Over the last 15 years, mobile gaming has become a growth engine, driving huge gains in audience and revenue. At GamesBeat Summit 2023, leaders from Activision, Playtika and Jam City joined forces to talk about how — and why — the landscape continues to evolve. The rise of triple-A titles on mobile, new marketing challenges as data privacy laws change, and increasingly high consumer expectations are forces to be reckoned with — how can mobile developers prepare now to future-proof their strategy for the next decade?

Here are some of the highlights of the discussion — for more, don’t miss the full panel here.

Player acquisition costs are rising

Privacy initiatives have changed in the app stores, and user acquisition has felt the impact. Developers need to consider new approaches and new ways to capture player attention. How do you grow demand and interest, and convince people your game is worth getting excited about?

It requires a lot of organic energy and momentum right out of the gate, but that’s expensive, said Chris Plummer, Activision’s Senior Vice President and Co-Head of Mobile.

“That also increases the friction for new entrants, with what it takes to actually unseat these very deeply entrenched leaders in our space,” he added. “So if you’re entering the space, not only do you have to change your marketing mix, but you also have to have a better game with some innovation that’s going to draw their attention.”

Jam City’s Lisa Anderson, EVP, Studio Operations, noted that UA spends on the app platforms don’t go nearly as far as they used to. To stretch those dollars, she said it’s crucial to understand how to leverage SKAN, to start, but they’ve invested in a lot of proprietary platforms and tooling to boost that work, offer forecasting and modeling, to help stabilize a little bit of a downturn in the last couple of years she explained.

At Playtika, they’re leveraging AI and probabilistic models to help understand and address the market, said the company’s COO, Shlomi Aizenberg. They’re also investing in their ...