PocketGamer.biz Week That Was: Phablets explode, PlayRaven raises $2.3M, Linekong raises $80M, and lessons learned from PG Connects
by Matthew Diener 25/1/2014
Manufacturer: Steel Media
Format: Android, Blackberry, iPhone, PG.Biz, iPad, 3DS, PS Vita, Windows Phone, Windows 8
We painted London a lovely shade of red this week with Pocket Gamer Connects 2014, our first-ever conference that drew in close to 700 of the industry's best and brightest.
The overall theme of the conference was "East meets West", and much discussion was had on how game makers in the west can crack eastern markets while developers from Japan, Korea, and China shared their desire to bring their games to the west.
Underlying all of this was the undeniable fact that mobile is bringing the world closer together - and the opportunities this creates for both game development and cross-cultural communication are immense.
But a lot else happened this week that didn't tie directly into London, so let's take a look back at the week that was.Tools and platforms
- Consumers are looking for the next big thing - literally. Phablet shipments are expected to increase 500 percent in 2014.
- Meanwhile, the iPad Air grabbed serious traction over the holidays - accounting for 41 percent of all iPads sold.
- It might not have the name of Google Play or the App Store, but it's getting close. Amazon reckoned that now's a great time to get in on its Appstore for Android.
- Start-up PopAppStore unveiled a new service that'll let devs big and small build a merchandising empire with a range of branded t-shirt, mugs, and swag.
- Our Chart of the Week took a look how open Korea, Japan, and China are to western content.
- Speaking of the east, App Annie reckoned that a full 2/3 of Google Play's revenue comes from South Korea, Japan, and the US.
- We expected big things from Fruit Ninja dev Halfbrick's Colossatron, but our Charticle showed that it wasn't a colossal hit.
Retention and discovery
- And speaking of Colossatron, we caught up with Halfbrick's Matthew Knights to take a good look at the making of the Massive World Threat.
- Maxim De Wit from Global Mobile Game Confederation shared some advice for devs who find clones of their games in China - start with diplomacy before litigation.
- US correspondent Matthew Diener argued that Nintendo should think twice before rushing its IPs into mobile.
- While Ruby Seven CEO Michael Carpenter told us that the social casino space shouldn't be confused with gambling when it's actually more like Candy Crush.
Funding, acquisitions, shutterings, and personnel
- Looking for tips on how to pitch like a pro? Peter Willingon shares 9 tips on how to best pitch your game to the press.
- Gamers on social messaging apps are hard to pin down, but Umeng reckons its first WeChat games had a 32 percent day-one retention rate.
- Over at Mobile Games Forum 2014, Robert Tercek noted that mobile games are likely the future of an interconnected world - but only if we innovate.
- Also from MGF 2014, we learned five user acquisition tips from the likes of Grand Cru, Pixowl, and Ndemic Creations.
- Things are looking up for Chinese dev Linekong, which just secured $80 million in funding in a Series C round.
- While Playraven - a start-up with talent from Wooga, Remedy, and Digital Chocolate - closed a $2.3 million seed round to help it find its legs in Helsinki.
- Elsewhere, Bay Area start-up Grow Mobile announced two new management hires in the wake of a flush 2013 that saw 300 percent revenue growth.
- And on the unhappy side, DeNA and Namco Bandai have announced the end of their joint partnership effective on March 31.
If you couldn’t make it over to London, here's a quick round-up of what you missed this week
- iDreamSky’s Jeff Lyndon gave some insight on the differences between eastern and western markets, and cautioned devs not to overlook the Chinese market.
- While Gumi's Nicolas Godemont-Berline gave advice on how to appeal to Japanese gamers who "don't purchase items, they purchase emotions”.
- The Indie Rock Stars Panel talked about tackling the issue of discovery with good PR.
- And Playground's Wilhelm That said you don't need a publisher, but you do need publishing.
- Looking for cinematic inspiration as an indie? Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell recommended Die Hard over Citizen Kane.
- On the less indie side, Rovio's Peter Vesterbacka reckoned that Angry Birds is now as big as Twitter, with 200 million monthly players.
- While King's Tommy Palm said the Candy Crush maker's success comes from fan engagement and word of mouth.
- And for those who prefer visual stimulation over text, we have some shortcut videos of the event to share.