Mobile World Congress 2013: the Top 3 Take-Aways for the Mobile Games Industry

Yet another vintage of MWC comes to an end. After nearly a week of action packed, whirlwind days of mobile enthusiasm from: meetings, holding down the fort at the exhibitor booth, every excuse under the sun to attend a networking event or party, we are going to trim away the conference madness to extract the key points for attending MWC, for the mobile apps industry and more specifically, mobile gaming.

Below are our three most relevant takeaways, when looking back on the entire show.  This is merely our editorial pick, so feel free to share your thoughts with us by commenting or dropping the team an email.

1. The Shadow of the Giants

For several years now, Apple has been conspicuous by their absence at the Mobile World Congress. Officially, at least, as Apple’s presence is not without reminding us of Voldemort’s in the Harry Potter series: the powerful and scary overlord whose name shall not be spoken. The latter was nevertheless on the lips of many, as a strong proportion of the app economy’s turnover remains on iOS, and developers as well as app promotion services have learned to deal with Cuppertino’s taste for sudden new rules coming right out of the blue.

After a much buzzed-about presence in 2012 with a behemoth stand, a slide, an Android pin collection frenzy as well as the distribution of actual ice-cream sandwiches, Google surprisingly decided to go completely boothless this year. This is partly due to the fact that Android has secured its position as second operating system (the race being as of now for the 3rd slot), trumping iOS in terms of volumes and closing in dangerously upon the gap in revenues as well. Also, Android was naturally present on most of the handsets showcased by the manufacturers.

2. App Planet: Rise of the App Economy


As was the case in the 2012 edition, the growing app economy received a significant highlight at MWC by securing an entire show space of its own, the app planet pavilion, separated with a footbridge, from the rest of the conference, distinguishing itself from the telcos, equipment companies and other hardware manufacturers.

 Proof of the heavy demand for visibility in this area of the fair, there were a couple companies exhibiting there which had little (in my view) to do with the mobile app industry as such.

Another sign of the vitality of the app business, Russian search giant Yandex announcing the launch of Yandex.Store, a custom app store on Android, with already 50,000 titles available. The store can come pre-installed on devices (under a white label format), but consumers can also download it directly from the web.

This general attractiveness bodes extremely well for the mobile app industry in general and mobile gaming in particular. Gartner expects revenues from app stores to soar by 62%, up to $25 billion this year.

While the attention of the media at MWC has traditionally mostly been on the hardware announcements, we can expect more and more focus on the app economy in the coming years.

3. Firefox OS: The First Web-Based Mobile Operating System

One of the major product announcements this year was the launch of Mozilla’s Firefox OS. This comes in addition to the Firefox browser and marketplace, already available on Android. This new operating system is built entirely on html 5 (on top of Linux) and works as a web-curation tool: there is no such thing as native code. In fact, the whole operating system is based on open-web standards (html 5, css 3, javascript etc.)

One cool feature available is search, as a query will display not only apps that are already present on the phone, but also any relevant app available on the web. For instance, if your search is “James Bond”, Firefox OS will return all the web apps with 007-related content: Wikipedia, IMDb, Amazon, Netflix etc.

As of now, 18 carriers and 3 device manufacturers have already partnered up with Mozilla to install and distribute the operating system, and more have been announced.

So, what about mobile games?

Upon interviewing them, the Mozilla crew assured us that they would provide the development tools and framework to ensure that Firefox OS will be able to compete with other platforms in the mobile gaming space. Also, the partnerships with operators will enable carrier billing instead of credit card payment, which is likely to facilitate market penetration in developing countries.

For those of you who didn’t get the chance to catch up with AppLift in Barcelona, the next event we’ll be attending is the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, from March 25 to 29. We’ll be exhibiting in Booth 217 with the HitFox Group, the parent company of AppLift (yet another foxy company…). If you’d like to set up a meeting during the show, drop us a line at

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See you soon!


About Thomas Sommer

Thomas heads up content marketing at app marketing platform AppLift. As such he’s in charge of sourcing, curating, creating and distributing insightful content to increase the company’s visibility and thought leadership. Thomas loves to scrutinize the relentless and thrilling developments of the mobile industry. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter to continue this conversation.
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