Week that was

Week in Views - What caught our editorial eyes in the last seven days

The PocketGamer.biz team reflect on a week of Apple bashing and award giving

Week in Views - What caught our editorial eyes in the last seven days

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.

Daniel Griffiths Editor - PocketGamer.biz Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest entertainment media brands in the world. He's interviewed countless big names, and covered countless new releases in the fields of videogames, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors and garden design. Yup, he said garden design… He’s the ex-Editor of PSM2, PSM3, GamesMaster and Future Music, ex-Deputy Editor of The Official PlayStation Magazine and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Rhythm, Computer Music and more. He hates talking about himself.

Apple prepares to allow alternative app stores in the EU

Interesting, isn’t it? Now that it’s happened it seems obvious. Of course Apple had to relent and allow third-party app stores. Doing so gets them off so many hooks and, well, it’s a victory for common sense, isn’t it? Now Epic can do what they want. Apple don’t fall foul of any EU law and users can buy goods and services right there in the app rather than being told to clear off to a browser.

But it’s also the end of an era too. Never forget that when the iPhone first existed there was no App Store. Famously, Apple’s Steve Jobs had to be begged to even consider one. Such was his love for his immaculate walled-garden that he couldn’t bear the idea of anyone other than Apple running software on it. The compromise was that Apple policed all the submissions and charged an (at the time) reasonable 30% for all the stress, admin, hosting and serving.

And it worked. To this day (opaque ever-changing submission rules not withstanding) the App Store is a paragon of virus/porn/nonsense-free online shopping. And it’s the victim of its own success as a result. When thousands of users turned to tens of millions that 30% cut and total ownership just didn’t stack up any more… We hope and pray that the new wave of App Stores that are inevitably just around the corner take stock and remember how Apple did it right.

Iwan Morris Staff Writer Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the Pocketgamer.com editorial team in November of 2023.

Rogue Company comes to mobile with Rogue Company: Elite

Rogue Company was one of those games like Battleborn, where it was always in the back of my head as ‘oh that exists’ back when Overwatch kick-started the shooter craze. Unlike Battleborn however, Rogue Company has lived on and now seems to be making the jump to mobile too.

Activision-Blizzard gets a lot of flak for being too ‘mobile’, such as when it adopted loot boxes, but I’d argue it’s not been mobile up until Diablo Immortal was announced. Aside from the disastrous handling of the presentation, Diablo Immortal is arguably a smart move. But it also points to another major weak-point, why isn't Overwatch on mobile?

I remember when Overwatch was initially released and we were promised a multimedia franchise. Instead all we got was the occasional animation and a few comics. Meanwhile, games like Rogue Company which seemed destined to live in its shadow are shooting ahead and offering themselves to a whole new audience.

It’s a sobering reminder that all the money in the world can’t correct poor long-term strategy, and a heartening example of how a good game can continue to live on and succeed in pushing ahead.

Lewis Rees Staff Writer Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.

Gayming Awards unveils nominees for 2023 ceremony

Queer representation is a pet topic for me, so I was excited to see the announcement of this year’s gaming awards. While there were some notable names that aren’t up for contention for awards (The Quarry failed to garner any nominations despite featuring two queer characters with an optional – if unexplored – relationship) and while Horizon: Forbidden West was nominated for the Readers Award, it failed to receive any nominations for its characters despite featuring queer women in numerous important roles including, albeit implicity, the heroine.

The biggest omission, however, was the lack of mobile representation – but was this an omission? I struggle to think of a single notable queer-focused mobile game this year, and even looking further back the majority of big releases in the mobile space have been ports of existing titles.

Mobile gaming is the most accessible arm of the gaming industry for developers and players alike, but this brings with it notable issues in terms of diversity, especially as some of the world’s largest mobile gaming markets also have strict restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights, including imprisonment and the death penalty in some parts of the world.

Mobile game makers hoping to scale or find success worldwide may therefore be reluctant to include content which could prove controversial. Even outside of the mobile space, queer characters and themes are still a rarity in the media, and even rarer in starring roles.

As such, this feels far more akin to a lack of content to draw from than it does a lack of interest in mobile platforms. The media in general has a lot of catching up to do in terms of queer representation, and mobile gaming lags far behind other gaming platforms, which themselves trail television, film, and especially literature. It’s hard to create an award category with so little to draw from, and the only way to combat this lack or recognition is to create work to recognise in the first place.

The queer community is just as diverse as any other, with people capable of being romantic leads, heroes, or villains, and it’s time that mobile developers put more effort into developing titles that understand this.