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Hot Five: Flying the freemium flag, Disney scores a direct hit and why CSR Racing haters are xenophobes

Last week's top five stories
Hot Five: Flying the freemium flag, Disney scores a direct hit and why CSR Racing haters are xenophobes

Welcome to's weekly rundown of the stories clocking up the hits, picking up the click-throughs and generally keeping the advertisers happy by serving up page views.

Or, if you'd prefer, the top five stories currently dominating our readers' attention.

Each week, we'll be counting down the biggest news from the previous seven days, giving just a glimpse of the industry's big issues, from five to one.

Freemium haters are 'xenophobic', says Boss Alien's Jason Avent

God bless Boss Alien's Jason Avent. In his 40 minute talk at last week's F2P Summit in London, Avent served up a good three or four headline-worthy quotes.

Most notable, however, was his somewhat jovial remark that gamers reluctant to take to freemium releases spamming App Store reviews with negative comments are guilty of "xenophobia".

"This is early days for freemium," added Avent.

"At the moment, freemium is like a dodgy used car salesman we're still learning. We will get cleverer at all this eventually. Sell users what they want when they need it - that's the future, I think."

Direct hit for Disney: Where's My Water? joins 100 million club

The news that Disney's Where's My Water? had hit 100 million downloads wasn't just a sign of the continued ability of mobile franchises to reach huge audiences. It was also a vindication of Disney's mobile strategy.

From the outset, Disney had said it wanted the game's lead Swampy the Alligator to be the kind of worldwide icon the firm is more used to fostering through its animated movies.

Where's My Water? appears to be on the way to achieving this aim, with Disney dubbing the title the "breakout mobile game of the past year."

Sega Hardlight to switch focus from Vita to smartphones

There's been no official announcement, but news that Sega's Solihull-based Hardlight studio has effectively put the launch of its first Vita game on hold as it makes smartphones its priority suggests a change in focus.

The shift came as the studio appointed former Codemasters man Sion Lenton as studio manager.

"We have a huge box of toys to play with and we’ve only just begun to play with them," Lenton said of the newly refocused Hardlight.

"We are starting fairly small, leveraging Sega IP and as former console developers, learning about making games in the digital space. As you see our roadmap develop, you’ll see some more surprising & delighting uses of Sega IP, as well as original IP."

Opinion: It's time to give freemium haters the heave ho

Other than some divine quiche, the main thing editor Keith Andrew came away from the F2P Summit in London was a complete lack of tolerance for those who continue to dismiss freemium games out of hand.

"The developers, journalists and ultimately even the gamers that continue to dismiss freemium games as a rule will ultimately be left behind over the course of the next five years," offered Andrew.

"Now is not a time to be found trailing way behind the curve."

Developer calls out Apple's 'disastrous' App Store update in iOS 6

Just how have developers been impacted by Apple's changes to the App Store in iOS 6?

Though arguably a visual improvement over its predecessor, according to one developer Lightwood Games founder and CEO Chris Newman the changes are nothing short of "disastrous"for indie developers.

The worst change, he claims, is the removal of new games from the charts tab a move that significantly lessons an indie's opportunity to "grab people's attention, build the initial user base and gauge the public's reaction without needing to spend a fortune on marketing."

In a follow up interview, Newman explained his issues with the store further.

"We don't expect Apple to do our marketing for us, but we want a chance to be discovered," he added.

"I'm considering a change of priorities because the App Store used to be the obvious choice for our games, but now I'm not so sure. It seems foolish not to react to these changes."