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.
Wouldn't it be great if you could have your own social media platform? You could use it to say whatever you wanted. And silence those who you didn't like. You could let it turn into a massive random free for all of controversial opinions and hate speech… And then you could change your mind and vacilate between slamming the door shut and kicking it open, day by day, hour by hour…
You could sack all the staff and save a FORTUNE. Then, to make money you could sell a blue tick… To the people who've already got one… Ah… So you'd have to take them all away first.
And you could use it to spread lies. And misinformation based on your own opinions and whoever had your ear. And millions of people would listen. And millions of people would keep coming, every day to hoover up more and more nonsense while growing increasingly tetchy and concerned.
Then your biggest rival would clone your site and everyone would jump ship.
Sounds like a dream doesn't it? Hey… Where'd everybody go?
Out of all the stories this week I’m surprised this one has slipped under the radar for so many people. Sure, it wasn’t doors being kicked down and files being confiscated, but for an investigation to be triggered into a government body due to a petition started by players of a game is still pretty noteworthy. All too often when playerbases take action it’s usually very loud but very ineffective - however the players of Lost Ark seem to have cracked the code and actually gotten something done.
I don’t believe that’s the only reason of course, the petition reportedly only received a measly 5,000 or-so signatures. However, I think it’s more than likely this was used as partial justification for acting on long standing suspicions about GRAC. But for them to find a $46,000 shortfall is nothing short of stunning, although I think the aspect where it was supposedly used for funding crypto-mining is a bit more speculative, the idea it was skimmed off an internal project budget seems a bit more likely.
I don’t think issues like this are unique to the Game Rating and Administration Commission in South Korea. But it seems that action has been a long time coming. It’s certainly a lesson to other audiences that they can indeed manage to have action taken, although whether it’ll result in a stunning upset such as this again is anybody’s guess.
Apple’s Vision Pro is arguably the biggest new tech release since the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S in 2020 and it looks like it’s facing a similar problem: supply.
The latest console generation struggled thanks to manufacturing issues brought upon by the Covid-19 epidemic, leading to mass stock shortages as demand heavily outstripped supply - and scalpers bought up massive numbers of the consoles and sold them at significant markups.
With Apple lowering its available stock in year one by 60%, it appears that history could repeat itself. While the Financial Times estimates that Apple will shift 150,000 in the first year, Morgan Stanley predicts sales of more than 850,000, despite the hefty pricetag. Apple is more than a manufacturer, it’s a lifestyle in its own right, with fans of Apple products routinely lining up at midnight to get their hands on the latest model of iPhone - many of these people would happily spend their money on the Vision Pro, and as such a cut of over 600 thousand available units may see many walk away disappointed - or see scalpers pounce on the opportunity to profit.
However, some will say that Apple itself is expecting a lukewarm reception for the new device. While AR is certainly not new, the Vision Pro is the most ambitious device of its kind in existence, and as such many consumers may decide to wait for a later model before committing to purchase, letting Apple iron out any kinks in the technology and (potentially) bring down the price.
Notably, the Vision Pro’s ambition is a two-way sword. While a successful device will likely shape the development of future devices of its kind, a poor final product could see future AR headsets adversely affected - or potentially open the doors for a competitor to create their own headsets while learning from Apple’s mistakes. There’s a lot riding on the success of the Vision Pro, and Apple is no doubt keen to ensure that it becomes the first name we think of when we consider AR headsets, as opposed to an embarrassing “what might have been”.
NetEase has been through quite the whirlwind with the China licensing freeze, which triggered some lows for the company, as seen last year. However, there was a light at the end of the tunnel when authorities began to dish out approvals. Slowly but surely, NetEase has now managed to bounce back.
Shares are rising thanks to these government lifts, but NetEase has also been busy! Last month they hosted NetEase Connect with a showcase of 19 games, some new and others featuring updates for already established titles. NetEase's current success is partly thanks to the successes of recent releases Eggy Party, Racing Master and Justice Mobile, with the latter performing great in China.
It’s clear that the limitations from the Chinese market being lifted have everyone at NetEase breathing a sigh of relief. It's also been interesting to see the company pushing for global expansion. Focusing on international game studios ensures that if regulations in China were to reoccur, it’s not the be-all and end-all. I’m interested to see what future success NetEase generates from outside of China and if expansion plans continue or slow down now that the Chinese market isn’t a regulatory nightmare for the company.