Hot Five: Candy Crush scores sweet success, and how to design the perfect app icon
Last week's top five stories
Welcome to PocketGamer.biz'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.
The Charticle: The rise and rise of Ruzzle
You might never have heard of it, but Ruzzle – a word puzzler from Swedish studio MAG Interactive – has amassed 45 million downloads since it launched in 2012.
Having rolled out on iPhone, Ruzzle is now available on Android, Amazon Kindle, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry and, according to MAG's CEO Daniel Hasselberg, the main driver behind it success has been the ease with which players can share their love for the game.
"We make it easy for players to find their friends and share using Facebook Connect or Twitter," he says.
"We're a small company and don't have much money to spend, but in the US, we've driven 20 million downloads mainly through viral marketing."
Developers, are you fed up with F2P? Have you tried passive Bitcoin mining?
Should developers struggling to monetise with the free-to-play model turn to Bitcoin mining instead?
That was the proposal made by Icoplay product hill Simon Hill, who claimed that adding a piece of software to games so they mine for the online currency in the background during play – with the player's knowledge, of course – could be a viable route forward.
"The core concept we worked towards is this: A developer installs the software, and every instance of its game running at any time, anywhere mines Bitcoins using the latent power of the device it's being used on," detailed Hill.
"The developer then takes its Bitcoins to spend or invest. Bitcoin growth over the last 4 years has been pretty insane. From a value of almost zero three years ago, each Bitcoin is now worth around $180. That's a massive increase in value by any standards.
"It's a new model for monetisation and requires no user input or expenditure, which is pretty much the holy grail when it comes to monetisation."
Life imitates art: King launches Candy Crush candy
Who would have believed that, after months and months of success, only now would King take the logical step and release Candy Crush candy.
Said sweeties are currently available in four varieties – Color Bombs, Jelly Fish, Fruit Gummies and and Sour Fruit Gummies – with promotion apparently limited to a banner at the top of King.com that links to a selling page on US chain Dylan's Candy Bar's website.
It also appears the candy is currently limited to the US, though King's global presence in the west suggests it's surely only a matter of time before a global roll out is on the cards.
Nordeus: You can skip the US and still achieve global success
Is it possible for UK and European studios to have global success without chasing consumers in primary markets such as the US?
According to Nordeus – the studio behind football favourite Top Eleven – it's not only possible, it's also been done many times.
"You can achieve global success by ignoring the primary markets and focusing on the rest of the world," said head of business development Nikola Cavic at GDC Next in Los Angeles.
"In primary markets - the US, UK, Germany, France, and Italy - the CPI is at the very least $1.50, but the costs have escalated. It's not uncommon to pay $2-5 per users. But in secondary markets like Spain, Brazil, China, and Saudi Arabia, it's less than $1.50 CPI.
"We've done it, other developers can do it, and so can you."
5 simple steps to designing the perfect app icon
Last week saw PocketGamer.biz favourite George Osborn return to our pages to dish out another top five tips.
Having already tackled screenshots, app descriptions and localisation, this week Osborn detailed how developers can make the perfect app icon.
"Despite the fact that we all love the idea that we only judge something on the quality of what lies within, external appearances always have an impact on our final decision," opened Osborn.
"Those little tiny squares – sometimes with curved edges, sometimes not – have a genuine impact on just how many downloads your title can amass. What's more, poorly designed ones can result in your release being rejected by the platform holder."
You can read George's full guide here.
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