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PG.biz week that was: Zynga booms, Apple ka-booms but Nintendo implodes

The past 7 days' news compressed bite-sized
Product: PocketGamer.biz | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: Android, iPhone, PG.Biz, iPad, 3DS, Windows Phone
PocketGamer.biz Multiformat, thumbnail 1
This week, the PG.biz team has been wading through financial reports, searching for news in a sea of numbers.

The PG.biz abacus got a thorough workout, then, as sums were checked and double-checked.

But that's just the kind of selfless chaps we are over at PG.biz, the home of news and views on the business of app stores, smartphone platforms, developments in mobile game making and assorted technology.

So without any further ado, let's find out what the heck's been going on this week.

We do what Nintendo'nt

This week was a historic one for Nintendo, as the Japanese gaming giant posted its first ever annual loss.

The company blamed its FY2012 losses on console price cuts and a rising yen, but certain analysts believe Nintendo has already been 'beaten by smartphones', and that the company must bring its properties to mobile if it's to survive.

What's more, the Wii U launch will be scuppered by the rise in social gaming, according to analysts from Piper Jaffray.

However, this week also saw the historically net-phobic Nintendo announce its plans to make first-party titles on the Wii U and 3DS available for digital purchase on the day of release.

A sign, perhaps, that Nintendo is finally prepared to invest in online – something that we reckon it'll need to do if the 3DS is to remain relevant over the next 12 months.

To the pub

From console manufacturers to publishers, and this week saw Gameloft unveil the latest entry in its successful N.O.V.A.franchise for iOS and Android.

N.O.V.A. 3 looks like it'll draw 'inspiration' from Crysis in much the same way that its predecessors drew inspiration from Halo. And as per Gameloft's new policy, N.O.V.A. 3 will be a paid release featuring in-app purchases.

PG.biz also spoke to a rather different breed of publisher this week – the developer-owned, NESTA-funded consortium that is AppyNation. Robin Clarke was kind enough to share details of the company's 'revolutionary' approach.

Meanwhile, EA shares enjoyed an 8 percent jump this week after reports - to-date unsubstantiated - suggesting that the company would be bought out by Korean publisher Nexon.

EA is looking to make its own acquisitions, though, and the US publisher is actively looking for companies to snap up - having already acquired PopCap, Chillingo, and Firemint in recent years.

The big Apple

Over to Apple, now, and the Cupertino company has published its Q2 financials for FY2012. Unsurprisingly, the figures suggest Apple is doing 'quite' well.

It posted revenues of $39.2 billion, up 59 percent year-on-year, and net profit of $11.6 billion up 59 percent year-on-year.

Apple also announced that it's sold a total of 365 million iOS devices to date. We're no analysts, but we'd say that constitutes 'loads'.

Apple took time out from gloating about its financials to confirm that this year's Worldwide Developers Conference would take run from 11-15 June in San Francisco. Tickets are already sold out but Apple will be posting technical sessions from the conference online for all to see.

We also saw bot farms re-enter the news this week. Mobile monetisation outfit Fiksu's iPhone download metrics suggest that – before Apple's crackdown – the illicit bot farms may have been generating as much as a third of all free downloads on the US App Store.

Green giant

And while iOS is slowly gaining market share in Japan, figures released by comScore this week show that Android is dominant in the region.

In another bit of good news for Google's OS, developer Mobile Deluxe has claimed that Android has the edge when it comes to in-app purchases.

However, Android also has the edge when it comes to piracy, and Football Manager Handheld 2012 suffered an astonishing 9:1 piracy rate on the platform.

Should you be one of the few Android users who actually buys their apps, you may have noticed a new 'Devices' section on the Google Play web store.

That's because US consumers can now purchase unlocked Galaxy Nexus smartphones direct from Google.

As for the next Nexus smartphone, expected in Q4 2012, rumours currently suggest that Samsung will once again manufacture the device.

We didn't start the fire

The Kindle Fire attracted praise this week, with social gaming specialist King.com releasing Bubble Saga as a timed exclusive for the platform as a show of confidence.

And King.com may just be on to something, as numbers released by app publisher Animoca this week show that the Kindle Fire is the second most popular Android device that gamers use to access Animoca titles.

And that's despite only 27.5 percent of Animoca's users being in North America – the onlt region in which the device is currently on sale.

More definitive is news that comScore pegs the Kindle Fire as holding a 54.4 percent share of the Android tablet market – way ahead of the 15.4 percent share held by its closest rival.

Rear window

PG.biz started the week commenting on rumours that there would be no Windows Phone 8 update for existing handsets – a move which our man Keith Andrew reckons "risks killing the platform's growth before it's even begun."

Windows Phone updates were in the news later in the week too, with the news that downloading apps from the on-device Marketplace will soon require version 7.5 of the OS.

Nokia, Microsoft, and retail chain Phones4U unveiled a new advertising campaign this week too, bringing a UK twist on the 'Smoked by Windows Phone' promotion to Britain in the form of the ominously named 'Dare to Live'.

Another bit of good news for Microsoft's OS is that mobile and online publisher UTV Indigames is expanding onto the Windows Phone, after hitting 100 million downloads on the Nokia Store.


Facebook is a company that's been yelling about money this week – it's all rather distasteful if you ask us – and the social network announced Q1 FY2012 sales of $1.1 billion, with the number of mobile users up to 500 million.

Of course, Facebook's recent $1 billion acquisition of Instagram raised eyebrows earlier in the month, and we took time out of busy schedules to publicly wonder whether the whole thing was just a bit mad.

Facebook appeared on our news radar again this week as Crowdstar announced that the company would no longer be developing games for the platform, as the developer turns its attention to smartphone gaming instead.

Zynga also announced financials this week, and while revenue was $321 million (up 32 percent year-on-year), the public company made a net loss of $85.4 million.

This was because those numbers include $133.9 million worth of stock-based expenses, and overall the numbers were strong, with Zynga highlighting strong mobile revenue growth and a 40 percent jump in mobile daily active users for the month of March.

It now has 21 million monthly mobile users, up 40 percent compared to February.

Reviewer photo
James Nouch 28 April 2012
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