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Hot Five: Candy Crush’s latest game, Apple fights Epic and the DMA, and InnoGames salaries revealed

Our quick-fix roundup of the hottest stories on PocketGamer.biz
Hot Five: Candy Crush’s latest game, Apple fights Epic and the DMA, and InnoGames salaries revealed

Start your week right with our quick take on the stories that are impacting the mobile industry right now.

To help get you primed and ready for another week in mobile gaming, we’ve curated the biggest stories you need to know from the last seven days.

1) Apple reinstates Epic Games’ App Store developer account as EU’s Digital Markets Act bites

After revoking Epic Games’ iOS App Store access, then returning it in line with the DMA, and then revoking it again, Apple has once more reinstated Epic Games’ App Store developer account. This follows pressure from the European Commission after Apple called Epic "verifiably untrustworthy".

Epic was originally removed from Apple’s App Store for integrating alternate payment options into Fortnite, but with the DMA holding "gatekeepers" accountable, Epic now plans to relaunch Fortnite via the Epic Games Store on iOS.

2) Candy Crush Solitaire soft launches in Canada

King’s latest game Candy Crush Solitaire has soft-launched in Canada in the latest experimental twist on its renowned Match-3 IP. The title first released to a select group of players in July 2023 and has now broadened its audience country-wide, giving intrigued fans a taste of the card game in the Candy Crush style.

Candy Crush Solitaire is based on Robert Hogue’s 1989 version of solitaire called TriPeaks, where the goal is to play all cards from three pyramids before the player turns over their whole deck; the more cards they have remaining at the end, the more coins they earn.

3) 'Older' executives at Alibaba's Lingxi Games to step aside

Lingxi Games head Zhan Zhonghui has announced in a company-wide email his intentions to step down this month alongside two other executives, now that he approaches 50. The reason is to give younger staff room to grow and flourish in management roles and to avoid "getting stuck in old ways".

Seasoned game producer Zhou Bingshu is in his mid-thirties and will take over the head role at Lingxi Games.

4) InnoGames reveals staff salaries: So how do your compensations compare?

March 6 marked Equal Pay Day in Germany, and German games developer InnoGames updated its published salary bands in solidarity with the day's aims. Approximately 80% of its workforce has been covered in the bands in a range of roles and experience levels from developer to analyst, junior to head, in the interest of ensuring fairness as job seekers enter new employment.

Among the reveals, InnoGames shared that a junior QA engineer at the company can expect to earn €38,000 to €50,000 while a junior developer can expect €48,000 to €58,000. At the highest level, QA engineering experts earn upwards of €85,000 where head developers make €115,000 annually.

5) Eggy Party helps drive NetEase games revenue up 9.4% to $11.5 billion in 2023

Chinese games giant NetEase generated ¥81.6 billion ($11.5 billion) from its games division in 2023, marking a 9.4% increase from ¥74.6 billion ($10.4 billion) in 2022, according to its latest financial report.

Gross profit from games rose by 18.9% year-over-year to ¥55.5 billion ($7.8 billion), comprising the vast majority of its ¥63.1 billion ($8.9 billion) total gross profit. Mobile gaming revenue especially saw growth, attributed to the success of games like Justice and Eggy Party.