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PocketGamer.biz's most read articles of the decade (if Supercell didn't exist)

A look back on the last decade (if Supercell didn't exist)
PocketGamer.biz's most read articles of the decade (if Supercell didn't exist)
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Supercell has, undoubtedly, become one of the biggest mobile developers in the world over the last decade. From original smash hit Clash of Clans to its MOBA spin-off Clash Royale and beyond, its games consistently rake in boatloads of cash and have turned it into a major player in the industry.

So it makes sense that every time we write a story about Supercell, our readers flock to it. Whether it be something as momentous as the launch of a new game, or even a silly story about the Clash of Clans Builder going missing, if we write about it, we know it'll be one of the top stories of the week, month, and possibly even year.

But what if Supercell had never existed? What if Ilkka Paananen summoned his inner George Bailey and wished his company had never been born, like in the fanfic I originally wrote for this intro but had to discard because it was a bit too weird?

Reader, it would probably look a bit like the list you're about to read. You may have encountered these stories before - we have already rounded up our most read articles of the last decade, after all - but it's fun to think about how our lives would be different if it hadn't been for those darn clans and their endless clashing.

#10: Miniclip’s 8 Ball Pool usurps Pokemon GO as UK’s top grossing mobile game

Miniclip’s 8 Ball Pool usurps Pokemon GO as UK’s top grossing mobile game

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Miniclip’s 8 Ball Pool usurps Pokemon GO as UK’s top grossing mobile game »

Pokemon GO had been an enormous, unprecedented hit back in the summer of 2016. So when it started to slip from its top spots, everyone was quick to jump on it as being some kind of huge failure.

Time has proven that Pokemon GO cannot be killed, but for a time, Miniclip's 8 Ball Pool did overtake it - specifically, the publisher's pool game topped the UK App Store grossing charts on January 10th 2017.

Did it stay there for long? Who cares. The important thing for most people was that Pokemon GO could be beaten, and there was still hope for other games yet.

There's always a bigger fish, of course. Fortnite, Minecraft, Clash Royale, Brawl Stars... the list goes on. Big games come and go, but it takes real guts to last - something Pokemon GO has done with aplomb.

#9: 9 growth hacking tips to boost your mobile game's success

9 growth hacking tips to boost your mobile game's success

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9 growth hacking tips to boost your mobile game's success »

If your game isn't growing, then neither is your business - it's little wonder then that Pascal Clarysse's 2014 guide to growth hacking remains a top article for our readers.

Some of the tips are undoubtedly old-hat by now - five years on, surely everyone knows that YouTube is a good way to gather players - but it's always interesting to look back on what worked before to see if it could work again.

"Playable advertisements are the next generation of paid UA. Voxel and mNectar spearhead the field. Think "the Gaikai of mobile". They take your APK or IPA and stream play sessions inside other apps through the cloud, using virtualization software. After a short time, ad freezes and promotes install," wrote Clarysse at the time on the topic of the now hugely-popular trend of playable ads.

"This new model eliminates many unnecessary steps from the mobile funnel. If the developer's job is to make a great game, the marketer's job is merely to make people try it."

#8: 7 mobile gaming trends to help get you rich in 2016

7 mobile gaming trends to help get you rich in 2016

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7 mobile gaming trends to help get you rich in 2016 »

Remember when we all got rich in 2016 because we read Nekki CEO Dmitry Terekhin's guide to seven mobile gaming trends? No? Maybe it was just me, then.

Naturally, nobody is guaranteed to make a ton of money based on what one man says, but Terekhin wasn't exactly wrong when he believed that brand power, soft monetisation, and continued growth in China would be big news in 2016.

"If a game can successfully attract an audience through word of mouth and brand recognition, publishers can employ less aggressive monetization strategies that would otherwise drive out non-paying players," wrote Terekhin on the subject of soft monetisation.

"On the contrary, the developer is at an advantage if they can attract and retain more people, even if they don't pay. These players offer value in the form of additional word-of-mouth acquisition and ad impressions."

#7: Peak Games’ $100 million bet on Ryan Reynolds to kick Toon Blast up a gear in the US

Peak Games’ $100 million bet on Ryan Reynolds to kick Toon Blast up a gear in the US

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Peak Games’ $100 million bet on Ryan Reynolds to kick Toon Blast up a gear in the US »

Would you spend $100 million on Ryan Reynolds to advertise your game? Peak Games thought it was worth a shot to boost Toon Blast up the charts, and thus a series of ads were born.

Shot in two days after the actor wrapped on Deadpool 2, 30 ads were created from nine finished scripts, leading to some genuinely quite funny ads featuring Mr Reynolds.

Weirdly, the ads don't seem to be working on the original article anymore - perhaps keeping Ryan Reynold's face on official channels would've cost Peak Games another $100 million.

But the move seemed to pay off. Peak Games cleared $1 billion in player spending this year, with Toon Blast making up 47 per cent of its overall revenue. Meanwhile, Ryan Reynolds was in Detective Pikachu. Everyone's a winner!

#6: How solo-developed Color Switch topped the App Store using 'codeless' dev tool Buildbox

How solo-developed Color Switch topped the App Store using 'codeless' dev tool Buildbox

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How solo-developed Color Switch topped the App Store using 'codeless' dev tool Buildbox »

In some ways, Color Switch marked the beginning of the hypercasual craze. It was incredibly simple to pick up and play, scored the top spot in the App Store charts, and then sort of vanished from memory.

