Every Friday we publish a list of ten essential articles from the week to help mobile game developers stay on the pulse of the industry. The list contains the most popular articles shared with the NativeX community of 32,000+ Twitter followers over the previous seven days.
If ten articles isn’t enough to get you through your morning coffee, check out the NativeX Twitter feed for more.
After a record breaking weekend for Apple, the company stumbled this week with the release of a buggy iOS 8.0.1 and “#bendgate” rumors. Still, the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 launches are being considered incredibly successful, and we found 27% of American iOS gamers have already upgraded their devices to iOS 8.
In other news, a report from Swrve, found that only 1.35% of mobile gamers spend money in games. Another report claims the new App Store app bundles favor large game developers, hurting sales indies. To help indies regain visibility in the App Store, we compiled a list of tips for getting featured. More details about each story are below.
Top Mobile Gaming News (September 20-26):
Businessweek – Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook called the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus over the weekend the “best launch ever.” He may have spoken too soon. Just three days after announcing that Apple had sold a record 10 million new iPhones over the opening weekend, Cook was faced with multiple snafus related to the bigger-screen handsets. The company pulled a new mobile-software update, dubbed iOS 8.0.1, after the program caused some people to lose cellular service yesterday, and promised a fix soon. Scores of consumers also took to social media to criticize the 6 Plus and how it can bend if sat on or if enough pressure is placed upon it.
NativeX Blog – In a session at VentureBeat’s GamesBeat, former App Store marketing manager, Michael Ehrenberg gave mobile game developers advice on, “pitching your mobile games to Apple.” While at Apple, his job was to identify fun apps that align with Apple’s brand; then feature them. Before that, he worked at Gameloft, where his job was to pitch games to Apple. Running short of time in his session, Ehrenberg covered as many tips as he could. Some of them were more obvious than others. Here are the top ten. Take them for what they are and hopefully they will guide you on your journey to getting featured on the App Store.
Tech Crunch – Apple has responded to the iOS 8.0.1 update bug, which saw iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices lose cellular connectivity and Touch ID functionality when applied, with an apology and a promise to correct things in an 8.0.2 update to come sometime “in the next few days.” The apology is accompanied by instructions on Apple’s official support website, telling affected users how to easily roll back to iOS 8.0 without losing their content or having to restore their phones.
VentureBeat – The number of players who pay for virtual goods in mobile games declined from 1.5 percent in January to 1.35 percent in July, according to a study of millions of gamers by mobile-marketing-automation firm Swrve. In an exclusive interview with GamesBeat, Swrve chief strategy officer Hugh Reynolds and Swrve CEO Christopher Dean said they found that 62 percent of all mobile-game revenues come from 0.13 percent of all players. Those are scary and depressing numbers for developers and publishers, as they rely on virtual-goods purchases for most of their revenue in free-to-play mobile titles.
NASDAQ – Apple is giving you a new way to buy apps. With the update to iOS 8, Apple is allowing developers to bundle apps together and sell them as a package. Users will be able to download a whole bunch of apps for a lower cost than buying each of them individually. However, Apple is only letting developers bundle paid apps, and the apps must all come from the same developer. Apple may be looking to spark paid app downloads with this feature, but the current setup seems to favor large developers. Ultimately, that could hurt Apple’s App Store, as smaller developers weigh their options on App Store priorities.
NativeX Blog – iOS 8 has now been available for a week and with iPhone 6 launch, our data science team wanted to share some additional findings from our network of gamers. Last week, we noted that within the first 48 hours of launch, strategy players were the largest group to adopt Apple’s latest OS. After one week, we’ve seen these numbers even out with the majority of game sub-categories hosting about one fourth of their users on iOS 8. We saw the largest jump of new iOS 8 users amongst Card and Casino gamers who were originally amongst the slowest to adopt. These casual genres have seen an increase of 15% of their players using the latest OS bringing both categories to a total adoption percentage of 25% & 26% respectively.
NPR – The consumer technology industry generally follows a few rules when it comes to developing new products: faster, thinner and (often) bigger. But the push toward increasingly svelte devices has a clear end point: No device can become thinner forever before running into the obvious challenges posed by physics and daily use. Earlier this month Apple wowed the world with its new line of iPhones, both of which are larger and thinner than the previous versions. And consumers can’t get enough of them: 10 million phones were sold last weekend, breaking the previous record set last year by the iPhone 5S and 5C.
Gamasutra – Several video game companies in the UK, including Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Ubisoft Reflections, have come together with the British government to fund the next generation of UK game designers. The Next Gen Skills Academy, which will also fund visual effects and animation up-and-comers alongside game designers, has secured nearly $10.6 million of investment from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
Polygon – Mobile development is beginning to adopt the philosophy of console development with the inclusion of higher-end graphics and storytelling, says Kent Wakeford of free-to-play publisher Kabam during his speech at DICE Europe 2014. However, as mobile gaming evolves technologically, developers need to begin thinking about expanding globally. China is the fastest-growing market in the world with the largest mobile audience, says Wakeford. But the West continues to fail in breaking the Eastern market, with only 16 percent of all mobile games available in China coming from North America and Europe.
Gamasutra – New research released by the Entertainment Software Association says that one-third of Americans aged 13 and up play games on mobile devices, tablets, or portable game consoles. It also reveals that 22 percent of mobile gamers never played games before — or were totally lapsed players at the time they picked up mobile gaming. Another 46 percent of mobile players played games occasionally, but weren’t regular players. We’ve all heard how mobile gaming has sucked in players who weren’t fans of the medium before it got accessible; there’s your proof.