News by Numbers - January 30th 201730 Jan 2017 5
Welcome this week's edition of News by Numbers, where we highlight some of the can't-miss mobile gaming news each and every week.
Rome Total War: version 1.5.2
Feral has made some nice quality-of-life updates to Rome: Total War on the iPad. In campaign mode if you tap and hold the map icon you'll be greeted with a bunch of extra detail on units, ships, and settlements. When you get into battle, you can zoom out even further to better check on all of your units. Also, purple markers will now glow at your fingertips to confirm you are in the unit rotation and positioning mode, helpful to avoid any accidental orders.
Core: 3rd party app discovery
Game discovery is not exactly easy on either the App Store or Google Play Store. Both companies highlight specific games and have lists of top sellers, but beyond that you're largely on your own. A new app called Core intends to make it easier for gamers to discover apps they want and developers to showcase their work. Now, I have no idea whether Core will be any good, a lot depends on the degree to which a user can customize what kind of games they want to see. The app is in its infancy, but if it eventually lets me filter and sort premium games in certain genres it could be great. If it just shows me different freemium garbage than the official stores…I'll pass.
realMyst and Riven: $6.99
realMyst, a 3D recreation of the classic Mac puzzle game, was originally released in 2000 and made it to Steam and iOS in 2012. Now, finally, it is out on Android as well. The realMyst sequel Riven, will also be coming soon. Both games are $6.99.
iOS: version 10.3 review and rating changes
Apple's upcoming iOS 10.3 update will make a couple changes to how App Store reviews work. First, developers will be able to ask players to rate and review their games without directing them to the App Store thanks to a new API that will permit the rating screen to be shown within the app itself. The best part of this is that there will be a hard limit to how often a developer can ask for a review/rating from a player. If the player refuses to do so three times they cannot be asked again for a full year, while those who do review the app can never be asked again. Users will also be able to turn off all rate/review notifications within iOS. That last is my very favorite part.
A second change in 10.3 will allow developers to respond directly to reviews on their app store page in a public reply, similar to what Android devs can do today. This provides an opportunity to address critical issues being called out in top comments.
1775 Rebellion: 1781
More HexWar news this week…1775: Rebellion is to get a new "Southern Theatre" scenario. It plays out in 1781 where…
"The British have taken control of Savannah and Charles Town, scattering the American Continental in the area army. The rest of the American forces chase the native americans out of the Tennessee area (western NC). A large force of British regulars and Hessian units, commanded by Cornwallis sweep through Virginia waiting on commands to take York (Yorktown). Marquis de Lafayette and his French soldiers are aiding the Americans gather force in Virginia to try to pin down the British and wait for the French fleets to arrive to contest the seas."
The map will focus in on the colonies south of New York: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. There's currently no ETA but we'll keep you posted.
Command and Colors: 12 person studio
GMT Games announced that a couple of their Commands and Colors board games would be coming to PC, Mac, and iPad in 2017. Both Ancients and Napoleonics are in development through HexWar—who recently brought 1775 Rebellion to mobile. HexWar is a 12-person studio and these are big projects so they have partnered with Lordz Games Studio on the games' interface and graphics. The PC/Mac launch for Commands & Colors: Ancients is lined up for the summer and the base game for Commands & Colors: Napoleonics for the end of 2017 with an iPad release following a couple months later. Their intent is to eventually get to Android and iPhone. Here's hoping they take the time to get online multiplayer right!
Magic Duels: 126 new cards
The Aether Revolt expansion set recently made its way to Magic Duels adding 126 new cards and bringing the total number of earnable cards to over a thousand. There's also a new campaign following the Aether revolt that features that goody-two-shoes Gatewatch gang, six new card sleeves, and ten new personas to play as, including certain Planeswalkers. Can I play as Fblthp yet?
Epic Card Game: $50,000 goal
White Wizard Games, the makers of Star Realms, has launched a Kickstarter for Epic Card Game. Epic is a fantasy-themed strategy card game and is—once funded—making its way from the tabletop to digital. Like Magic: The Gathering, Epic has a bunch of formats including sealed deck, Dark Draft, preconstructed, and full constructed. Unlike Magic you'll be able to own every card for one low price. The app will also feature single-player campaign missions. If you're interested, and I'm sure many of you are, you can find out more and back Epic here. All backers will get Alpha access starting next month, so if you're excited to get into the app and playing, that's the way to go.
Banner Saga 3: $200,000 Kickstarter goal
The Banner Saga games are top-of-the-line RPGs with story-driven campaigns where the choices you make matter, and haunt you. The turn-based combat is also top notch and fits well into the storyline. Also: Vikings are cool. Banner Saga 2 earned four stars from Tof and was our runner up for RPG game-of-the-year. A Kickstarter to fund Banner Saga 3, the final installment in the series, has kicked off and Stoic Studio is looking for $200K to get it done through their Kickstarter campaign. Get in there if you want some more Banner Saga.
Digital CCGs: $1.2B in 2017
Digital CCGs are predicted to rake in $1.4B worldwide in 2017 according to gaming metrics firm SuperData Research (and via this article at Pocket Gamer Biz). They also estimate that 7.6% of US players buy IAPs for these games. Hearthstone should earn the most this year—not a bold prediction—after generating an estimated $395M in 2016. More surprising, to me anyway, is that Shadowverse made $100M despite a launch midway through the year. I'll be curious to see how Duelyst, Faeria, and Elder Scrolls: Legends fair in the market when they hit mobile.
The App Store: 500,000 developers
In a recent talk Anders Lykke, Head of Sales & Developer Relations at Priori Data, discussed current mobile-game market trends and what they mean for independent developers. The industry is huge and growing, which is clear from all the trend data over the last several years. The problem is that of the half-million companies on the App Store the top 100 earn 60% of the overall revenue. Mr. Lykke suggests that the problem for indies isn't necessarily getting high store rankings—though that seems to remain a problem from where I sit—but that they don't stay in those high ranks for long. Most new games (90%) drop out of the top-200 grossing chart after their first week.
That's it for this edition of News by Numbers. If you've got a news item worth sharing send it my way on Twitter @MrVigabool and it may show up in a future edition.