The atmosphere in the game industry this year was not very good. Especially for gamers, it was also a year that led to a large-scale truck protest as the anger accumulated over the years exploded. This fire that started in mobile games and spread throughout the game industry went beyond dissatisfaction with probability-type items and led to the fact that gamers did not receive fair service as consumers. From the game industry’s point of view, while resolving this user backlash, there was a move to find a way out in the stiffer market, and there was some income. We have summarized the main news of mobile games in 2021.
1. Truck protests that erupted in Peg-O and spread like wildfir
The truck protest is one of the biggest events that hit the entire domestic game market this year beyond mobile. It started with the Fate/Grand Order, which was well-provoked by the anger that had accumulated over the years following the suspension of the New Year’s event. It is safe to say that the ‘big truck era’ has truly begun. The main agenda items were an increase in the proportion of stochastic items, atrocious probability and billing models, suspicion of probability manipulation, poor operation, and termination of the service without a refund to the extent that it was called ‘eating’.
Among them, the biggest topic was BM, which also induces opaque information disclosure and excessive spending. If we look more deeply, there are game companies’ service quality that does not match the size of the market. Looking at the various meetings held after the truck protests, a large proportion of game companies have not listened to the voices of consumers and expressed their regrets that they have not been treated fairly as consumers for many years.
Although we have mainly provided long-term services rather than single sales for more than 20 years of business, the fact that the service quality is far below the consumer’s level is something that needs to be supplemented. It is said that the time has come to go beyond the game as a product, and to make sure that you are a service provider. In particular, online protests, which used to take place sporadically, became a big trend using trucks as a symbol, and politicians began to pay attention to gamer trends. The game industry as a whole must clearly show that it has changed from before, so that it can provide a clue to restore trust.
2. Shake the monopoly system of Lineage that has been maintained for 4 year
There was a crack in the monopoly system of Lineage, which did not give up the top spot in Google Play sales for four years. In mid-June, a second country drew attention by taking the top spot, and Odin: Valhalla Rising, which was released later , remained at the top for four months immediately after its release . Odin achieved cumulative sales of KRW 100 billion in 19 days after its release, and won 4 awards including the grand prize at the 2021 Game Awards. Although Lineage W, which was released in early November , took the top spot again , the fact that the stronghold that seemed unlikely to collapse from the industry’s point of view had a lot of implications.
The fact that no game monopolizes the top spot in sales for a long period of time can feel hopeful for game companies that are preparing to release new mobile games next year. In the first half of last year, there was a strong image that the 3rd place in sales was the Maginot line, not the 1st or 2nd place, but as the Lineage brothers were pushed out of the second country and Odin, achieving the first place in sales came as a realizable goal.
However, overall, the trend of the market did not change significantly. An RPG that aims for high-recognition IP, high probability items, and vertical growth and competition. The pattern that has been hardened over the years has continued this year. If many game companies lean too far in a certain direction, it may take a long time to adapt to changes in market trends. In Korea, antipathy towards probability-type items is growing, and in terms of overseas expansion, while China is closed, most of domestic mobile games are only emerging in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. It is necessary to find a new way out from a long-term perspective.