As the year draws to a close, we take a look back with our pick of the stories that shaped the last twelve months. This time, it’s April.
If you’re not aware of who Shueisha are, they’re the publisher behind major manga publications such as Shonen Jump and Seinen Jump. Although arguably niche, manga (Japanese comics for readers of a certain age), are big business in Japan and increasingly worldwide.
Therefore it’s no surprise that when Shueisha launched a new gaming division in April 2022 their focus was not just on one platform but multiple, including mobile. Previously, Shonen Jump properties such as Naruto, My Hero Academia and Dragonball all tended to be developed in collaboration with Bandai Namco, however this marked a significant change in direction to go first-party for the first time.
Believe it or not there was once a time when E3 was one of the most hotly anticipated events in a gamer’s calendar. Its popularity has wavered over the years but, since the outbreak of Covid-19, hosting it in-person had been completely out of the question.
It wasn’t much of a surprise then that for the third year running, April brought the news that E3 would not be coming to us live but digitally instead. While this safety first stance was commendable, E3’s reluctance to step back to ‘doing it for real’ seemed, to many, a sign of its fading relevance.
Let’s see what happens in 2023.
April was time for the Pocket Gamer Awards 2022, with plenty of major wins and notable entries. Game of the Year was taken by Beat Star, a great rhythm game developed by Space Ape Games which aced an underutilised genre on mobile.
Meanwhile, the Gamer’s choice award went to Cookie Run: Kingdom, which has previously seen major success with their BTS collaboration. Best Publisher went to Kwalee and Best Developer was won by inkle. There were more than just those awards of course, so go check out the link above to find out more.
Wargaming.net is often inextricably linked to Russia in many ways. Including the well-meaning accusation of a ‘Russian bias’ in favour of the Soviet-era tanks and planes of their games. However, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, April saw the company follow many other major brands and corporations in pulling their business out of the country.
The move was certainly a major departure from a historically important market for Wargaming on all platforms. However, it was likely worth the positive PR and dodged potential stumbling blocks that sanctions would impose to prevent them doing business in Russia for the foreseeable future.
Much as Wargaming.net is inherently ‘Russian’ so Miniclip will forever be linked to the halcyon days of flash gaming. For those of a certain age, childhoods may not be dominated by Atari, Nintendo or Playstation, but by the freely available casual games on the family’s under-powered PC desktop.
However, while their site kept delivering the gaming goods, Miniclip had soon begun to establish itself as a lot more than mere ‘flash’. As Adobe Flash slid into demise the company would seek to fully commit itself to their popular mobile titles such as 8 Ball-Pool. While bemoaned later in the year as others sensationalised their ‘death’ if anything, the move to mobile only ensures Miniclip’s new life.
Do you have a favourite mobile story from 2022? Take to Twitter with the hashtag #PocketGamerYearInReview to tell us your highs and lows of the year.
Want more? Get our pick of the best stories from May here.