers have. Therefore, it is often difficult for them to anticipate trends that are noticeable when working with big data. Now an extremely small number of developers offer projects that are being released — these are the realities of the market.

You need to be flexible and actively monitor trends. For example, the same idlers, various sub-genres of puzzles, io also collect well, but it all depends on the concept, there is high competition. Therefore, developers should actively monitor trends and be ready to make a 180-degree pivot if necessary.

What are the company’s plans for next year?

To increase the pace, refine the analytical system and launch several new directions.

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