Hot Five

Hot Five: Giving Kickstarter a kicking, Unity opens up, and how to avoid releasing a 'popular failure'

Hot Five: Giving Kickstarter a kicking, Unity opens up, and how to avoid releasing a 'popular failure'
Welcome to's weekly rundown of the stories clocking up the hits, picking up the click-throughs and generally keeping the advertisers happy by serving up page views.

Or, if you'd prefer, the top five stories currently dominating our readers' attention.

Each week, we'll be counting down the biggest news from the previous seven days, giving just a glimpse of the industry's big issues, from five to one.

Opinion: Kickstarter killed the video game star

How could news that UK trade association TIGA has launched a curated list on Kickstarter highlighting what it believes are the best projects from British devs be a bad thing?

According to editor Keith Andrew, TIGA no doubt has the best of intentions, but not only do curated lists go against Kickstarter's 'level playing field' Kickstarter, it also suggests that a platform once billed as a discovery tool now needs additional discovery tools to ensure games get spotted.

"While TIGA's list will no doubt be populated with lots of worthy games that deserve to be funded, it is the equivalent of turning up to Dragon's Den with a whole host of celebrity backers on your shoulder to sway their decision," he offered.

"The industry needs to stop, pause, and figure out what Kickstarter is for. If it's for everyone, then prepare for it to be swamped and for the same discovery issues that have plagued the App Store to set up residence here, too."

Unity: New gambling rules won't impact 99.9% of developers

Following on from our initial look at a change to Unity's end user license agreement aimed at developers of gambling games, CEO David Helgason took to his firm's blog to set the record straight.

The new license – which is rumoured requires studios behind gambling games to pay additional fees – won't impact 99.9 percent of developers, he claimed, and is in fact just one part of a wider move by Unity to prepare itself for the influx of real-money gambling games.

The new agreement, he claimed, is "not meant to be about virtual currencies, as it previously could be construed as, and of course will not impact 99.9 percent of the developers using Unity."

"Gambling is a very heavily regulated industry and the process of acquiring gambling license is generally long, arduous and expensive.

"In the long term this helps us build a sound business servicing these companies, which in turn makes it easier for us to invest heavily in Unity for all our customers and makes it easier to keep our game developer pricing low."

In-app purchase pain: How to avoid releasing the next 'popular failure'

It's one of the major side effects of the free-to-play revolution: You can have a game that amassed millions of downloads, but if consumers don't part with their cash for in-app purchases, you're in trouble.

Lee Bradley took time to talk to devs behind three titles that have befallen such a fate – Gasketball, Punch Quest and Monkey Drum.

"iOS users are trained to look for the data in the areas Apple has set up; big juicy screenshots and lines of bullshit review scores on how awesome everyone thinks the game is," said Mike Boxleiter of Gasketball dev Mikengreg.

"If you go freemium you throw that out the window and now you have to make the sale yourself. Now it's like Glengarry Glen Ross, remember your ABCs."

Infographic: How can developers best take advantage of tablets?

You guys really like infographics, don't you? Another week, and another one of Mike Cook's creations makes it into the top five.

Last week's took a closer look at how developers can best approach working on tablets, detailing a number of stats that profile the average tablet gamer. It isn't just a case of making your mobile games fit a bigger screen, you know.

Oh, and it also looked rather pretty.

Double trouble: Did a clone win the grand prize at Samsung's Smart App Challenge?

If you're looking for an answer to that rather leading headline, then look away now.

In short, Feelingtouch's Gun & Blood was named the grand prize winner of Samsung's recent Smart App Challenge, taking home $200,000 in the process. Czech studio Craneballs, however, claims the game is a "direct rip-off its own on-rails shooter Overkill.

"They've stolen the whole game design, design of individual menus, everything. In the first version they even copied our in-game text word for word," said Craneballs marketing manager Daniel Maslovsky.

"And this is not even the first time Feelingtouch has done this. Cut the Rope had a similar clone, but it has been taken off."

Feelingtouch naturally denies such claims, though Samsung has admitted it is "having a internal discussion regarding to the Overkill and Gun & Blood copyright issues."

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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