But the archives remember, and they certainly remember the story of how the original release of Color Switch was developed in codeless engine Buildbox only a few years ago.

"The bottleneck of all other software that I’ve seen is that you are still coding to some degree which takes time to learn; even when I got decent at using the other software, game development would still take a long time and was very frustrating," David Reichelt, creator of Color Switch, told us at the time.

"[Using Buildbox] was like going from 0 to 60 in that now when I had an idea in my head I could see it realised within minutes instead of hours, weeks, or months; there is no more long development time and most of the frustration is gone."

#5: A wolf in sheepskin clothing: How Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen is far more than meets the eye

A wolf in sheepskin clothing: How Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen is far more than meets the eye

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A wolf in sheepskin clothing: How Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen is far more than meets the eye »

Ask a room full of mobile developers if they've ever played Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen, and you'll probably be met with stony silence.

That's not entirely unexpected - look at the name and some pictures and you'll probably disregard it as a simple dress up game for casual, female gamers. But my word, it is so much more.

Our own Ric Cowley (the man writing this very list) took a deep dive into the many, many mechanics of Love Nikki to reveal its darker, hardcore secrets to the world, and hopefully shed some light on how deep a dress up game can get.

It's a fascinating ride, if I dare say so myself, and it just goes to show how you can mix a niche aesthetic and turn it into a million-dollar empire.

#4: Mobile Legends is quietly out-grossing Arena of Valor in many countries

Mobile Legends is quietly out-grossing Arena of Valor in many countries

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Mobile Legends is quietly out-grossing Arena of Valor in many countries »

Arena of Valor, or Honor of Kings, or whichever of its many names you want to call it, used to dominate the pages of PGBiz back in the day. And to be fair, it was a huge, huge hit in China, out-grossing even Clash of Clans most months.

But outside of its home country, a little game called Mobile Legends was faring much better - something that apparently a lot of people didn't know about and definitely wanted to learn more on.

Former Features Editor Matt Suckley took a deep dive into App Annie's stats to reveal the markets Mobile Legends was winning in, and showing it had a more consistent foothold in the UK than Tencent's legendary MOBA.

MOBAs don't make the news much these days - unless you count Clash Royale, of course - but it's fascinating to see how quickly that shift has happened, given that Matt's article was written just over a year ago.

#3: A Brief History of Mobile Games: In the beginning, there was Snake

A Brief History of Mobile Games: In the beginning, there was Snake

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A Brief History of Mobile Games: In the beginning, there was Snake »

Remember Snake? The grandaddy of all mobile gaming may have fallen out of fashion in recent years, but back when all your phone was used for was texting your mates and calling your mum to tell her when you'll be home, it was the coolest kid on the block.

Back in 2016, Pocket Gamer celebrated its ten year anniversary, and we looked back on that decade with a series of articles about how the world of mobile gaming changed over time - but the Snake article came out tops.

"Obviously you can trace mobile games back to the earliest mobile phones, but mobile games didn't really take off until Nokia launched Snake," wrote guest columnist Chris Wright at the time.

"Still the most famous mobile game, Snake first appeared in 1997 on the Nokia 6610.

"It has been estimated that over 400 million copies have been shipped since and it's now in its eighth version. Not bad for a game that started life as a some black squares moving on a green background."

#2: iPhone games dominate IGF Mobile awards

iPhone games dominate IGF Mobile awards

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iPhone games dominate IGF Mobile awards »

2009 feels so long ago now, even though a decade is nothing in the grand scheme of things. But in the world of mobile games, it might as well be eternity.

So long ago was 2009 that at the time games like Fieldrunners, Zen Bound, and Real Racing were taking away top prizes at the IGF Mobile awards. Hell, I don't think there's even an IGF Mobile awards ceremony anymore.

In a world where "mobile" strictly refers to iOS and Android, one might wonder how a non-iPhone game won in 2009. And that's because a DS game, Reflection, took the "Next Great Mobile Game" award, before apparently never beind released.

It was a different time indeed, and it's fascinating to see a world in which Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, and Fortnite haven't even been dreamed up yet. Anyone else feel really old now?

#1: East Side Games on why it's not afraid of DeNA, GREE and TinyCo setting up shop in Vancouver

East Side Games on why it's not afraid of DeNA, GREE and TinyCo setting up shop in Vancouver

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East Side Games on why it's not afraid of DeNA, GREE and TinyCo setting up shop in Vancouver »

East Side Games has come a long way in the last decade, beginning as the developer behind the mildly controversial Pot Farm and slowly growing into an indie capable of wrangling licenses like Trailer Park Boys and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

But back in 2012, the studio faced an interesting challenge - behemoths like DeNA, GREE, and TinyCo setting up shop in its hometown of Vancouver.

Not that the company seemed to mind. COO Josh Nilson told us at the time that "We are very excited to see some larger companies move into Vancouver - it's booming here. It shows they know where the next wave of growth will be. Let's face it, in some areas it's really hard to hire and keep the best talent. In Vancouver we are close to everything.

"We hope they will help build up our strong mobile and social gaming scene and build our community even more."

Whatever the case, this story seems to be the most commented in PGBiz history, largely by Pot Farm fans. It's nice when the fans roll out support for their favourite games!