Category Archives: Editor’s Notes

Editor's Notes: Melbourne International Games Week, GCAP, The Arcade, and The Incredible Australian Game Development Scene

As I've mentioned a few times now on TouchArcade between the original announcement and two different episodes of our podcast, I was lucky enough to be invited to Australia by the Melbourne International Games Week Visiting Journalist Program (say that three times fast) courtesy of Invest Victoria. It seemed like the objective of the whole thing was to bring foreign journalists like me, who don't have the resources to ever realistically get to Australia, and basically just let them discover how frickin' rad the Australian development scene is. (It worked, maybe too well.) I spent all my time in Melbourne, but the cool part of it being Games Week was that basically every Australian developer from all the other major development hubs were also in town, making for an absolutely unforgettable week...

Earlier this month, Apple sent an email out to developers on a new process they're implementing which more or less aims to sweep up some of the old garbage cluttering the halls of the App Store. The goal makes sense, as they want to trim down the amount of broken or otherwise totally unmaintained apps cluttering up the App Store which is still packed with all sorts of games and apps which might not even support the Retina Display (among many other potential problems of abandoning software on a quickly evolving platform). I get it, it's a pretty terrible user experience to have someone searching for a game, and have the possibility exist where the one they choose to download hasn't been updated in five years, resulting in it potentially looking terrible or maybe even not working at all. Apple's mantra has always been "it just works," so keeping these old and often supremely janky apps on the App Store represents a real problem. However, Apple is doing what they seem to love to do: Addressing a problem in a way that creates an even bigger mess than they started with...




We've got a widely diverse audience of readers here at TouchArcade, ranging from hardcore old school gamers, to casual Clash of Clans players, to people in all levels of the mobile game industry. To provide a little something for everyone, we regularly publish content that suits different segments of our audience. That means things like Shaun's fabulous RPG Reload series of articles, guides on various free to play games, buisness-y findings from analytics companies, and tons of other stuff in between- Basically, anything that makes us say, "Huh, that's neat," is fair game if we think someone reading TouchArcade would be into it. Recently that included two different reports on how well mobile is doing, which were predictably totally discounted by commenters insisting that this whole industry is propped up effectively by idiots who don't know any better spending money on IAP. This raises the question: If gaming is a hobby you enjoy, and as part of that hobby you're buying gems in Clash Royale, lives in Candy Crush, gold in Game of War, or any other similar purchase in other games, how is that any worse than buying consumable items in any other hobby? (Hint: It's not.)..

Every time we attend any kind of event where we're meeting tons of indie developers excited to show us their games, I always find myself thinking, "Man, I should write a guide on how to pitch your game." I eventually decide not to do it, as I really don't want it to feel like I'm "outing" anyone who had a particularly bad demo, so I'll just lead with this: If any of this sounds like anything you've done, please don't take it personally. As far as I know, no one has ever written a book on attending an event like GDC, and even if they did, you've been (understandably) too busy crunching to build your games to read it. The goal of this whole thing isn't to make anyone feel bad, but instead, making your time at events more impactful- Particularly when meeting with the general games media who might straight up just not care about your mobile game unless you've got an incredibly compelling pitch. Additionally, I don't pretend to have all the answers, this is largely just based on years of real-world instances that have made us not really care about a game versus really wanting to know about everything a particular developer is up to. If you disagree, that's cool, the goal here is to just help developers out...

What Is Gameloft's Position in the App Store of 2016, When "Having a Game That's Sort of Like GTA" Isn't Enough Anymore?

I don't think I'll find anyone who will argue with me when I say that the App Store of 2016 is a crazy place. The fun thing about being involved in the world of the App Store since before there even was an App Store is just how deeply I can appreciate how insane things have gotten. For this particular story, let's rewind the clocks back all the way- When the App Store was new, and most of the games were supremely basic. We're talking solitaire games, tilt-controlled mazes, and "games" which effectively amount to toy apps that used the touchscreen in weird ways like Koi Pond. Gameloft, believe it or not, played a massive role in legitimizing the App Store as a platform for "full" game experiences through rapid-fire releasing loads of games which at best were highly "inspired," and at worst, were straight up clones...

Editor's Notes: Retro Comparisons and Sugar Free Alternatives

Aside from being crazy about mobile gaming, in my life, I've been on more than a few insane fitness kicks. If you listen to our podcast, particularly older episodes when fellow fitness enthusiast Brad Nicholson was still around, you've probably heard about more than a few of them as we both strived to be just as ripped as... Whoever the heel of the WWE is at the time. My longest, most consistent, and easily the weirdest kick was the keto diet which is basically a more extreme version of what people know as Atkins. It involves eating fewer than 25 grams of carbohydrates in a day with the goal being kicking your body into a state known as ketosis where you're forcing your liver to metabolize fat as your primary energy source. This has a few interesting positive side effects: Since your primary nutrients are fat and protein, you're rarely hungry. Also, since your body is operating on ketones instead of glucose, you never have any kind of sugar low (or high) which means you can exercise for way longer with far better and more consistent energy levels...

