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The last white whale of the games industry: why game dev veterans are creating games for Connected TV

Why devices like Apple TV may prove to be the next great casual games platform

Millions of people worldwide are now tuning into Connected TV (CTV) -- platforms like Apple TV -- for their entertainment. And with it being home to many ground-breaking innovations, more companies are capitalizing on this new market. For businesses like Playcent Games, CTV is no longer uncharted territory. As Sergey Mishchenko, CEO and co-founder of Playcent Games, puts it, it is the games industry's last white whale.

With 13 years of experience in managing large global scale IT projects, Mishchenko's expertise in mobile apps development has pushed him to explore new markets in today's CTV gaming landscape.

Playcent Games has taken the lead in expanding casual gaming options on CTV platforms. Since its establishment in 2020, the company has poured its efforts into Сonnected TV gaming, an area with the potential to become a multi-million dollar sector.

Its secret ingredient is simple: quality native games. While video and channel apps have been well-appreciated on CTV platforms, non-TV apps remain underdeveloped, with most being created non-professionally. Playcent Games seeks to change that trend by capitalizing on their experience as mobile game developers and introducing casual games to CTV.

Playcent is invested in Connected TV devices

Playcent Games has already seen success with social casino game Crazino. Developed strictly for CTV platforms, users could play the game via Smart TVs, launching on platforms Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Android TV in September 2020. The game now has a mobile companion app for both iOS and Android devices. Gamers can also start a game on one device and finish it on another as they all are connected to one account.

The game now hosts a large player base. Monthly active players (MAU) have increased by 280%, with players collectively spending over 180 thousand hours in the game. It stands as a real-life example of the potential that lies in CTV gaming. "The launch of Crazino is just the beginning," said Mishchenko.

The growth of CTV has been a spectacle over the last few years. In the US, user adoption is expected to surpass the 200 million mark by 2022. An estimated 30 million viewers have called it quits on traditional television in recent months. As of 2020, 80 percent of American households own at least one internet-connected TV device. This includes smart TVs, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast. The connected TV penetration rate reached a record high in 2020, in the face of steady growth from 2014 -- a notable increase of six percent from 2019 to 2020.

"This tremendous growth was a beacon for our team. We had the expertise, and now we had a new niche virtually unexplored and ready for taking over," says Mishchenko.

"This tremendous growth was a beacon for our team. We had the expertise, and now we had a new niche virtually unexplored and ready for taking over"

Playcent Games took action, having identified the market for CTV gaming as a 'blue ocean'. There are still very few businesses beyond Playcent Games that have stepped in to fill this gap.

Given the large number of people migrating from linear TV to CTV platforms, CTV gaming's potential is tremendous. Currently, there are limited titles for casual gamers to explore. Unlike PC, mobile, and VR gaming, where the competition is getting heated, CTV gaming is still relatively new. Crazino received a good response, and that has solidified Playcent Games' strategy, says Mishchenko.

As Playcent Games CEO, Mishchenko insists his team are the best people to capture the market. Why? The company is made up of professionals with experience in mobile game development, and are innovative and creative minds with sound gaming principles. The company's objective is to shape the face of CTV gaming.

The firm has already seen success with Crazino on Connected TVs

There is already so much speculation over the future of hyper-casual gaming, a game format well suited to the CTV environment. Top titles already on the market get an average of 50 million downloads. As people spent more time indoors in 2020, there was a huge spike in hyper-casual app downloads. Playcent Games' first title benefited from this wave, and their data proves this trend is here to stay, says Mishchenko.

Mishchenko adds that the firm will be expanding to new CTV platforms and improving the core product with new content and events. The updates have been delivered on a regular basis since Fall 2020, just in time for the company to benefit from the expected growth in online CTV gaming.

Since Playcent Games already has products in the market, it has a far better advantage over the competition. Mishchenko believes his team has the right user-centric approach, and they aim to improve their standing with more user-friendly designs and strategies shaped by players' historical behavior patterns.

Mishchenko and his team are geared to take the lead in CTV gaming. With a strong background in mobile development and a successful casual gaming title already in the market, Playcent Games is positioned to create value in the CTV gaming market -- exploring, charting, and profiting off the wild blue yonder. The future of gaming is bright even beyond traditional gaming sectors.

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