Sometimes, as the old cliché goes, the stories write themselves.
Take today's column, for example. Normally there's a good discussion over what three stories make it into the headline, but there was no need to dig much deeper than three studio-level decisions made in the US, Korea, and Europe this week.
On the happy side, chat app Kakao merged with Daum to create a titan that could corner the massive - and lucrative - Korean mobile market. Elsewhere, App Annie acquired Dutch data firm Distimo, strengthening latter's position as a powerhouse in mobile data and analytics.
Then, the counterpoint. After almost 20 years in business, Electronic Arts shuttered Mythic Entertainment following the lacklustre reception Dungeon Keeper on the App Store.
It'd be easy to say that these three business decisions are the harbingers of emerging trends in the mobile games business, but - really - they're more symptomatic of existing trends than anything else.
Now let's look past the headline and focus on the particulars that you might have missed in the Pocket Gamer Biz week that was.
E3 & PG Connects
- E3 is only weeks away! If you’ll be in town, be sure to stop by our party on Wednesday 11 June.
- PG Connects is coming to Helsinki on June 16, and we already have Supercell CEO Illka Paananen and representatives from King, Nordeus, Rovio, and Wargaming (among many, many others) signed up to speak. Still not convinced? Here are 10 reasons why you should attend. Incidentally, this might be your last chance to save money on your pass.
- We also shed some light on a few of our speakers, namely Playground's Wilhelm That, AppLift's Jean-Philippe Decka, Creative Mobile's Vladimir Funtikov, and Housemarque's Mikael Haveri.
Tools and Platforms
- After squashing 450 bugs, Unity has announced that Unity 4.5 is now available.
- While 2D-focused Gingee rolled out a very cross-platform development tool.
- Our Weekly UK App Store game charts noted that Lego and Minecraft are building something big on iPad.
- And real money reward platform Skillz announced its launch on iOS.
- Our Charticle this week looked at indie hit Thomas Was Alone's performance on the App Store.
- Meanwhile, Boom Beach's burst gave Supercell enough oomph to score three games in the top 10 grossing.
- Full Indie UK's Trevor Klein shared his thoughts on how to get the most from your in-game voiceovers.
- King's business performance director Jan Wedekind spelled out why Bubble Witch Saga needed a sequel.
- While Blizzard's Eric Dodds gave us a comprehensive look at the making of Hearthstone.
- Staff Writer Chris Kerr shared four things he learned at Nordic Game.
- And Carter Dotson of 148Apps chimed in on why Twitch needs to focus on mobile if it hopes to stay relevant.
- Mr. Saito, the PR manager for Colopl, shared his company's thoughts on bringing the skill-based RPG Slightshot Braves to the west.
- And deltaDNA's Mark Robinson pointed out the five player types you should recognise to drive long-term engagement.
- Looking at optimising your LTV? adjust's Christian Henschel recommends an effectively implemented cohort analysis.
User acquisition, retention, and discovery
- NativeX announced the launch of a new, customisable ad exchange tailor-made for F2P games.
- And Grand Cru's Maikko Wilkman shared his thoughts on why an App Store promo spot can do more harm than good in the long run.
- Meanwhile, Puzzle & Dragons continues its rise in the west as it crossed north of 4 million downloads in North America.
- But all's not well for P&D in Japan - upstart Monster Strike is currently jockeying for the #1 spot in top grossing after it pushed Mixi's market cap past DeNA's.
Funding, acquisitions, personnel, and shutterings
- As mentioned in the headline, App Annie acquired Distimo, Kakao merged with Daum, and EA shuttered Mythic Entertainment.
- Dundee-based F2P studio Outplay got a $5 million boost from Oxford Capital.
- Not to be outdone, Egg Baby dev Nix Hydra raised $5 million in Series A funding to create games by, and for, female gamers.
- Rovio, meanwhile, shored up its non-games business with a round of three strategic hires for its product licensing team.
- Finally, Chukong postponed its US IPO despite seeing its Q1 2014 sales tick up 208 percent to $60 million.