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The iOS gaming thread


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What has happened to the iOS gaming scene? Millions of devices still being sold practically no barrier to entry for developers yet there's nothing much new out there worth playing.

There could be but finding it is impossible because discoverability on the App Store is broken:

- The 'New & Noteworthy' section of each category & sub-category is just a copy of the best selling list, it's been like this for months and there's no sign of them fixing it.

- On the iPhone App Store app only the top 200 are listed.

- Everyone I talk to about this doesn't browse the App Store at all any more but just looks at Featured stuff and relies on word of mouth.

So called 'organic downloads' (someone finding it and downloading it) are just about dead. The above and more means the games we hear about via word of mouth tend to already be successful, or be made by an established dev, or be a port. Occasionally there's something completely new someone finds and shouts about enough to get noticed, but that's getting rarer.

Now we're in a world where Paid User Acquisition is key, these big F2P games are spending in the region of $2-$5 per user that downloads the game, usually towards the upper end. For example, a game I launched in early 2013 got 10k downloads in the first day, I'd mentioned it on Twitter but that was it as far as promotion/advertising had gone but it did appear in the new section which was working at that time. Contrast that with a game I was contracting on that launched half way through this year with got 6 downloads in the first 2 days with no PAU. It's becoming a harder & harder marketplace for small devs to compete in, everything gets drowned out by those able to pay for users.

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All I use my iPad for these days is Google Chrome and the various Conceptis games.

Obviously now and then you get a gem like Monument Valley or The Room, or something perfectly designed for phone gaming like Desert Golfing. A few years ago, though, we were getting two of them a week. Mobile phone gaming is just about dead.

And when you do get those things people say "£1.49?! I'm not paying that!" and then they release a large expansion and get 1 starred into the ground for it not being free.

I think other than some freemium noodling, the only iOS game I've bought this year has been Monument Valley.

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There could be but finding it is impossible because discoverability on the App Store is broken:

- The 'New & Noteworthy' section of each category & sub-category is just a copy of the best selling list, it's been like this for months and there's no sign of them fixing it.

- On the iPhone App Store app only the top 200 are listed.

- Everyone I talk to about this doesn't browse the App Store at all any more but just looks at Featured stuff and relies on word of mouth.

So called 'organic downloads' (someone finding it and downloading it) are just about dead. The above and more means the games we hear about via word of mouth tend to already be successful, or be made by an established dev, or be a port. Occasionally there's something completely new someone finds and shouts about enough to get noticed, but that's getting rarer.

Now we're in a world where Paid User Acquisition is key, these big F2P games are spending in the region of $2-$5 per user that downloads the game, usually towards the upper end. For example, a game I launched in early 2013 got 10k downloads in the first day, I'd mentioned it on Twitter but that was it as far as promotion/advertising had gone but it did appear in the new section which was working at that time. Contrast that with a game I was contracting on that launched half way through this year with got 6 downloads in the first 2 days with no PAU. It's becoming a harder & harder marketplace for small devs to compete in, everything gets drowned out by those able to pay for users.

Yeah, its true the app store is frustratingly bad, I did just have a browse and found a couple that look entertaining, one of which is Retry by Rovio. The F2P stuff is super annoying, all those games that could be really fun get completely screwed over, I wish there were non F2P versions of Trials Frontier, Peggle Blast.

Are there any decent app game review sites out there worth keeping an eye on?

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Infinity Blade 3 for 99p had to be picked up.

Very silly, but it's great fun.

I do sometimes find it hard to believe that these machines can run such wonderful looking games.

Admittedly, it kills my eyes after only about 5 minutes of play, but it's definitely a pretty one!

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I just started playing FTL. It's brilliant- had been slightly worried by reviews and people saying that it's difficult to get to grips with - I think it's pretty straight-forward, obviously you start to pick up tips and tricks as you play, but it's not nearly as complex as I feared. I love roguelikes in general anyway so this ticks all the boxes- and like the best roguelikes you end up in amazing little moments of drama and story.

And those moment of utter horror when you realise there's no escape from death. Fire is spreading through the deck, oxygen systems are down, your crew is desperately trying to repair your battered ships as missiles close in.

So yeah, that's a recommendation for Faster Than Light as well.

Hitman Go works really well on the iPad mini as well- it's like a board game version of Hitman, very enjoyable and the presentation is lovely.

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The Kingdom Rush games work better on a bigger screen (annoyingly they aren't cross buy).

But you can play the iPhone version just fine on the iPad.

Played through Origins, and there are some lively touches, but the first 2 are still the best IMO.

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