Hot Five

Former Supercell man aims to fire up F2P, how to win at Hearthstone, and the indie who couldn't afford to be indie

Former Supercell man aims to fire up F2P, how to win at Hearthstone, and the indie who couldn't afford to be indie

Welcome to PocketGamer.biz'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.

Handy for you, each headline in the list also allows you to click through to the article in full, so you can make sure you've not missed out on any of last week's big stories.


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  • 5 The next big thing: How Supercell's former analytics ace Achrén set about firing up free-to-play

    The next big thing: How Supercell's former analytics ace Achrén set about firing up free-to-play logo

    Last week, Steve El-Sharaway, a.k.a. The Finnsider, was on a mission to find out how Supercell's former analytics expert Joakim Achrén aims to lead free-to-play into uncharted waters. 

    Achrén, now at Next Games, has been given the chance to go into the unknown by creating a narrative driven F2P title in the form of Next Game's upcoming mobile effort, which is based on the hit TV series, The Walking Dead.

    "It was something that we as a company wanted to do," explained Achren.

    "High production values, very engaging but still taking into account the core of what works on mobile, which is shorter play sessions that can still cater to players who want to play for longer - not forcing them to quit too early.

    "That kind of model is something we want to keep in the future in the games we make."


  • 4 How Rovio’s growth stacks up against Mojang, King, and Supercell

    How Rovio’s growth stacks up against Mojang, King, and Supercell logo

    Rovio grabbed the headlines last week when the firm revealed that its 2013 profits were down by 51 percent.

    CFO Herkko Soininen suggested that the drop was simply the side-effect of a "foundation-building year", highlighting that the company had previously seen "three years of very strong growth".

    Has Rovio's engine merely stalled, or does it need major repairs? We compared the firm's revenue against the likes of King, Supercell, and Mojang to find out.


  • 3 Player to player economies: Why mobile needs to do it, and how Hay Day did it badly

    Player to player economies: Why mobile needs to do it, and how Hay Day did it badly logo

    When Vili Lehdonvirta of the University of Oxford suggested that mobile extraordinaire Supercell had made a mistake within one of its games, it, quite rightly, turned a few heads.

    During his talk at a recent F2P summit in London, Lehdonvirta explained that developers should be looking to include a player to player economy in their games, before pointing to Supercell's Hay Day as an example of how not to implement the system.

    "In Hay Day, you have a road side shop where you can sell your produce to other players," said Lehdonvirta.

    "But what's happened is, because the UI doesn't facilitate exchanging goods for goods directly, unofficial trading forums have sprung up where people request goods, friend each other, and then use a strange signalling system.

    "This is how not to do it."


  • 2 How to win at Hearthstone without handing over stacks of cash

    How to win at Hearthstone without handing over stacks of cash logo

    If you've managed to tear yourself away from Blizzard's hyper-competitive card battler, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, long enough to read this article, then you deserve a reward.

    Thankfully, we've got just that, and it comes in the form of the latest edition of our In-App Purchase Inspector, which teaches you how to win at Hearthstone without spending mountains of cash.

    "There's only one currency in Hearthstone, Gold, and there are two uses for it: buying packs of cards and buying entrance into the Arena," said PocketGamer.biz's IAP Inspector, Matthew Diener.

    "Gold and cards are earned abundantly in-game, and for my test run I focused on buying packs rather than making Arena runs.

    "As such, I unlocked 10 packs worth of cards for free - netting 40 cards just for sinking a few hours into Hearthstone."


  • 1 Giving up going it alone: The tale of the developer who couldn't afford to be indie any more

    Giving up going it alone: The tale of the developer who couldn't afford to be indie any more logo

    There's plenty of glitz and glamour surrounding indie developers at the moment, and with more and more indie projects seeing extraordinary levels of success, it's easy to overlook those who don't quite make it.

    If you really want to find out how difficult being a small developer is, you only need to ask Rob Caporetto: a one-man app developer who had to shut up shop because he couldn't afford to be indie anymore. 

    "My decision to wind back was the result of burn out," explained Caporetto. 

    "Attempting ‘open' development on a game whilst looking for contract work at the same time was slowly wearing my morale down. 

    "In an attempt to remove some of the stresses at the time, I decided that it wasn't really worth continuing my game development activities in their present form - at least for the moment."


What do you call someone who has an unhealthy obsession with video games and Sean Bean? That'd be a 'Chris Kerr'. Chris is one of those deluded souls who actually believes that one day Sean Bean will survive a movie. Poor guy.

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