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Regulation with teeth, Game Freak’s new IP, and Square Enix’s AI backtracking | Week in Views

The team pick their highlights from the headlines this week and deliver the stories behind the stories
Regulation with teeth, Game Freak’s new IP, and Square Enix’s AI backtracking | Week in Views

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 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.

Craig Chapple

Craig Chapple

Head of Content

Game over for Apple as the European Commission wades in against their DMA dodge

This opinion piece was first published in the new newsletter. Sign up for more pieces like this straight to your inbox right here.

It’s official - in the European Commission’s preliminary view, Apple’s App Store has breached the Digital Markets Act and the company is likely set to face huge fines unless it changes course.

The EC said the App Store rules “prevent app developers from freely steering consumers to alternative channels for offers and content”.

Meanwhile, regulators have opened up a new non-compliance investigation against Apple over concerns that its new alternative business terms devised especially for the DMA also fall short.

A report in the Financial Times previously claimed Apple could face daily penalties of 5% of its daily turnover. Fines for non-compliance, meanwhile, can rise up to 10% of annual revenue, and up to 20% for repeated infringements.

Apple can’t ignore this one like it did those €5 million weekly fines from the Netherlands.

I’ve been hearing two sides of the Digital Markets Act debate. On the one hand, some are saying it’s heavy-handed and has unintentional consequences including creating uncertainty for companies looking to comply with the rules, restricting innovation, and ultimately even hurting consumers.

Bloomberg reported Apple blocked the release of Apple Intelligence in the EU because the DMA impacts its security, specifically highlighting interoperability requirements.


The other side is that regulation is clearly needed to keep large tech companies like Apple in check and ensure a healthy, competitive market. Innovation is also restricted if a platform holder sets out arbitrary rules restricting competition and favours its own business incentives above all else.

Wherever you stand, heavy-handed regulation is what happens when industries and companies can’t - or won’t - regulate themselves, even when there are serious warning signs.

Apple has so desperately wanted to defend its 30% and anti-steering practices, while at the same time trying to charge publishers even more to get users into their apps, that it has effectively ignored those warnings.

Now the DMA is here and is showing its teeth, leaving Apple with increasingly little room to run in the EU. This is what happens, and it’s a problem of big tech’s own making.

Paige Cook

Paige Cook

Deputy Editor

Square Enix still sees "tremendous potential" in AI but is wary of the "many risks involved"

In January, Square Enix’s CEO Takashi Kiryu wrote a New Year’s letter in which he shared that the studio had plans to focus on global collaboration and “aggressive” use of AI. He said leveraging AI could bring “new forms of content to consumers.”

Fast-forward to June, and Kiryu has now stated in a shareholders meeting that while AI brings “tremendous potential,” there are also “risks involved”. 

That’s quite the shift in opinion. We know that when some big new trend emerges, businesses jump on it, and sometimes caution gives way to wanting to be the first to make the biggest and best thing around whatever the latest buzzword is. Square Enix has dabbled in various fields, from blockchain to NFTs, and they still have a hand in Web3.


Kiryu also mentions that AI is an “extremely delicate” subject with consumers. I think the consumer is and will become more of a focus point in how these studios use AI.

Consumers are far more involved with the products they purchase than ever before, so if they spot a studio creating a game that features heavy-handed use of AI, perhaps at the detriment of real-life talent, you can bet they will call it out.

Maybe this change of strategy is simply to be more cautious, or perhaps Square Enix doesn't want to be seen as riding the AI train too hard. Either way, I expect other studios may take a similar stance, and ultimately, a more cautious approach wouldn't be a bad thing.

Aaron Astle

Aaron Astle

News Editor

Pokémon developer Game Freak’s first mobile exclusive is new IP, Pand Land

It’s not often we get a new title from Game Freak that isn’t a part of the Pokémon franchise, and rarer still is a new mobile game. In fact, Pand Land is Game Freak’s first-ever mobile exclusive, out now in Japan, with no Nintendo console release in sight.

Being new to the mobile-only game, Game Freak partnered up with WonderPlanet for co-development duties, and though the two did apparently clash at times, they’ve ultimately created an original IP in Pand Land.


Curiously, the title's art direction is quite similar to the blocky style of Pokémon Quest,  the only mobile Pokémon spinoff Game Freak has developed. But it's a brand-new property all about sailing the high seas and searching for treasure.

And being such a veteran of console game development, Game Freak has designed Pand Land to be "like a console game, but an easy and simple game that can fit in one hand".