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.
You have to hand it to him. It’s a textbook performance. What do you say to your stockholders and investors after announcing great, record-breaking figures? Do you say “My team are the best and they’ve all worked very hard”? Or do you say, “For us, it’s all about great games and great business going hand in hand”? Don’t be stupid. Of course you don’t. Instead you say “This is not enough money and we want even more.”
What a winner.
For Zellnick the fact that only 10% of Take-Two’s mobile audience are paying up is a thorn in his side. The spanner in his works. The massive mother-loving pea under his Princess mattress. This man - a man who is 50% of a management cerberus which is quite literally fuelled by a bonus system tailor-made to encourage in-app infamy - wants more. And now, after literally getting a cut of every in-app microtransaction in every game they publish, NOW he’s going to double down on ads to get it.
“The question is how do you do that and create a high-quality experience? And I think the answer is… We can do that,” he said earlier this week. Wise words. And that’s why they pay him the big bucks.
Wow, what a shift. I mean it’s not exactly a ‘big’ thing but Savvy's unexpected rebarnd does suggest that Savvy want to get serious.
That said, “We’ve named it Steer because we want to steer the future of gaming” just sounds a bit buzzword-y to me. Especially when you think of how many studios have names that are either quite dry (Bethesda is just named after a place in Maryland) or entirely unique (what is a “Mojang” anyway? Yes I know it means “gadget”).
I think they should just say “We’ve named this Steer because it sounds cool.” But regardless, Steer now aims to stand apart from the Savvy brand as its own entity and I think this is definitely a smart move. Being detached means that people will now view them as a standalone, creative studio rather than just another Savvy investment, acquisitions and financial activity.
We're taking the rebrand as a genuine sign of belief in the future of Steer Studio and the change is a good idea for finally committing Savvy as being a game-first, finance-second entity.
Final Fantasy VII is, arguably, the most beloved RPG, if not the most beloved game of all time.
For almost thirty years gamers have experienced the game’s universe on a variety of platforms and in a variety of forms, from the original release to the big-budget three-part remake, and from books to the big screen. In fact, there’s a decent argument to be made that the series’ jump from 2D to 3D is among the most important moments in gaming history, fully cementing the ability of games to provide a cinematic experience.
At this point, the FInal Fantasy VII franchise encompasses over a dozen stories across a variety of mediums and platforms, so collecting all of those stories in one place is a great idea - especially given some of the titles are no longer available, and some were only released in Japan. As the world’s most accessible gaming platform, mobile is therefore the obvious choice.
Despite mixed early reviews for the game, it’s likely that name recognition alone could see Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis become a massive hit for Square Enix, while breathing fresh life into some of mobile gaming’s lost games.
However, the question regarding the game’s gacha elements remains. The Final Fantasy franchise has historically veered away from in-game purchases and lootboxes in its mainstream releases, and as such this may be something of a hard sell for the series’ established fanbase - however, it could also open the franchise up to millions of new fans worldwide.
I have a somewhat rollercoaster outlook on Netflix Games - a subscription model that many already pay for additionally granting access to games is a great idea. It gives users more bang for their buck and aims to incentivize them to continue renewing their subscriptions. Yet, I still find that so many people don’t know that this is something on offer to them.
Netflix is obviously looking to expand the offering via the cloud, and rather than using your mobile phone to play these games, they are trying to widen their range for play by making games playable on your TV - using a phone as a controller - and available on PC/Mac. But again, I approach a dip in the coaster because there are already so many ways to play games in so many places. Competition is fierce and people are already so used to the app stores on mobile phones, console gaming, PC gaming and now there are more handheld devices than ever, such as the Steam Deck, Nintendo Switch and ROG ALLY.
So while I think the concept of Netflix games is interesting and has potential, especially given that it comes with the benefit of these games having no ads, I still think there’s a long way to go in establishing itself as a place to play video games.
I look at Gamepass, a subscription service that offers players a vast library of games, it’s great value for money and serves Xbox well, but the core difference is that people are already on the Xbox platform to play video games. If I go around and ask people what they use Netflix for, I doubt many would mention its gaming offering… For now, at least.
I still see Netflix Games in an era of finding its feet, and for now, I feel that more than cloud gaming, more than controller support, more than PC and Mac accessibility, more people simply need to know that video games on Netflix actually exist.