The biggest April fool this week was anyone who thought the Android microconsole market was over and done with.
After months of speculation, US-based retailer Amazon finally entered the battle for the living room gaming space with its Amazon Fire TV box.
Consumer reaction to the $99 multimedia device remains to be seen, but what interested us the most was the fact that it has a capable Android gaming device hidden underneath of the video and music streaming services.
Paradoxically, Amazon didn't emphasis its gaming capabilities as a major selling point - noting that it's "Great for gaming, too" - but it also allocated a fair amount of resources to the development of exclusive titles for the Fire TV.
We'll have to wait and see if the new unconsole can find a strong market where its competitors have struggled, but in the meantime we can take a look back at the Pocket Gamer Biz Week That Was.
- Early bird ticket prices have ended, but PG Connects is still on for 16-17 June in Helsinki this year, where we'll continue looking at the business and art of bringing games to the global stage.
- And speaking of the global stage, Pocket Gamer is hitting the road next week with stops planned at Berlin's Quo Vadis, Estonia, and Helsinki.
Tools and Platforms
- Microsoft unveiled 'universal' apps for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox One.
- While LINE grew to over 400 million users - adding 826,000 new accounts a day.
- UK Chancellor George Osborne said he was 'open to ideas' on how to follow up the recently announced Games Tax Relief.
- And Apple announced a new random lottery for tickets to WWDC 2014 - in an effort to avoid last year's 2-minute sellout debacle.
- Our In-App Purchase Inspector fixed its gaze on Supercell's Boom Beach to see just how much of a shelling players' wallets are in for.
- While our Charticle dissected the performance of Bossa Studios' Surgeon Simulator.
- Apple sent out a mysterious email to US consumers offering refunds on in-app purchases made by children.
- And are you a developer planning to be in Poland for Digital Dragons 2014? If so, you should check out its VC Speed Networking session to meet some of Poland’s biggest investors.
- GungHo Online Entertainment America CEO Jun Iwasaki noted that 3 million downloads is 'just the beginning' for Puzzles & Dragons in the US.
- Editor Jon Jordan argued that Chinese games need to stop relying on generic heroines if they hope to differentiate themselves from one another.
- And Opposable Games' James Parker ruminated on why PC and console games can't ignore what's in a player's pocket any more.
- Alconost's Vladimir Kupratsevich's gave some tips on how you can keep your sanity while translating your game into 20 languages.
- Meanwhile, TIGA president Richard Wilson shared his thoughts on the sweet success of seeing Games Tax Relief arrive in the UK.
- And our Mobile Gaming Mavens wondered why Google didn't buy Oculus if it really was the future of VR gaming.
- Jon Jordan returned to flame Amazon's Fire TV as more My Little Pony than disruptive gaming microconsole.
- Before he gave us a look at how Industrial Toys reimagined the shooter for the touchscreen.
User acquisition, retention, and discovery
- Flurry announced updates to its Analytics which allow users to monitor retention and return rate.
- UA outfit Crobo expects its business model to shift towards '70 percent mobile' by the year's end.
- Dimoso's James Kaye shared some thoughts on how mobile marketing is broken, and what we can do to fix it.
- And Game Insight reported that it's crossed north of 5 million players on Windows Phone and Windows 8.
Funding, acquisitions, personnel, and shutterings
- Amazon isn't going it alone with Fire TV - designers Clint Hocking and Kim Swift joined up with Amazon Game Studios this week.
- And King is growing, as it announced that it's looking to hire 165 new employees.
- Core tablet dev Industrial Toys raised $5 million in its first funding round.
- Hitfox, meanwhile, picked up Datamonk and announced that it has two to four more acquisitions planned for the year ahead.
- While UA outfit Crobo picked up rival TrafficCaptain.