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 MULTIFORMAT FEATURE

The PocketGamer.biz week that was: Ouya's an earner, Biz heads to Brighton, and we all prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse

The past 7 days in bite-sized portions
Product: PocketGamer.biz | Publisher: Steel Media
 
PocketGamer.biz Multiformat, thumbnail 1
Another week, another Kickstarter campaign – but this one was a little different. On 10 July, Ouya asked the crowdfunding community for $950,000 in order to bring its $99 Android-powered home console to market.

At the time of writing, it's been three days since the project began accepting pledges, and it's already received more than $4.4 million.

It would seem that Ouya's promise of an open, free-to-play platform has captured the imaginations of gamers, and when we spoke to those behind it, they argued that Ouya would be good for developers too, handing power back to the people who make games.

But despite attracting 35,000 backers so far, not everyone is convinced by Ouya.

As part of a feature on PocketGamer.co.uk, Craig Rothwell drew on his experience with the team that launched the Pandora handheld console in 2006, explaining why he thinks the success of Ouya is still far from certain.

"Even a Chinese semi-slave production line won't hit $99 at that spec, as the big name parts they are talking about are a set cost," Rothwell explained.

"With a rock bottom price, one error, one contractor messing up, and it's curtains."

On that ominous note, let's move on to our bite-sized overview of the last seven days' worth of news.

Platform wars
  • Fresh rumours suggest the Kindle Fire 2 will boast a 1280x800 display and ship in Q3 2012.
  • RIM announces that more than 3 billion applications have been downloaded from BlackBerry App World since it launched in April 2009, and its catalogue includes more than 90,000 apps.
  • Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes that Apple could sell 6 million iPad Minis if the product enjoyed a holiday launch and a $299 price tag.
  • Facebook begins App Center's global roll out and launches new localisation tools for developers. 
  • Microsoft confirms an October 2012 launch for Windows 8, suggesting a similar release date for Microsoft Surface and other Windows RT tablets. 
  • Ouya launches a Kickstarter drive to raise $950,000 to bring a $99 Android-based home console to market. After one day, the company receives $2 million worth of crowdfunded pledges.
  • Amazon launches GameCircle for Kindle Fire, a platform for leaderboards, achievements, and save-game syncing.
  • Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata concedes that smartphones and tablets have changed the industry, and the company must concentrate on offering gaming experiences that can't be reproduced on mobile. 
  • Nintendo announces that it has sold more than 5 million 3DS consoles in the US, putting it narrowly ahead of the original DS at the same stage in its life.
Funding and acquisitions
  • Mind Candy, the British studio behind the Moshi Monsters franchises, acquires UK game developer Origami Blue and opens new R&D lab.
  • Microsoft is to acquire multi-touch display marker Perceptive Pixel for an undisclosed sum.
  • Samsung launches Smart App Challenge 2012, offering $4 million worth of cash prizes to those that can generate downloads on the Samsung Apps store. 
  • OpenFeint founder Jason Citron raises $1.1 million for Phoenix Guild, a studio that will combine "respectful, modern monetisation techniques with traditional game design."
  • Portalarium, the social and mobile studio founded by Richard Garriott, raises $7 million in Series A funding round.
  • Social Wars developer Social Point raises $7.4 million in Series B funding round to move into mobile.
Industry voices
  • Ludei president Joe Monastiero believes "the open mobile web will win eventually" and HTML5 gaming will usurp the app stores.
  • Across two (illustrated) parts, PapayaMobile's Oscar Clark provides 13 lessons to help developers survive the Zombie (freemium) Apocalypse.
  • Renaud Charpentier, lead designer on Creative Assembly's digital team, tells PocketGamer.biz about the making of Total War Battles: Shogun.
  • Crowdfunding is as much a promotional tool as it is a revenue raiser, according to Spilt Milk MD Andrew Smith.
  • Our Android-based home console puts the power in the hands of developers, argues Ouya's Tiffany Spencer. 
Monetisation
  • Betable's API brings real money gambling to new or existing social and mobile games, a development it labels as the "largest opportunity for innovation and monetisation for game developers in years."
  • Mobile monetisation platform Tapjoy announces a strategic partnership with app analytics outfit Kontagent, and promise new product announcements for app developers in the coming weeks.
  • Halfbrick CMO Phil Larsen reveals that the free, ad-supported version of Fruit Ninja generates more than $400,000 a month in revenue.
App discovery
Develop In Brighton 2012
  • PapayaMobile's Oscar Clark claims that Apple has "completely failed when it comes to discoverability" on the App Store.
  • Game analyst Michael Pachter argues that free-to-play gaming needs to be reinvented.
  • Former game director at Disney's Black Rock studio and current Boss Alien MD Jason Avent says that CSR Racing is "as successful as everything else I've ever done added up together."
  • Brian Baglow explains the art of marketing for indie developers.
Click here for all of PocketGamer.biz's coverage from Develop 2012 in Brighton in one handy list.
 

Reviewer photo
James Nouch 14 July 2012
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