Week in Views - What caught our eyes in the last seven days

The Pocketgamer.biz team take their pick of this weeks big news, including OpenAI Wars, job crisis (what job crisis?), studio closures and livestreaming's hottest new player…

Week in Views - What caught our eyes in the last seven days

The games industry moves quickly and while stories may come and go there are some that we just can't let go of…

So, to give those particularly thorny topics a further going over we've created a weekly digest where the members of the PocketGamer.biz team share their thoughts and go that little bit deeper on some of the more interesting things that have happened in mobile gaming in the past week.

Daniel Griffiths Editor - PocketGamer.biz Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest entertainment media brands in the world. He's interviewed countless big names, and covered countless new releases in the fields of videogames, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors and garden design. Yup, he said garden design… He’s the ex-Editor of PSM2, PSM3, GamesMaster and Future Music, ex-Deputy Editor of The Official PlayStation Magazine and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Rhythm, Computer Music and more. He hates talking about himself.

OpenAI's chaos is over: Sam Altman is back on the throne. So what just happened and what's next?

I guess the question is, after seemingly getting it all off my chest in the article above, what more can I possibly have to say about the OpenAI Vs Sam Altman pantomime that played out last weekend?

Answer is not that much, other than to draw attention to the important bit that didn't get enough attention at the time - the reason why they got rid of Altman in the first place.

With too much gawping drawn to the departure of their CEO, his co-founder and potentially the vast majority of their staff, the eye has been taken off the real ball in play here. That being that Altman's team have recently had a technical breakthrough of such a magnitude that a difference of opinion on what to do next, prompted the axing of the guy who - by all accounts - made the whole thing possible in the first place.

It would seem that this whole mess WILL make sense one day soon, and that will be with the reveal of just what caused OpenAI to rip itself apart. If the rumours are true and they've made something that can do for maths what their smart-alec what-comes-next chat app has done for text and speech, then we're all about to embark on a whole new trip.

Hold tight.

Craig Chapple Head of Content Craig Chapple is a freelance analyst, consultant and writer with specialist knowledge of the games industry. He has previously served as Senior Editor at PocketGamer.biz, as well as holding roles at Sensor Tower, Nintendo and Develop.

Why is the UK games industry struggling to fill vacancies despite mass layoffs?

The last couple of weeks has seen industry data surface that compounds longstanding and recent issues.

There have always been layoffs and studio closures in the games sector, but this year has proven particularly punishing. As noted in this article, one games industry layoffs tracker (!) estimates there have been more than 8,000 job losses so far this year - and that’s just the reported ones.

The other longstanding issue - I even ran a feature on the topic in September 2015 back in my Develop magazine days - are the lack of opportunities available for aspiring junior developers. Studios want the top senior talent to build the best games. That’s understandable, but it must be crushing for young developers fresh out of university (or other career path) to see that, according to Games Jobs Live, there are only 34 junior vacancies at studios in the UK out of 1,170 open positions right now.

And to get those roles, they are competing with thousands of other young developers, and numerous laid off employees looking for their next role in the sector. On top of that, remote work may not be an option, so it could require relocation.

It’s a shame more isn’t being done to provide opportunities. I’m sure for successful companies that’s just business. But if there is a skills shortage for senior developers in the UK, it’s a short-sighted attitude for the industry.

Paige Cook Deputy Editor Paige is the Deputy Editor on PG.biz who, in the past, has worked in games journalism covering new releases, reviews and news. Coming from a multimedia background, she has dabbled in video editing, photography, graphic and web design! If she's not writing about the games industry, she can probably be found working through her ever-growing game backlog or buried in a good book.

Supercell-backed studio Papukaya is closing down after three years

Papukaya’s CEO and co-founder, Drussila Hollanda, broke the sad news over Linkedin that Papukaya would be closing down. This just goes to show how difficult making games is and particularly how challenging the mobile market can be to navigate.

The company was founded in 2020, so it already had a tall order having to contend with getting off the ground during a pandemic, and the nature of Papukaya’s games being experimental and relatively niche just hasn’t worked out in the long run, despite having backing from the giant that is Supercell.

It’s sad to see a team with such out-of-the-box thinking unable to make this work, but at the same time, I commend the decision to know when to call something quits. Hopefully, it's just a case of going on to the next adventure. When the dust settles, I would love to chat with the Papukaya team because there are valuable learnings here that many studios would benefit from hearing.

Aaron Astle News Editor Aaron is the News Editor at PG.biz and has an honours degree in Creative Writing. Having spent far too many hours playing Pokémon, he's now on a quest to be the very best like no one ever was...at putting words in the right order.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Noice: Is this the future of livestreaming?

My week started off at a preview event for the latest livestreaming platform, Noice, geared towards gamers who want to “play the stream” themselves. Giving viewers something to keep their hands busy and minds active while they watch a stream that relates directly to that stream is an intriguing concept, and I was eager to try it out.

It proved to be a fun time, but is this the future of livestreaming? Jussi Laakkonen’s latest project certainly fits the bill for an innovative new concept at the very least, with plenty for streamers and viewers to get involved with if they reach out for closed beta access.