Hot Five

Fallout Shelter falls out, Supercell shuts Smash Land, and Rami Ismail talks truth

Fallout Shelter falls out, Supercell shuts Smash Land, and Rami Ismail talks truth

One of the advantages of following an industry mobile gaming site is that (unlike the rest of the world) our most read stories last week didn't revolve around summer heatwave headlines.

Saying that, we have chosen to call this roundup "Hot Five."

On Pocket Gamer.biz last week we had our man Matt Suckley on the ground at Unite 2015 to bring insights into How Space Ape evolved its anti-hacking strategy from Samurai Siege to Rival Kingdoms.

He also found time for an interview with Unity CEO John Riccitiello, who spilled the beans on his $5,000 Clash of Clans habit.

Our weekly Charticle also revealed that two weeks on from its stratospheric launch, Fallout Shelter is still dominating download charts, but has begun its decline in popularity.

Meanwhile, news broke that Supercell will be discontinuing Smash Land this September while Rami Ismail opened up about the mistakes that cost his studio Vlambeer $1.3 million.

For the full scoop on all last week's top stories, click through the link below.


Click here to view the list »
  • 1 How Space Ape evolved its anti-hacking strategy from Samurai Siege to Rival Kingdoms

    How Space Ape evolved its anti-hacking strategy from Samurai Siege to Rival Kingdoms logo

    Speaking on stage at last week's Unite Europe 2015 conference in Amsterdam, Bill Robinson and Simon Watmough of London-based Space Ape Games shared some tips for developers attempting to coordinate and manage games-as-a-service.

    The studio has experienced GaaS development twice over with Samurai Siege and Rival Kingdoms, and one of the biggest issues it has encountered is hacking.

    Robinson and Watmough outlined two main types of hacking they'd experienced.

    The first is "forged platform receipts, which is where a hacker is sending you a receipt for, say, the App Store and trying to trick your servers into thinking that they've bought something they haven't paid for.”

    This is relatively easy to avoid with defences built into the app stores already, so instead the biggest problem Space Ape Games faced was memory hacking.

    “The basic premise is that the hacker loads your game inside their tool, they go search for the number of diamonds they have, and then they can just go and change it to whatever they want - like, 12 million - and now they never have to spend any money.”

    For the full rundown on how the studio prevented these attacks, click the article link.


  • 2 Unity CEO John Riccitiello on GaaS, EA vindication, and his $5,000 Clash of Clans habit

    Unity CEO John Riccitiello on GaaS, EA vindication, and his $5,000 Clash of Clans habit logo

    Now in his eighth month as CEO of Unity, John Riccitello sat down with Matt Suckley at Unite 2015.

    There he opened up on his opinions surrounding games-as-a-service, as well as a post-mortem on his time as CEO of EA.

    He noted that EA is now "positioned against two-year tailwinds, faster expected console sales, transition to high-margin digital - which is the strategy I was talking about from 2007 to my entire time there.”

    “It took a while to get there, but that is what I was seeking to do and it turns out to have been the right thing to have focused on, vindicated by three things we pointed out.”

    “[The first was] 'fewer, better, bigger'. We cut titles from 60-70 to high teens, revenue went up, so driving up quality worked out. Console worked out - people didn't expect console to come back in the way that it did and it worked out fine - and digital turned out to be right.”

    He also opened up on Unity's approach to helping developers monetise their games.

    "“But we know that most companies, even those that build beautiful games, don't succeed financially - and if they don't succeed financially they're not going to get a second shot. So we're putting a lot of emphasis on the things that will enable them to find success commercially.”

    “I give out reports to everyone at Unity on a regular basis, and I never mention financials, because for the most part people here are not motivated by financials. For the most part people are in the games industry for reasons other than financial reward... but they're also not into starving.”


  • 3 It's peaked but what's surprising is Fallout Shelter's top grossing decline is so slow

    It's peaked but what's surprising is Fallout Shelter's top grossing decline is so slow logo

    One again, Fallout Shelter has made it into our top five most read stories - but this time it looks like the interest may be waning.

    Our monetization mavens had previously pointed out that the game isn't structured for longterm success.

    It doesn't have any inbuilt virality, let alone a multiplayer mode, and it's uncertain if the content will be updated regularly enough to stop power players running out of things to do.

    Now, our weekly Chartlicle revealed that the game is still clinging on to top spots in some very competitive top-grossing charts - but its grip is starting to slip.

     


  • 4 Supercell shuts doors on Smash Land development

    Supercell shuts doors on Smash Land development logo

    Supercell killed off its Spooky Pop franchise earlier this year, and now another one of its games is set to face the axe.

    Smash Land will be canned this September after the Finnish studio decided that the game was not living up to expectations.

    "Despite its popularity and positive feedback from players, it was proving difficult to reach the high standards set by our other games," it reads.

    "We did not want to continue for the sake of continuing as that is not the Supercell way."

    "These decisions are never easy, but we feel it is best to learn from what didn’t work, move on and put our efforts into making better games for you."

    In fairness, the bar was set astronomically high for Smash Land with the success of its Supercell sibling Clash of Clans - as well as Boom Beach and Hay Day.

    Australian and Canadian soft launch players were informed of the closure with a push notification that read "The Smash Land team has decided to discontinue its development."

    "In-app purchases have been disabled and the game will fully shut down on Tuesday the 1st of September. Thank you all for playing the game!"


  • 5 Rami Ismail on the mistakes that cost Vlambeer $1.3 million

    Rami Ismail on the mistakes that cost Vlambeer $1.3 million logo

    Rami Ismail, one half of indie studio Vlambeer, took to the stage at Gamelab Barcelona to open up about the mistakes he's made during his company's lifetime.

    All in all, he estimates that those wrong decisions have cost him around $1.3 million.

    "One of my first mistakes cost me $30,000," he said, referring to a poor negotiation with Cartoon Network that saw Vlambeer earn just $30,000, while a fellow developer managed to get $60,000.

    "Mistake two: our game got cloned".

    By working on Radical Fishing's iOS follow-up Ridiculous Fishing in complete secret, "We gave our cloners all the opportunity to take our idea."

    The game, Ninja Fishing, made over a million dollars according to Ismail.

    The third and most recent mistake was made by trying to fix his last one. Vlambeer live-streamed the development their new game Nuclear Throne so the ideas couldn't be pinched.

    However, "It's really hard to program when thousands of people are watching," he says, estimating that Twitch has cost the team half of its development time.


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