Image | Johan Larsson
If there is a sector that’s currently booming, it’s mobile gaming. According to a report by Newzoo, in 2014 the revenue for the mobile gaming sector worldwide was $60 billion, a sum that could rise to $80 billion this year. These are the figures we’re seeing after a period of crisis and now with the onset of economic recovery that began in 2014, business has grown by 6.9% to reach 996 million euros.
The growth has come from the creation of new technology startups dedicated exclusively to developing mobile games, especially for smartphones and tablets. This boom has been accompanied by the emergence of industry events, one of which stands out from the crowd – Gamelab Barcelona. Held in June each year, the last event brought together entrepreneurs, students, investors and prominent personalities from the world of mobile gaming.
So far, within the video game development ecosystem we see startup companies that were actually created in Barcelona, like Social Point, as well as foreign ones with important subsidiaries in the city, such as King and Gameloft. However over the last couple of years we have seen the smaller companies enter strongly into the ecosystem of the sector. One is Winko Games. This startup recently received 1.4 million euros of funding from the initial investors of Supercell, a star in mobile gaming. At the head of the company are two former members of Social Point. Sergio Gil and Jean Lauren Wotton are leading a team of ten experienced developers and designers from some of the most renowned companies in the sector.
Imagen | Omnidrone
Another Barcelona tech company making an impact on the video game industry is Omnidrone. This Catalan startup received about two million dollars (before releasing its first game on the market, Dwarfs & Dragons) in a financing round from three investment funds: London Venture Partners, Nokia Growth Partners and Kibo Ventures. Gerard Fernández and Elías Lozano are at the head of this project and lead a team from Digital Chocolate, the company that bought the Catalan Microjocs eight years ago.
Within the mobile gaming sector there is also room for incubators dedicated to accelerating the growth of gaming companies. Gamebcn is one such program that facilitates the transformation of videogame projects into companies with growth potential.
Gamebcn, an initiative of the business incubator Incubio, has two main objectives: to continue the development of projects with the greatest potential that come out of specialized university programs and to position Barcelona as a hub for the gaming industry in Southern Europe. In this context, Simon Lee, co-founder of Incubio, notes that “In Gamebcn we intend to cover the missing link between final projects from formal academic education and the business world.”
There is much to be done and we are facing massive growth in this sector. A sector with a lot of potential and talent, centered in Barcelona. Surely in the near future we will see the mobile gaming ecosystem incorporating new players into the game.