This week, PocketGamer.biz caught up with Ndemic Creations founder James Vaughan to discuss his App Store debut Plague Inc.

The game – which cost roughly $5,000 to develop – was one of the top 100 grossing apps in 2012 on the US App Store, but Plague Inc. has attracted criticism for its similarity to an existing game.

It's a charge that Vaughan doesn't deny. "A key inspiration for Plague Inc. came from a 2008 Flash game called Pandemic 2 and I have always been very open about this," he explained to PocketGamer.biz contributor Simon Parkin.

But Vaughan was keen to stress that Plague Inc. isn't a clone, and he emphasised the various ways in which he's built on the Pandemic template rather than "mindlessly copying" what had gone before.

Of course, what constitutes a clone is as much a matter of public opinion, popularity and PR as it is codebase. But according to Darkest Timeline Studios founder Catalin Alexandru, true innovation will soon be the only viable path to success in the crowded app stores of major mobile platforms.

Anyway, that's quite enough ruminating for one week. Instead, let's cast our eyes back over the last seven days in mobile gaming.

Platform wars
  • Nokia's Windows Phone strategy is in danger of killing the company, claims ABI Research.
  • NHN Japan announces that its 16-strong library of LINE games has amassed more than 100 million downloads to date, suggesting it could yet emerge as a credible competitor to GREE and DeNA.
  • Android tablets will overtake iPad sales by the end of 2013, according to a new report from market research firm IDC.
  • Users are turning away from the fragmented Android OS, claims Apple's SVP of marketing Phil Schiller.

Publishing

  • Fuse Powered unveils its one-stop app publishing platform Fuseboxx 2.0 – and it's (almost) free of charge.
  • Kabam launches its own publishing division, and expects to be running as many as 50 third-party games by the end of 2013.
  • With $40 million in the bank for investment and a host of industry veterans on board, publisher Tilting Point sets out to cater to the needs of indie studios in the mobile market.
  • Scopely isn't a publisher, says CEO Walter Driver, it's a "next generation consumer mobile entertainment network." That publishes games.
Monetisation
  • In this week's edition of The Charticle, we take a look at Real Racing 3's first few weeks on the App Store, and ask whether EA was right to make the series free-to-play.
  • Glu Mobile launches its first real-money gambling gameSamurai vs. Zombies Slots.
  • Chukong's Fishing Joy franchise is generating more than $6 million per month – mostly from Chinese Android users.
  • PocketGamer.biz contributor Lee Bradley profiles the App Store's top grossing developer, Supercell.
Industry voices
  • Forget the free-to-play fuss, says PocketGamer.biz editor Keith Andrew, Real Racing 3 has started the race towards an Apple console.
  • "No-one talks," says Game Dev Midlands organiser Ash Morgan, explaining the movement's vow to unite indies across the UK – a sentiment TIGA boss Dr Richard Wilson echoes.
  • It's time for Apple and Google to unlock smart TV gaming's true potential, argues Pocket Gamer editor-in-chief Kristan Reed.
  • Gender isn't the industry's only diversity issue, says Lady Shotgun Games' Anna Marsh. Both developers and players are getting older.
  • Mobile can lead the charge for women in the games industry, says Swallowtail Games co-founder Sophia George.

Development discussions

  • Ndemic Creations founder James Vaughan explains to Simon Parkin how Plague Inc. took the market from its inspiration.
  • Touch gaming needs to evolve beyond simple taps, argues Quark Games VP Shawn Foust.
  • Mobile developers can learn a lot from SimCity's server strife, says PocketGamer.biz US correspondent Carter Dotson.
  • Has the age of the App Store helped or hindered game design innovation? Darkest Timelines Studios founder Catalin Alexandru examines the current state of play.
  • Successful developers may have wisdom to offer, but the games industry has to learn from failure, too, argues PocketGamer.biz news editor James Nouch (that's me!).