The games industry moves quickly and while stories may come and go there are some that we just can't let go of…
So, to give those particularly thorny topics a further going over we've created a weekly digest where the members of the PocketGamer.biz team share their thoughts and go that little bit deeper on some of the more interesting things that have happened in mobile gaming in the past week.
It's worth remembering that Apple's attitude to 'walled garden' and 'developer lockdown' was once so extreme that Steve Jobs famously worked hard to block any suggestion of the iPhone ever featuring an App Store. Such was his worry and doubt as to whether anyone but he and his hand-picked team deserved to have an app on his device.
Of course, the rest is history and it's brains all around the world in thousands of companies that are to thank for the real success of the iPhone and the subsequent mobile markets and platforms we all couldn't exist without today.
Which is why I'm confident that once again, devs will save the day on Apple's new highly prized (and highly priced) new hardware, their Vision Pro headset.
Sure the demos were full of Apple Apps and specially shot 3D video (in a new proprietary format of course) to show off the device, and those lucky enough to be fed the carefully choreographed idential 30 minute demo experience came away impressed. But the real 'oooh, gotta get one' will come when developers stop treating Vision Pro as 'a way to make your apps really big' and come up with something new.
I've no doubts. Apple Vision Pro's killer app is out there, deep inside the mind of devs who's greatest moment are yet to come. And given the whale-like riches required to buy the hardware it follows that there'll be a ready-to-pay audience awaiting their arrival in its App Store.
I only hope that Vision Pro's party piece arrives before it becomes a one-trick pony.
It honestly doesn’t surprise me that the best time to push ATT notifications is early on. Speaking from the position of a player myself, I like to know upfront exactly what I’m getting into and what data is required of me. So putting these notifications in during the onboarding process, or the first bit of gameplay helps set a user’s expectations.
Having these notifications pushed early on is also pretty much standard, as even Gamerefinery’s own research points out - so I feel that if you did see an app show an ATT notification say, a few minutes or even an hour or so down the line, it would stand out quite a bit more.
But the point about 'follow-up notifications' (13% of the top 200 games using them) is interesting to me. Once an app has established trust and a player has had a chance to “feel it out” so to speak I can see them being a lot more willing to share further information.
I feel this and the recent moves we’ve seen regarding Apple’s privacy manifests - plus the ongoing grappling with IDFA and user privacy in general - represents mobile game makers doing a lot more work and research as we move into more ethical and “light touch” approaches to gathering user data.
Netflix has come a long way in the games space. From its early days struggling to engage users, the company has become a veritable juggernaut of the mobile gaming industry, both through signing publishing deals or acquiring developers wholesale. While it’s still not at the same level of, say, NetEase or Tencent, Netflix has gone from a niche game maker to a recognisable one in its own right.
This summer sees Netflix expanding its interests outside of its traditional mobile base, bringing games to console and PC as well as phones, as well as making its platform the exclusive home of LEGO Legacy: Heroes Unboxed, which represents a major move towards raising brand awareness. The company has already come a long way in the games space, and this latest group of announcements represents a big step forward.
The move could also test the power of Netflix’s monetisation model. Oxenfree II: Lost Signals is due to release on PC, Nintendo, and PlayStation on the same day, with the PlayStation store listing a price of $19.99. In contrast, the mobile release will utilise the same monetisation model as the rest of the games on Netflix’s service - free, with no ads - and if players can get it for free then, absent of any smart usage of PlayStation’s DualSense 5 controller, such as haptic feedback, mobile is likely to become the best way to play the new title.
Apple wrapped up its WWDC show and the long-rumoured mixed-reality headset is now a reality with the reveal of the Vision Pro. There was talk leading up to the event that this would be the next iPhone moment and a potential game changer… Literally.
Concerning the change in stock prices, it’s not unusual to see these rise with the anticipation of the show just to drop when reality hits. This was probably to be expected, and let's be honest, it's Apple, so they’re hardly strapped for cash. However, Someone who buys the Vision Pro will find a significant dent in their wallet as the price tag sits at a massive $3,499.
Therein lies the first issue with the Vision Pro. While the product is impressive, it’s one for early adopters and the most loyal of Apple fans. You’re not going to get your everyday person picking up a Vision Pro, and it’s not magically going to trigger the mass adoption of mixed-reality headsets.
This leads me to, was the reveal the new iPhone moment? Personally, I don’t think so, and I don’t think Apple even believes that - not yet at least. I think they’re on the right path. The technology is impressive, and while it may not yet be the disruptor the iPhone was, it offers developers new opportunities for creating immersive experiences and Apple is setting the new benchmark for the VR/AR market.
The issue is, until you can get this kind of tech on shelves at an affordable price or even offer some type of contract service as we see with mobile phones, you’re not going to see a significant amount of your friends and family having a Vision Pro in the house. This reveal may be a look into the future, but the next iPhone moment isn’t going to happen until the masses can say, “I need one of those.”