The big mobile gaming story this week kicked up an inevitable stink, as Nintendo backtracked on its dismissal of free-to-play by forming a strategic alliance with DeNA.
We covered the initial news, as well as Iwata's claim that Nintendo remained a firm committed to the console business.
Furthermore, editor-at-large Jon Jordan shared his scepticism about the alliance, and predicted that it is doomed to fail.
Outside of the all-consuming Nintendo-DeNA news, we wrapped up our serialisation of the So... You Want to Make Video Games ebook and explored the monetisation and top grossing chart position ZeptoLab's King of Thieves.
- We published a guest article from Jari-Pekka Kaleva, Senior Policy Analyst in Neogames, arguing that the Finnish games industry is becoming bigger and less fragile, largely thanks to successful 'second round' start-ups.
- Kongregate's Emily Greer told us that all developers, even indies, should be relying on analytics to help distribute their games.
- Ahead of him taking the stage at Pocket Gamer Connects Bangalore, we caught up with Mike Bithell to talk Threes, premium, and the potential of India.
- F2P pioneer and Mobile Maven Jason Citron has questioned the clear separation between Nintendo design and DeNA operation in the new deal, arguing that the two are indivisible in the free-to-play world.
Discovery, user acquisition, retention, and monetisation
- We updated our regular soft launch feature, running down the best and brightest still undergoing tests and tweaking before full release.
- We dredged up a particularly prescient opinion piece from days of yore (2013), stating that unless Iwata U-turns on F2P and mobile, Nintendo risks becoming a niche.
- Our Mobile Mavens chewed over the question on everybody's lips: how will Nintendo games work in a free-to-play framework?
- Former Bossa Studios CTO Ric Moore has used data analytics to find the "hidden winners" on the App Store - those which most effectively monetise their players.
- Our Monetizer Mavens told us that retention and engagement, ahead of monetisation, are the real measures of F2P success.
- Our latest Charticle examined ZeptoLab's King of Thieves, to see how it's faring in the App Store charts across the world.
- David Zhang, Director of Account Management at Grow Mobile, gave us his 3 essential tactics for successfully monetising players.
- The IAP Inspector this week scrutinised King of Thieves, particularly the random, gacha-esque nature of its monetisation.
- We spoke to the CEO of LoopMe about the vast, open, $200 billion mobile advertising market.
- Game integration drove a 2014 sales rise of 100 percent for Palringo, with revenues for the year totalling $14 million.
- Rovio announced that its 2014 sales were down 9 percent, largely thanks to a 43 percent decrease in merchandise sales, while game revenues rose 16 percent.
Tools & platforms
- Our serialisation of the So... You Want to Make Video Games ebook concluded this week with the following chapters - Part 4: Build, Part 5: Assets, Part 6: Test, Fix and Publish, and Part 7: Promote and Support.
- Pocket Arena, a network which allows devs to add social elements to any game, was launched on iOS.
- The systems in place for determining a game's age rating, or indeed approval to exist on the store, have been tightened by Google.
Funding, deals, acquisitions and personnel
- Nintendo and DeNA shocked the industry by announcing a strategic alliance between the two companies, the bottom line of which was that Nintendo characters will be appearing on mobile.
- Editor-at-large Jon Jordan argued that Nintendo's DeNA alliance is a match made in weakness and doomed to failure.
- Satoru Iwata was keen to stress that, despite the Nintendo-DeNA alliance, that he and his company have "a stronger passion and vision for the dedicated video game system business than ever before."
- We spoke to Kim Soares, CEO of Tiny Troopers dev Kukouri, about the studio's pursuit of A round investment.
- The PocketGamer.biz Jobs Board ran down all the latest openings in the mobile games space, with Unity, Goodgame Studios, Kuju and more looking to hire.
- Cheetah Mobile has acquired MobPartner, in a deal worth $58 million.
- A $77 million deal has seen Market Tech Holdings acquire a majority stake in glispa.
- Nexon and Square Enix revealed that they will be working together to bring the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI from PC and PlayStation 2 to mobile.
- Helsinki-based Everywear Games, the world's first wearable games studio, has opened following undisclosed investment from Lifeline Ventures and Sunstone Capital. It's also hiring.
- Former Kabam man Keith Kawahata has joined GREE as Vice President and General Manager of Role-Playing Games.
Branding and expansion
- Chillingo has expanded into China, with the studio sharing Shanghai office space with EA - of whom it is a subsidiary.
- The studio formerly known as TribePlay rebranded as Dr Panda to reflect the success of its flagship series. which boasts over 40 million downloads.
- Unity is now accepting super early-bird registration and applications from would-be speakers for its Unite Europe conference in Amsterdam from 24 – 25 June.
- TIGA and SoftLayer will be hosting five free events for developers across the UK on the future of gaming infrastructure.
- We announced that the next leg of the Pocket Gamer Connects conference tour will be taking place in San Francisco on July 7-8.
- Final speakers for F2P Summit 2015 announced, including Gameforge's Tim Campbell, Fireproof's Barry Meade, and many others.
- We presented an overview of what to expect at the East Meets West track of Pocket Gamer Connects Bangalore, including features and speakers.