Hot Five

Balancing Wither, TinyLoot's retention power and the departure of Keith

Last week's top 5 stories

Balancing Wither, TinyLoot's retention power and the departure of Keith

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.


Click here to view the list »
  • 5 Carrots and sticks: How F2P designers should balance wither and daily rewards

    Carrots and sticks: How F2P designers should balance wither and daily rewards logo

    Our most recent Monetizer Mavens column aimed to tackle one of free-to-play's most complex issues - at least from a development standpoint - head on.

    The question: how can free-to-play designers balance wither and daily rewards?

    The answer: why should they have to?

    "Wither is a frustrating mechanic. During the first wave of F2P Facebook games, when FarmVille was a widespread cultural phenomenon with little competition, this was an acceptable mechanic for players," explained design consultant, Ethan Levy.

    As a mechanic, wither feels arbitrary and punishing.

    "In a world with plenty of competition for your city simulation time, a player can easily avoid games with this sort of obviously frustrating feature."


  • 4 How successfully has Hothead's Kill Shot taken aim at top grossing charts?

    How successfully has Hothead's Kill Shot taken aim at top grossing charts? logo

    Hothead Games explosion-riddled FPS Kill Shot - which sounds like the sort of game you'd expect Steven Segal to finance - has been making headlines recently for all of the wrong reasons.

    See, even though the title doesn't feature a single deer, Glu Mobile went ahead and filed a lawsuit against the Hothead, alleging Kill Shot violates various copyright and trade infringement laws.

    We've not got our legal hat on today, so we're going to steer clear of the dispute until it's resolves.

    However, we did have one question: how much revenue has Hothead's 'stolen' game been bringing in? The obvious answer is 'enough to worry Glu's lawyers', but we wanted to dig a little deeper.

    It was time to break out the Charticle.


  • 3 Finnish shooter specialist Critical Force wins our Slush 2014 Big Indie Pitch

    Finnish shooter specialist Critical Force wins our Slush 2014 Big Indie Pitch logo

    If you were in Finland for Slush 2014, you might have noticed a horde of indie developers gathered around the On The Rocks bar the night before organisers kicked off proceedings.

    Naturally, we were responsible for all of the commotion, because that horde was there for one reason, and one reason only: to take part in our world-famous Big Indie Pitch.

    The quality of the entries was - as always - extremely high, and our judges saw everything from colourful puzzlers, to innovative auto-runners, to smashing gallery shooters. It was a gaming feast. 

    Of course, there could only be three winners of our advertising spend prizes.

    Who were they? You know where to find out.


  • 2 How TinyLoot increased Smash Bandits' retention 50% and doubled ARPU

    How TinyLoot increased Smash Bandits' retention 50% and doubled ARPU logo

    Dutch outfit Tinyloot, which is currently soft launching in the Netherlands, is an Android-only platform that gives developers the ability to reward players that engage with their content with in-game micro-transactions.

    Sure, it's a good system in theory, but does it work?

    The short answer is yes, it does, and according to UK developer Hutch Games, which used the system in its 2013 release, Smash Bandits, retention for TinyLoot players is more than 50 percent higher than those who don't get rewarded.

    So, how can you find out exactly how TinyLoot increased Smash Bandits' retention by 50 percent and doubled its ARPU?

    By looking at our Chart of the Week, of course.


  • 1 The birth and death of mobile: My 8 years at Pocket Gamer

    The birth and death of mobile: My 8 years at Pocket Gamer logo

    Last week was a time of change for PocketGamer.biz, with former editor Keith Andrew moving on after 8 years.

    Before he said a final farewell, he treated us to a feature that looked back at how mobile has evolved over the past 8 years, for better, and for worse.

    "The dawn of smartphones – and their associated app stores – briefly gave the illusion that we were heading for simpler times," explained Andrew.

    "With just a couple of taps, someone could pay and install a game that – in the case of iOS, at least – would almost certainly run on their handset.

    "Problem is, with iPhone and its brethren came a whole new set of problems."


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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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