Smartphones blow away traditional handheld gaming devices

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These are looking pretty outdated lately.
These are looking pretty outdated lately.
Photo: Daveynin/FlickrCC

Mobile games — especially those with a multiplayer component — are making more money than traditional handheld games, says a new report by mobile analytics agency, App Annie. The company partnered with the International Data Corporation to show the growth in mobile gaming over the past year, and how it’s skews toward mobile and multiplayer gaming.

Poor console makers; they hardly knew what hit them. While they still have life in them, and the games tend to be deeper and of a higher quality, it seems as if most gamers would rather just play on the device they already have with them; their iPhone or iPad.

Indie dev hopes Zombie Match Defense will chew its way to the top

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This guy really wants his game to do well. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
This guy really wants his game to do well. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — After his best friend deemed it impossible to make a fun game using the oversaturated staples of mobile gaming — match three, tower defense and zombies — indie developer Jake Sones made a bet.

Now Sones and his three-person team at Shovelware Games are ready to win that bet with upcoming game Zombie Match Defense, which makes players defend a row of scientists against an attacking horde of zombies by matching three or more brains of the same type. It’s as if Plants vs. Zombies and Candy Crush had a goofy baby and invaded your iPad.

How Crossy Road developers made $10 million in 90 days

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Who (and what) will make it across Crossy Road? Photo: Hipster Whale
Who (and what) will make it across Crossy Road? Photo: Hipster Whale

SAN FRANCISCO — Crossy Road developers Andy Sum and Matt Hall never set out to rake in a pile of cash. They did, however, want to create a popular game.

“We wanted to make the next Flappy Bird,” said Sum at the duo’s Game Developers Conference session here Tuesday.

“But our goal wasn’t to make money,” added Hall.

And yet make money they did. While Crossy Road hasn’t hit Flappy Bird levels of success (or notoriety), it pulled in 50 million downloads — on iOS, Android and Amazon — during the game’s first 90 days. It also generated $10 million for Hipster Whale, Sum and Hall’s development company.

Not bad for a game that was originally named Roadkill Simulator 2014.

The Force meets tower defense in new Star Wars game mashup

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Picture courtesy DeNA
Picture courtesy DeNA

If the sheer volume of tower defense games on the App Store is any indication, people (and developers) love them. Defending your base against endless hordes of creeps is a wonderful way to spend some gaming time on your portable device; they’re not super twitch-dependent, and they definitely encourage the zen-like focus a lot of us enjoy when playing games.

Add a hot property like Star Wars to the mix, and you’ve got a game full of potential. Rebels and Stormtroopers in a tower defense game? Sign me up!

This is, however, a Mobage/DeNA free-to-play joint, so it’s hard to tell exactly whether it will be a compelling bit of playtime, or just another way to spam your friends with social media requests. The pre-release sign up allows you to earn some points to be used in-game already; this does not bode well, even with a Star Wars branding.

That said, I’m still pretty excited about playing this game. Check out the developer diary below to see if you’re just as excited.

Smart strategies fuel Geometry Dash’s slow jog to success

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Robert Topala created current App Store champ Geometry Dash on his MacBook Pro. Photo: Robert Topala

Back in August, a new game arrived in the iOS App Store and almost immediately vanished without a trace.

“I received a few great reviews from news sites, but not enough to have an impact,” says Robert Topala, founder of RobTop Games and developer of the disappearing game. “Since I had no marketing budget it quickly dropped in rankings after release.”

For most games that would have been it. And if the story stopped there, it wouldn’t have been a tale of total failure: Topala wasn’t a professional coder, and had only been making mobile games for a couple years at the time. Simply finishing a game, getting it in the App Store and picking up a few accolades would have been nice enough.

But that wasn’t Topala’s story.