Unlocking GDC 2023 with AppLovin
A Comeback for the Ages
GDC 2023 saw a massive surge in attendance with over 28,000 attendees, more than doubling the number of eventgoers from last year. This marked a return to pre-pandemic attendance and tourism in San Francisco, as well as a wild week of varying weather. International attendance was higher than ever, showcasing the global impact of the gaming industry.
AppLovin’s GDC 2023 Adventures
A Magnificent Meal
The GDC Expo was filled with excitement, including in-booth fancy coffee baristas, swag giveaways, and throwback gaming consoles. The loud and bustling expo floor facilitated countless conversations, meetings, and game demos.
…Followed by a Swanky Soiree
AppLovin hosted an exclusive dinner capturing memorable moments with their mobile app business partners. They also co-hosted UnderApps, an old-timey speakeasy-themed gala, with Adjust and Liftoff, showcasing their strong industry ties.
Key Themes and Takeaways from GDC 2023
Reflecting on the Past: Wordle, Wordscapes, and More
GDC 2023 offered the chance to learn from past successes and announcements, such as the “Wordle: One Year Later” session which focused on the acquisition of Wordle by the New York Times and how the game enabled them to grow their subscription business. It was a great conversation led by Zoe Bell, Executive Producer of New York Time Games, that was a great case study about successful game acquisitions and leveraging a game’s viral success including these valuable insights:
- Keep user retention as a primary focus. If DAU is declining, focus on adding player value and keeping the users you have and can monetize.
- Have an icon that matches the rest of your games to maintain brand recognition
- Be patient with DAU; if you “do no harm” and build great experiences, DAU will come
The Wordscapes Search highlighters event’s major focus was to learn how to design and A/B test collectible vanity features that are portable across casual game portfolios. Attendees additionally gained a deeper understanding of how mobile developers can leverage past experiences to enhance their offerings and strategies.
Google for Games: Maximizing Revenue and Onboarding New Buyers
A Google Ad Manager session at GDC 2023 presented the importance of maximizing competition for every ad impression and onboarding new buyers to increase the value of app inventory. This session was led by Alankar Agnihotri, Senior Product Manager at Google. AppLovin was highlighted for its partnership with Google which helped them revamp their buyer management API, as well as Liftoff, which identified opportunities to optimize their own bidding performance in the app bidding tech stack.
In-Game Advertising: Enhancing the User Experience
In-game advertising (IGA) was another focal point at GDC 2023. This session focused on best practices that ensure ads within console and PC games don’t deter from the overall user experience and lean into authenticity – making the ads feel like a natural part of the game. Chris Vincelli, Anzu.io VP Business Development, led an insightful panel that unpacked the value of IGA. By fostering positive emotional connections with users, in-game advertising offers benefits for both studios and brands. For developers, this strategy can boost user acquisition, increase revenue, enhance realism and immersion, improve engagement rate, and be easy to implement. For advertisers and brands, in-game advertising helps reach massive audiences, strengthen brand relevance, and measure campaign performance.
The Future of Gaming: Blockchain, Tokenomics, and lock-screen gaming
GDC 2023 was abuzz with discussions about the future of gaming. As Wemade’s CEO highlighted in his session, “Blockchain gaming only makes a game better if the game is already fun.” With the gaming revenue projected to hit $200 billion in 2023, Chinese developers like Habby are paving the way for early success. And InMobi held a session in collaboration with Glance and Nostra about the burgeoning world of “lock-screen gaming”, utilizing smart surfaces to bring player engagement to a whole new level from both a hardware and software perspective. Gala Games discussed their Web3 vision and how tokenomics affect game quality vs ROI. The company has developed tools to balance and tune economic health while testing models with game coin launches.
The Future of Mobile Is Now
The world of mobile gaming is evolving at an incredible pace, and AppLovin is at the forefront of these exciting changes. As more and more events like GDC 2023 roll out over the course of this year, you can expect AppLovin to have a presence and to be at the forefront of the mobile app industry to mobile publishers, advertisers, brands, and more.
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