PocketGamer.biz Week That Was: Profits fall at Apple, Nintendo's back in black and the return of Boyfriend Maker
By James Nouch 27 April 2013
PocketGamer.biz | Manufacturer:
Steel Media Ltd | Format:
Android, iPhone, PG.Biz, iPad, 3DS, PS Vita
This week saw Nintendo publish its annual financials, which showed a return to profit for the Japanese gaming giant.
But before Mario fans don their party hats, it's worth noting that the firm incurred operating losses of $200 million and that the 3DS and Wii U both failed to meet their sales targets.
In fact, Nintendo was only saved from a second consecutive year of losses by a favourable exchange rate – depreciation of the yen provided exchange gains of $396 million.
While it's too early to judge the Wii U – home consoles often start out slow, and Nintendo consoles almost always do – the 3DS has been on the market for two years now. And after a rocky start, Nintendo has really boosted the device's flagging fortunes.
Nevertheless, 40 percent of all 3DS hardware sales to date have been in Japan, and Nintendo admits that it has still failed to generate the desired sales momentum overseas.
Its solution? A greater focus on the digital distribution of its first party retail games.
On one level, that makes sense. Digital distribution yields greater profit for Nintendo and provides added choice and convenience for the consumer (and, ideally, lower price points). But Nintendo is hardly playing to its strengths with this strategy.
Bear in mind that this is a company that still uses friend codes for online interactions on the 3DS.
And since eShop purchases are tied to devices rather than accounts, Nintendo might have a tough time convincing consumers to bulk out their digital libraries. After all, if a 3DS owner loses their console, they'll lose their downloaded game collection with it.
But that's enough ruminating on Nintendo's idiosyncrasies (we'd be here all day). Instead, let's take a look back at the last seven days of mobile gaming news, interviews and features on PocketGamer.biz.Tools and platforms
- Our latest Chart of the Week comes courtesy of App Annie, and shows that although Google Play has seen a 90 percent rise in revenue, the App Store remains 2.6 times bigger.
- After falling foul of Apple guidelines in 2012, AppShopper returns to the App Store with a new social slant.
- Also returning to the App Store this week is Boyfriend Maker. This kids game was pulled in 2012 after its chat AI displayed extreme sexual content, and returns with a revamped chat interface and enhanced reporting capabilities.
- PocketGamer.biz US correspondent argues that hedging your bets across multiple mini titles is becoming the secret to App Store success.
- Unity shelves Flash support, and accuses Adobe of "eroding developer trust."
- The first Firefox developer preview handsets go on sale, and sell out in a matter of hours.
- Apple's share price drops by 43 percent since September, causing its market value to plummet by more than the entire value of Google.
- Despite rising revenues, Apple's profits fall for the first time in 10 years.
- Nintendo returns to profit, albeit narrowly, but the 3DS fails to meet sales targets.
- Sales are down 18 percent at Zynga, but the firm's posted its first profit since floating in late 2011.
- In this week's edition of the PocketGamer.biz Charticle, we compare two paid games – Halfbrick's Fish out of Water and ZeptoLab's Cut the Rope: Time Travel.
- Hardcore Real Racing fans form a 'Vocal Minority' group to vent their dissatisfaction with the franchise's free-to-play shift.
- The IDC forecasts that the number of paying players on mobile will overtake handhelds by the end of 2013.
- "We are farmers. We just want to make games. It's not about conquering," says ZeptoLab CEO Misha Lyalin.
- "Quite frankly - it's a terrible game," says Vlambeer's Rami Ismail, when he talks with PocketGamer.biz about alleged Luftrausers clone SkyFar.
- "Score! has now had well over 9.5 million downloads, which we're really proud of," explains First Touch Games CEO Charles Chapman.
- "O Brother, Where Art Thou, weirdly, was the primary catalyst," explains Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell.
- UK trade association TIGA argues that UK devs need to avoid 'Americanisation' and push British culture in their games.
- Pocket Gamer editor-in-chief Kristan Reed argues that Nintendo needs to wave goodbye to the Wii U if it wants to become the handheld king.
- TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson tells us he's confident the UK Games Tax Relief can overcome its European Commission setback, but British developers and publishers need to act.
- UKIE CEO Dr Jo Twist explains how Games Tax Relief could help UK developers lead the world.
- Four Door Lemon's Simon Barratt outlines the pitfalls and practicalities of work for hire.
- Otherlevels CEO Brendan O'Kane explains how proper push messaging can keep your players engaged.