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Week in Views - Squads busted, Apple crushed, War zoned and Snoozin' with the Snorlax…

The Pocketgamer.biz team pick their highlights from the headlines this week and deliver the stories behind the stories
Week in Views - Squads busted, Apple crushed, War zoned and Snoozin' with the Snorlax…
  • 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

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.

Craig Chapple

Craig Chapple

Head of Content

Supercell's Squad Busters launches globally on May 29th

The biggest story in mobile this week is, of course, the news that Supercell will launch Squad Busters worldwide on May 29th.

It’s been five and a half years since the Finnish developer released its last game, Brawl Stars. I remember being at the Helsinki studio for the launch!

It was a long journey to that game’s global release - it even looked like it might get cancelled. But the team continued to roll out the changes, such as famously shifting from portrait to landscape, while its Android soft launch helped propel the title to greater heights.

And it all worked out! Brawl Stars has been a multi-billion dollar hit and, after years of decline, its revenue has supercharged over the last few months thanks to the additions of features such as Starr Drops.

I noted in my analysis of Supercell’s games and its company changes that a lot has been said about the long wait for the company’s next game. Supercell was being written off, it was past its best. All frankly valid criticism of a company that has ultimately seen revenue decline and were seemingly unable to launch a game.

But Supercell has its own way of running a games business, unbound by the need for growth at all costs all the time. It could release more games, but it prioritises quality and its reputation higher than short-term gains.

If it takes five and a half years to make a $1 billion hit - if Squad Busters can indeed hit that milestone, the industry will be watching closely - then perhaps it’s worth the wait?

Daniel Griffiths

Daniel Griffiths

Editor - PocketGamer.biz

Apple reins in Vision Pro plans following dwindling demand and disappearing apps

Of course Apple are no strangers to having lukewarm launches. For every fanboy there are 50 naysayers who’ll slam any new Apple platform as a failure the moment that it's unveiled. And a $3,499 device in a market that was already struggling for a reason to exist does indeed look like madness.

Perhaps the Apple higher-ups had got a little high on their own supply following the weighty post-launch turnarounds that followed the head-scratching pre iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch launches. Maybe they’d forgotten about the indifference that still greets their single-use Homepod or - perhaps worse - got so complacent on past success that they’re now invulnerable to more recent failures no matter how often they conjure them into being.

Sure a $3,499 AR/VR headset would always be a tough sell. But the audience would come. The apps would flow. And come 2025 they’d release the ‘real’ one at half the price and twice the utility. That game plan stacks up.

However, that game plan also depends on the first gen generating enough money and interest to fund the reduction in price that a more profitable second gen product demands. And - with unit production actually ramping DOWN before its international launch it’s safe to say that this tech isn’t getting any cheaper any time soon.

What’s worse is the hoped for rush of new apps - making sense and use of the headset even when Apple themselves couldn’t (and which has happened to great effect in the past) - simply hasn’t happened this time around. By one metric the final week of March saw just ONE new true Apple Vision Pro app hit its App Store.

Sure, it’s still looking for its killer app. Sure, it’s way too expensive. But for this tech to simply die before it has had a fair chance to change would be a huge shame. We hope that magic strikes and miracles happen and, after the familiar farrago and fumble post new product category launch, we wind up with affordable and essential tech that we can fall in love with.

Paige Cook

Paige Cook

Deputy Editor

Call of Duty Warzone: Mobile generated 'just' $6.92 million in its first month

With over 50 million pre-registrations it's clear that Call of Duty still has a significant pull on gamers and had players keen to dive into the franchise’s latest foray into mobile with the release of Warzone.

This latest figures however show that the game has only made $6.92 million in its first month. It's not a number you would usually say negatively, but previous game, Call of Duty Mobile brought in a massive $44 million in the same amount of time… So what’s gone wrong?

Well, the answer is simple: the game wasn't ready. The concept of Warzone on mobile is a good one, but the actual game itself falls flat; it has performance issues, it drains your battery extremely fast, even on the latest handsets, and then there’s the issue of the game being riddled with bots. What fans are left with feels more like an underbaked cash grab rather than a fun Call of Duty experience on mobile.

It’s a shame all around because players have missed out, and from a business sense, if the game had been released in better shape, it could have reached or perhaps even surpassed the numbers for Call of Duty Mobile.

Now, I’m sure the team will be hard at work trying to improve the experience, but with mobile gaming, once a player hits that uninstall button, it’s very difficult to get them to come back. So I’m left wondering: Is the damage already done, or is there hope further down the line for Warzone?

Aaron Astle

Aaron Astle

News Editor

Pokémon Sleep goes IRL with $1,800 hotel experience for fans

If you need to take a moment to relax today, I’d suggest having a look into Pokémon’s upcoming hotel experience. Because - to celebrate Pokémon Sleep’s first anniversary this summer - the game is partnering with a hotel of all things…

Together with the Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Japan, "a range of charismatic wellness experiences" are being prepared as we speak to give guests some much needed R&R. And what could be more restful than sleeping beside a Snorlax, indulging in herbal teas, or eating a Pikachu pancake?

Okay, admittedly that last one sounds equal parts disturbing and intriguing, and not the most relaxing…

Of course, if you want the premium experience - and who wouldn’t, if you’re flying all the way to Japan to share your bed with Pokémon plushies - then that will set you back almost $1,800. For one night. So sleep well! And may your pockets be lighter…