Editor's Notes: How Our Review Scoring Scale Works, and Why "TouchArcade Loves Everything"

A big part of my job here around TouchArcade is acting as a bit of an air traffic controller, it’s like playing a real-world version of Flight Control only instead of routing planes around it’s new games to writers, support issues to tech people, and other things along those lines. I’ve got an extensive Rube Goldberg machine of triggered alerts and other crazy things to help automate this as much as I reasonably can, but, every day I spend a huge amount of my time just keeping track of what’s going on in the world of iOS gaming as a whole. That also involves following our own awesome community, as well as other places on the internet where anyone might be talking about iOS games. One thing that consistently comes up is general confusion surrounding how we rate our games. The farther you get away from TouchArcade, the nastier people get about it, but the prevailing wisdom is something along the lines of “lol toucharcade loves everything lol.” It’s part of a bigger problem of people not really understanding how we rate our game reviews, but more importantly, why we rate them the way we do. I posted a lengthy response to the latest discussion I found about this, but it seemed a little weird to not also post a similar thing here as unless you listen to our podcast, chances are you’ve never gotten to the nuts and bolts of the TouchArcade review rating system...

It's been a little over a month now since the new Apple TV launched. That day, we posted our first impressions of the device, and while there were (and still are) things that seem very dumb about the platform, it felt like there was loads of potential there. Over the last week or so I've been talking to many different developers who have released games or apps on the device, and the general vibe is that if things don't turn around following Christmas, Apple is going to have a real problem on their hands as "successful" apps are making $100 a day on a good day, with revenue continuing to trail off since launch. Everyone I spoke with was reluctant to be specifically sourced (effectively to avoid being the first one to complain), but the games and apps they're responsible for anyone would recognize and they live what one would assume would be healthy lives on the Apple TV top lists. Comparatively, top games on the iOS App Store are making hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars a day. Yes, the platform is still young, the install base is likely tiny, but its indicative of a bigger problem in that not even Apple can duplicate their own successes...

Editor's Notes: Just Because Mobile Is Dominating Everything Doesn't Mean the Things You Love Are Going Away

We try to have a good mix of content on TouchArcade, as we've got a huge audience with widespread specific interests. By mixing stuff up between reviews, previews, guides, news, streaming, and tangentially relevant industry news on the overall state of mobile, the site becomes a better daily read compared to us just doubling down on free to play guides or something like that. It's that line of thinking that leads us to publishing articles like the one Tasos wrote about the potential irrelevance of PC gaming in the future from yesterday...

The internet is in a real weird spot right now. Ad blocking has been gaining steam over the years, and depending on how technically savvy your site's audience is, it's entirely possible to have more people blocking the advertising that is paying for your site to exist than viewing those ads. The saving grace in a more-recent sense has been that people browsing from mobile devices has also grown significantly. Over two thirds of our traffic comes from mobile devices, and most of those devices are running iOS. In that sense, it still sucks, but it's not a huge deal if a bunch of people in that remaining third are blocking our ads. If you're blocking our ads, please support our Patreon...

Spinning our wheels in the mud of Apple TV gaming rumors has been an annual WWDC tradition for years now. An Apple TV App Store reveal has practically earned a permanent square amongst the various Apple Keynote bingo cards by now, but, if recent rumors are to be believed, tomorrow is going to be the day that it finally happens. Now, I know we've been hyped up for Apple TV gaming for, well, years, but let's take a Devil's Advocate-y approach here and analyze why games on the Apple TV might not be the Next Big Thing...

Editor's Notes: The Free to Play Blame Game

Last week saw the release of Angry Birds 2 [Free], the latest in what has been a long chain of high profile, high budget free to play titles to hit the App Store in recent years. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty damn great game, which in itself isn't much of a shocker considering the amount of resources Rovio must've dumped in to the project to revitalize the Angry Birds-iverse. What also shouldn't be news to anyone who follows the iOS gaming scene, is how the launch of Angry Birds 2 brought about the same old free to play blame game as grumpy gamers raced to point fingers to who was responsible for another game series going free to play...

With the new Grand Tournament card expansion on the horizon, interest in Hearthstone [Free] has started to spool up from people who either haven't played much of the game or only dabbled in it previously. One thing I've seen both online and in conversations with friends of mine, is a general level of overall dismay towards getting involved in the game now because of how much the card pool is expanding and the concern that they're never going to win if they "don't have all the good cards." It's a valid concern, but not one that should stop you from giving the game a try, because in collectable card games, losses rarely are directly related to your card pool...

I Wish 'Fallout Shelter' Leaned More on the Social Experiments That Powered Fallout Vaults

I've been playing Bethesda's Fallout Shelter [Free] since its release the Sunday before E3 and after starting over a couple times finally have a vault with over 100 people and a fully upgraded Nuka Cola Bottler. This has me at the strange point you really rarely hit in free to play games where I find myself saying, "Well, now what?" It's a weird feeling, as basically all free to play games, builders in particular, orbit the idea of a never-ending treadmill of content. I've got friends that have been playing Hay Day [Free] for years without running out of things to do, and here I am saying "Well, now what?" in a matter of weeks of playing Fallout Shelter...

Editor's Notes: The Curious Inconsistencies of Reactions to Free to Play Mechanics

I've been playing a ton of a new shooter this week that has a lot of mechanics that get some people around here really upset: It's got a rigid experience system which gates ever single thing in the game. If you want to use a particular weapon or play a particular game mode, you've really got no choice but to wait through the grind- Even though you'll be playing with (and against) players that have the advantage better weapons you don't have access to yet. There's not much you can do about this either other than just wait to access them through playing more...

Editor's Notes: Exciting Things Ahead for Mobile Gaming

One of the things people always say they love about our podcast is getting a behind the scenes look at TouchArcade and the mobile gaming world. So, unless you're a podcast person, you're missing out on that kind of thing. So, hey, why not apply that same flavor into some kind of recurring thing around here that's quicker to digest than listening to our awesome, but long, podcast? At least it seems like a good idea on paper. I'll try to put one of these up weekly, assuming there's something entertaining to write about, of course...

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