Top 10 most popular PocketGamer.biz stories of 2013

The headlines that mattered the most to you

Top 10 most popular PocketGamer.biz stories of 2013

While everyone was busy writing Christmas lists for a certain Mr. Claus, we were hard at work compiling a special list of our own.

Yep, you guessed it, the annual PocketGamer.biz top 10 is back, and it's bigger and better than ever!

What stories were most popular with our audience of handsome mobile gaming professionals - that's right, I'm not above flattery - and what stories captured the hearts and souls of a generation of games industry men and women?

The answers to all of those questions, and more, lie below. Please, try and contain your excitement.

Don't become an indie developer unless you can hack the life of a fat, Ukrainian prostitute

The life of an indie developer was never going to be easy, but when Christopher Natsuume, co-founder of Boomzap Entertainment, compared the job to that of a lady of the night he had observed in the Ukraine during a talk at this year's Game Connection in Paris, it caused quite a stir.

However crudely, Natsuume was attempting to highlight that indie developers often have to go relentlessly chasing after publishers in an attempt to sell themselves, despite the fact that they'll likely be knocked back time and time again.

It's an unfortunate truth, but one that Natsuume argued is the hard, cold reality of independent game development. The further point of whether it was an appropriate comparison continues to rumble on, however. 

Stateside: Why Real Racing 3 is free-to-play's make or break moment on mobile

2013 wasn't the year that free-to-play gaming won over the hearts and minds of the masses, but in the case of some die-hards, it did take significant strides in the right direction.

Real Racing 3 was a statement of intent from EA. It was a flagship title, featuring some of the best graphics and gameplay ever to grace the mobile screen, and it was free-to-play - which our US correspondent Carter Dotson pointed out in one of his weekly Stateside articles.

With Real Racing 3, EA set out to prove that traditional 'core' gaming genres can succeed in the free-to-play market, and that mobile gamers should be prepared to give the model another chance, or risk missing out on some of the best games their devices have to offer.

Cash of Clans: Supercell's revenue hits $2.4 million a day

It would be an understatement to suggest that 2013 was merely a good year for Supercell, and the Finnish firm kicked off proceedings with a bang in April when its daily revenue rate from Clash of Clans and Hay Day reportedly hit $2.4 million.

The news came only six months after the firm had placed its daily revenue rates around the $500,000 mark, revealing it had witnessed an unprecedented growth of almost 400 percent.

PS Vita's indie assault: Devs reveal why they're rallying behind Sony's handheld

In 2013 Sony's PS Vita underwent an indie renaissance.

Despite the fact that Sony had marketed the handheld as a pocket-sized PlayStation 3, when times got tough it was the indie developers who turned the device's fortunes around - at least in terms of mindshare if not install base. 

We decided to find out why indie developers where so enamoured with the system by gathering opinions from those who were leading the Vita assault.

Nintendo makes free-to-play foray with 'tactical submarine simulator' Steel Diver

One of the more surprising free-to-play moves came in the middle of the year, when Nintendo announced that it would be launching its first free-to-play title, Steel Diver in 2014.

At the moment its unclear as to what device the game will be available on, and Nintendo is also playing coy about what monetisation model the title will adhere too.

Still, at least we can all look forward to finding out in 2014.

Nokia: Windows Phone 7.8 still on track for early 2013

The top five is where we really start to separate the wheat from the chaff, and it's no surprise to see a Nokia article up here, as the Lumia brand really rose through the ranks throughout 2013.

Indeed, we were only four days into 2013 when Nokia reiterated its intent to roll out Windows Phone 7.8 to older devices, bringing Windows 8 style features to those handsets.

It was a move that proved that the Finnish firm had no intention of forgetting about the consumers who'd jumped on the bandwagon early.

Apple's crusade against third party app promotion continues as it pulls AppGratis

Apple's war against thirdparty app promotion waged on throughout 2013, and AppGratis was the biggest casualty.

It build its audience by highlighting free apps along with other 'cool discounts'. Unfortunately, as it extended its business model into the more active promotion of always-free games and apps, it fell foul of Apple. 

Despite (or because of) raising $13.5 million, its iOS apps were pulled from the App Store.

It's believed AppGratis was officially removed due to the fact it violated Apple's infamous regulation 2.25: a clause that prevents 'app stores within an app' from being distributed on Apple's online marketplace.

But really we all know it was pulled because it was becoming too successful. 

How a game that never was almost tore Halfbrick apart

Competitive gaming is an addictive, gripping, and mischievous mistress that has the power to turn life-long friends against each other in an instant.

The team over at developer Halfbrick learned that lesson the hard way when a new game concept they'd been working on sparked an office-wide war.

Friendships were tested, battle-lines were formed, and you could almost taste the deception in the air.

Whilst the game in question, Tank Turn Tactics, never evern saw release, it proved that even small games can leave enormous emotional imprints, and served as the inspiration for Halfbrick CCO Luke Muscat's thought-provoking GDC 2013 talk.

Plague vs. Pandemic: How James Vaughan's iOS hit Plague Inc. took the market from its inspiration

Plague Inc. spread through the App Store like a virus when it was released in 2012, becoming the #1 paid-for game in the UK and the US within six days of release.

What's more impressive is that it accomplished such a feat without the support of any advertising or marketing.

But, why did Plague Inc. succeed where so many others have failed, and how did the game manage to become a hit without dropping cash on advertising, or without the help of the almighty Apple?

You know where you can find out.

Exclusive: Apple will launch an official gaming joypad soon

With mobile devices becoming more powerful, it's starting to look like there's nothing in the way of mobile gamers getting their hands on true triple-A experiences.

Unfortunately, touchscreen controls have been a constant thorn in the side of those that have attempted to bring a 'console' experience to mobile devices. Despite the best attempts of many developers, they always end up feeling complicated, unresponsive, and awkward.

It came as no surprise then, when readers flooded to PocketGamer.biz when we got word during GDC 2013 that Apple would be announcing a gaming joypad of its very own.

Of course, the 'Apple insiders' and usual crowd of experts cried no - or, more specifically, "nope". 

But there was a twist; our deep throat sources had garbled the information; Apple wasn't launching its own joypad, but an official SDK for thirdparty joypads - something even more exciting. 

What do you call someone who has an unhealthy obsession with video games and Sean Bean? That'd be a 'Chris Kerr'. Chris is one of those deluded souls who actually believes that one day Sean Bean will survive a movie. Poor guy.