Week that was

PG.biz week that was: WWDC 2011 wilts, PS Vita wins big at E3, Apple attacks Lodsys and RIM swoops for Scoreloop

PG.biz week that was: WWDC 2011 wilts, PS Vita wins big at E3, Apple attacks Lodsys and RIM swoops for Scoreloop
Ridiculously late nights streaming overly long press briefings included, it has been an exceptionally busy week in the world of PocketGamer.biz; the world of app stores, smartphone platforms, developments in mobile game making and assorted technology.

Apple's decision to schedule this year's WWDC against the long time industry bonanza that is E3 meant there was barely a minute went by when keyboards weren't being hammered at by PG.biz writers somewhere around the globe.

Strangely, however, Apple's developer conference didn't blow the world away as many expected.

From a games perspective, a general overhaul to iOS was a welcome addition, while the next Xbox Live style features winging their way to Game Center also went down well, but it's fair to say that syncing service iCloud wasn't quite what many had expected.

Still, that didn't stop Microsoft trying to claim some of the credit, with Windows Phone man Joe Belfiore tweeting he was "flattered" by the features unveiled, given he believes they mirror his platform's approach so closely.

How very Vita

It was E3's job, then, to excite the world with announcements aplenty. Nintendo's Wii U unveiling might not strictly be PG.biz territory, but it was hard to ignore the sheer spectacle of it all, given the firm's 3DS splash was so underwhelming.

Third-party support seems to be especially thin on the ground for Nintendo's latest handheld – something that can't be said of PS Vita, which was arguably the big winner at this year's show.

It certainly did enough to suggest it stands a good chance of taking on the rise of the smartphone, anyway.

Sony itself has big expectations, with Kaz Hirai revealing that, at a starting price of $249, each device will be sold at a loss. However, the company expects to be turning a profit on the venture within three years.

Vita will, of course, launch into a world now populated by scores of tablets when it hits the shelves in late 2011. Indeed, this week HP finally revealed that it's supposed iPad killer – TouchPad – will roll out across the world in July, starting at a price point of $399.

Rival HTC's Flyer has already hit the shelves in some parts of the globe, but it was the firm's smartphones that's currently making the headlines, with sales more than doubling year on year to hit $1.42 billion.

A matter of millions

This week's sales news really belonged to software, however, and the combined assault of WWDC and E3 resulted in mobile publishers and developers aplenty pumping out statistics.

Chillingo surpassed downloads of 140 million on iOS, while Gameloft hit 200 million.

Not to be undone, social mobile Storm8 also passed the 200 million mark - this time across both iOS and Android – just as Neon Play made 20 million downloads in a year.

When it came to games, Illusion Labs' Touchgrind BMX announced that downloads had surpassed 100,000 in the game's first 10 days, Pocket God hit 4.5 million, Blue Ox's free puzzler 7 Little Words sailed past 1.4 million downloads in little over a month, and Epic revealed its iOS behemoth Infinity Blade has made $10 million in earnings in its first six months.

Little wonder, then, that Ideaworks (famed for working on big licenses such as Call of Duty and Fable, amongst others) decided to launch a studio designed to focus on original IP, though we still probed team head Russell Clarke as to the reasoning behind the move anyway.

Legally speaking

But it was ultimately the platform holders that brought the week to a close. RIM's purchase of gaming network Scoreloop was particularly eyebrow raising.

As was the suggestion that Apple and Google may be forced to offer week long free trials of all their apps. Well, in Taipei City, anyway.

Yet again, however, talk of legal action was also high on the agenda this week.

Apple has reportedly issued the Wireless Industry Partnership (WIP) with a cease and desist letter over its use of the phrase 'App Store'. In response, WIP claimed the giant is yet again putting its own interests ahead of that of the development community.

Still, with Apple ending the week attempting to involve itself in Lodsys' legal challenge against developers – apparently even offering to pay studio's respective legal fees – the company went some way to restoring its credibility. Well, until next week, that is.

We'll see you then.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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