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The rapid rise of the smartphone in the late 2000s and early 2010s gave birth to a number of new industries, including that of mobile gaming. It was expected in 2020 that this market would generate $159.3 billion in revenues, growing 9.3 percent year-on-year.
Now, a European startup is claiming that it sees an emerging niche with as big a potential as mobile gaming. Enter Playcent Games and the nascent market of Connected TV (CTV) gaming.
“The industry is booming right now — and the pandemic has boosted the growth even higher with people being locked in their homes, lacking access to other convenient methods of relaxation and stress relief,” said Sergey Mishchenko, co-founder and CEO at Playcent Games. “The industry has a great potential as well — more and more people ‘cutting the cords’ and enjoying the benefits CTV provides means that growth is inevitable.”
The underdeveloped industry
Founded in 2020, Playcent Games went all-in to take advantage of the new opportunity. With 200 million CTV users across the world, the startup believes that the first mover in this space will get an unfair advantage in the future.
“We don't have any serious competition right now,” said Mishchenko. “There are a couple of relatively mature players, but the market is too big to actually compete, and we all have enough audience growth without any intersections.”
So far, the CTV gaming market has attracted little attention from major gamedev companies, meaning that its full potential must be much greater than what we've seen so far.
“The non-TV app industry on CTV is woefully underdeveloped, as hobbyists and amateurs, along with low-quality development studios, seek to explore the opportunities offered by the technology,” Mishchenko said. “By introducing well-crafted products with a compelling premise to the CTV environment, we are poised to stand head and shoulders over the current offerings, distinguishing ourselves with fun games and a slick and professional presentation.”
Why watch if you can play
Due to its very nature, as well as the limitations of the controller — that is, remote, — CTV is not quite suited for elaborate and complex games. That's why Playcent Games' flagship title, Crazino, is a social casino that doesn't require any learning or motoric skills.
Crazino is available on the major CTV platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Apple TV. The number of monthly active players (MAU) of the game has increased by 280 percent, with players collectively spending over 180 thousand hours in the game.
In addition to that, Playcent Games is working on porting some games from mobile platforms to provide users with seamless experience by letting them sync accounts and play anywhere they want.
“Hypercasual is the king now,” Mishchenko said. “At this moment, the most played games are usually ported from mobile, and the resource of successful mobile genres is practically undrainable. That being said, we are yet to see CTV gamedev bringing something new and unique in terms of genres and game mechanics.”
Same as with mobile gaming, the vast majority of CTV titles are monetised through advertising. Playcent Games, however, has decided to go a different route and leverage in-app purchases. This way, the player's experience is as seamless and uninterrupted as possible, while all in-game content may be achieved without paying a dime — it'd just take a longer time to get there.
Due to lack of attention, the market of CTV has yet to see its first major innovators, and Playcent Games aspires to become one. The startup takes pride in the fact that its developers are all themselves gamers, and are driven by a passion to make CTV not just a place to watch TV, movies, or other content — but also to play games that will keep users’ attention and provide a fun, memorable experience, making them come back for more.