The games industry moves quickly, and we don't always get a chance to put our thoughts across about every story that breaks.
As such we've created a weekly digest where members of the PocketGamer.biz team can share their thoughts on some of the more interesting things that have happened in mobile gaming over the past week.
Netflix are straying into the world of AAA gaming as part of their latest move into gaming with its new shooter, but what does this mean for its mobile arm?
Netflix have been on a successful trajectory, expanding with new studios in some of the world’s mobile hotspots. However, the company has struggled to engage players. An AAA title may be less profitable, especially given the fact that signs point to the game being free for Netflix subscribers, but it’s exactly the sort of flashy move that could attract new players.
AAA titles are sexy, despite the fact that mobile gaming remains the largest sector of the gaming industry, and this move could boost the profile of the company’s mobile games in addition to attracting a fanbase of its own.
The company’s basis in streaming also offers the company the chance to leverage the success of existing IPs.
Outside of mobile titles, the company has seen great success with collaborations, such as a crossover between sci-fi series Stranger Things and popular multi-platform horror title Dead by Daylight. The company’s existing portfolio of first-party titles mean that it’s well-placed to create a game that already has a built-in fanbase.
Apart from Stranger Things, which already has a VR game on the way, there are numerous titles within the company’s portfolio that are seemingly perfect for video game adaptations, including hits such as Alice in Borderland, All of us are Dead, and Squid Game. Regardless of whether this title is original or based on an existing franchise, the company is well-placed to succeed as it expands its gaming interests, and boost its profile as a legitimate game maker in the process.
China is easily one of the hottest topics on the site, and for many good reasons. For a start, their current unwieldy restrictions on gaming, on what can be published there and the heavy stance against globalisation make for a narrative that seems simply alien compared to most of the ‘West’. Add to that the fact that it has the largest population in the world, and that quite a few goliaths of the mobile industry have roots there and… well, it’s fascinating.
News that Sony and Microsoft are both pushing into the space, attempting to hoover up interest from developers with a little bit of honey is not surprising at all, but at a time when Chinese industry bodies are reporting success with their goals of reducing online play time I’m wondering if the two console giants are too late.
In my opinion it feels as though China has been taking these steps - removing birth control, restricting online gaming time, controlling extra-national media - to resist a kind of Lost Generation situation where a population declines while also being radicalised against itself through entertainment-adjacent channels. The West is currently living that, with popularism and nationalism on the rise and a mass of infighting between increasingly segregated and divided sections of the population.
But, to wrap that tangent, if the nation’s own industry bodies are declaring the experiment as success, then maybe they will move to end it? If that happens, and the licensing restrictions lift, then Tencent and NetEase can shirk the legislative chains that have been holding them back, and Microsoft and Sony’s money will be wasted.
Yes, the world has gone to hell in a handcart. Global belts are being wound in so tight that our eyes might pop and there’s quite literally ‘a war on’. Christmas is looking more like a wallet-blitzing smash-and-grab than a celebration and the national grid’s Twitter account thinks it’s April Fool’s Day. The only upsides to right now is that bird flu looks like it’ll make your annual battle for a turkey redundant and our fingers are so frozen that we can’t turn the heating on. Phew…
But it’s good to know that somewhere common sense prevails and through careful thought and smart planning brighter days lie ahead. This week Germany pledged €72 million to fund games development in Germany through 2023, being the largest and most forthright yet of what feels like every developed nation’s attempts to capitilize on an industry obviously in growth. Needless to say the likes of Ireland, Finland, France, Spain and more aren’t far behind. It works a little something like this: You put the money in – you get more back in return. Complicated, I know.
Meanwhile in the UK devs are getting £2.66 million in 2023 and that’s locked for the next three years. No wonder UK gaming talent isn’t so much moving abroad as actively jumping ship. Anyone remember From Bedrooms to Billions? Still, us plucky Brits left behind while the world marches on will bumble through and find a way, eh? 10p for a cup of tea, guv?… Wait… A cup of tea is HOW MUCH!?!
When I was in university only about a year ago, I took a module for video games that covered them in-depth in an academic context. One of the primary subjects of that was video game preservation…and how even a relatively young medium like games are incredibly fragile when it comes to preserving them.
It’s rather fitting then, that one of the stories that came up this week was about game preservation as well. Specifically about Deus Ex Go, one of the entries in Square Enix Montreal’s ‘Go’ series. I was a huge fan of Human Revolution and even Mankind Divided, so the Deus Ex series is dear to my heart (yes, I have played the original too before you ask).
In this way it’s really a bit of a double-whammy to see another part of the unfairly shortened new series of Deus Ex games lost to time, as well as a pretty prominent example of how game preservation is overlooked. The idea of losing access to a game you paid upfront for is also, to say the least, not fun. But that’s a matter of legality, I’m sure.
It was also eerily prescient that earlier this week I covered the topic of game preservation in a feature on the site. Then the very next day, this news comes out. It’s at once satisfying that it was so topical, and sad to end up with more evidence to support it.