There was a lot of chat about independent development this week.
We talked indie successes in our making of Crossy Road feature and our coverage of Psych's 1 million download milestone, as well as getting our Indie Mavens to tackle the question of transparency and finances.
In other news, the partnerships between western and eastern companies continues to come thick and fast, with Kunlun bringing a bespoke Angry Birds to China while LA-based Firefly Games raised $8 million investment to bring Chinese games westward.
- We visited the new London office of Hutch Games, before giving the team the studio profile treatment.
- We chatted with indie duo Hipster Whale about the making of its impressive debut, Crossy Road.
- This week, our Indie Mavens were asked to discuss the topic of financial openness - should indie game developers talk more openly about where their money comes from?
- KooPee Hiltunen, director of Neogames Finland Association and guest columnist, wrote a piece about the continuing importance of game jams and hobbyists in moving things forward despite Finland's games industry skyrocketing.
- Storm8 CEO Perry Tam talked to us about his long-term vision for the company, and his unusual approach of betting big on network rather than putting all eggs in one gaming basket.
- The London-bound F2P Summit 2015 unveiled speakers from Bossa Studios and Monsters and Monsters for the March event.
- Estonian dev conference GameDev Days announced speakers from Google, Apple, Microsoft, and others.
Discovery, user acquisition, retention, and monetisation
- We updated our ongoing Soft Launch feature, which covers the 13 best mobile games undergoing fine-tuning prior to their full release.
- Our Monetizer Mavens chewed over Kabam's choice of LTV over ARPDAU - does it signal a wider shift in terms of engagement versus monetisation within the F2P industry?
- Apple introduced a promotional banner on the App Store championing premium games.
- Our Chart of the Week showed that Zynga's in-game ads earned the firm $153 million in revenue last year.
- We covered App Annie's findings that Boom Beach now sits in the top 10 for combined global revenue across iOS and Google Play.
- Research firm Newzoo predicted that, fuelled by the enthusiasm for mobile gaming in China and the east, mobile game sales will overtake console in 2015.
- In impressive news for a one-man indie project, we covered the story that Christian Baumgartner's Psych hit a million iOS downloads in just a fortnight.
- Mobile ad platform InMobi has partnered with Starcom MediaVest to drive Europe-first advertising campaigns.
Tools & platforms
- Tag Games announced an office space expansion to accommodate new hires, following the firm's move into the tools business with ChilliWorks.
- DeltaDNA released Go, an analytics service which takes the bold step of being completely free and unlimited
- We spoke to DeNA about Protocol Zero, a 3D stealth game that presents the company's first foray into VR gaming.
- Epic revealed its grant system for devs using Unreal Engine 4, open to anyone with a working protoptype. Individual payouts range from $5,000 to $50,000.
- Upsight Marketing has claimed that its new platform simplifies real-time analytics.
Funding, deals, acquisitions and personnel
- YoYo Games CEO Sandy Duncan has stepped down, after a $16 million Playtech deal.
- Execs from Seattle-based Z2Live have departed the firm to launch Mobile Game Partners, a consultancy outfit teaching others how to make and operate free-to-play games.
- Rovio has struck a partnership deal with Beijing-based Kunlun, who will be releasing a bespoke version of Angry Birds for the Chinese market.
- Firefly Games' funding round saw the LA-based company raise $8 million to bring the best of Chinese mobile games to the US.
- Sega Networks doubled down on mobile as it bought Demiurge Studios, as well as investing in both Space Ape and Digital Artists.
- Tung Nguyen-Khac has been brought in as new CEO for troubled Spil Games.
- Tencent, looking to expand its European presence, now owns a majority stake in Switzerland-based Miniclip following a major investment.
- We spoke to Animoca Brands CEO Robby Yung following the firm's partnership with OurPalm, which will see Doraemon Gadget Rush published to the massive Chinese Android market.