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Posts tagged with "games"

AfterPad’s List of MFi Controller Compatible Games

Kevin MacLeod has been doing good work with AfterPad – unlike most gaming blogs, AfterPad is "dedicated to hardcore and indie gaming on iOS, with a special focus on cutting-edge technologies like MFi game controllers, AirPlay, and Metal". I've found myself checking out AfterPad on a daily basis, and Kevin's knowledge on MFi controllers has come in handy when buying games for the new Apple TV.

In addition to the blog, Kevin maintains a list of MFi controller compatible games. This is the kind of curation you don't even get from Apple on the App Store: games are organized by date, categories, collections, and you can also browse Editor's Choice picks and Kevin's reviews for selected games.

Great work, and one of my new favorite websites.


Disney Infinity for Apple TV Offers Nimbus Controller Bundle

Sarah E. Needleman, reporting for The Wall Street Journal on Disney Infinity 3.0 for Apple TV:

The Apple TV version of Infinity 3.0 includes the pad and the usual figurines but also a wireless controller called Nimbus designed specifically for Apple’s device. It features buttons and analog control sticks that gamers are familiar with, as well as Apple’s Lightning connector. It’s made by SteelSeries, a 14-year-old company that specializes in gear for competitive gamers. The controller also works with games played on iPads and iPhones.

On its own, the Nimbus sells for roughly $50 in Apple’s retail stores. When bought as part of Infinity 3.0, it basically comes at a $15 discount. (The Apple TV version of Infinity 3.0 costs about $100; the console versions run for about $65.)

Obviously, Disney can afford to physically bundle the controller inside the game because it comes with figurines to collect and use. But if I were SteelSeries, I'd be seriously looking at more of these partnerships and discounts for high-profile games coming to tvOS – whether they have a physical counterpart or not.


Nintendo Announces First Free-to-Play Mobile Title ‘Miitomo’, New ‘My Nintendo’ Cloud Service

At an investor meeting, Nintendo announced today that their first smartphone app will be called 'Miitomo' in the Japanese market, and it'll be a free-to-play title with a focus on communication for the company's Mii avatars. Miitomo will launch in March 2016; first screenshots are available at Nintendo's Japanese website.

From a statement sent by Nintendo to Vooks:

Miitomo, Nintendo’s first smart device title, is a free-to-start communication application that helps friends share fun personal facts and interests. Consumers create and use their own Mii characters to engage friends in a welcoming social environment, answering questions and sharing information to discover more about each other and what they have in common. Miitomo is designed to appeal to a wide range of global smart device users and introduce them to uniquely Nintendo experiences beginning with Miitomo and carried through future applications.

From The Wall Street Journal's live blog:

The new smartphone game will be “Miitomo”. It will be free to play, with attractive add-ons that people can pay for, Mr. Kimishima says. Other smartphone games will be pay-to-download, he says.

Looks like Miis go ahead and communicate with other Miis without your knowledge. This will help people who are hesitant to talk about themselves to communicate with others, and reveal a side of your friends you never knew, Mr. Kimishima says.

Based on information shared by the company today, Miitomo appears to be a riff on Nintendo's Tomodachi Life, a 3DS game focused on Mii communication and collectible items.

In addition to Miitomo, Nintendo has also revealed a new 'My Nintendo' membership service, which will allow users to register a profile and store information about their characters and game data in the cloud, transferring it across mobile devices and dedicated consoles. My Nintendo (also called 'Nintendo Account' by the company today) will be compatible with popular signup services such as Facebook and Google accounts, and it'll offer the ability to view game purchases, game information, and game-related messages on the web. Friend lists will be supported by My Nintendo, and they will work on both console and mobile platforms.

My Nintendo will also be a replacement for the discontinued Club Nintendo program to earn digital and physical rewards for buying Nintendo games. Unlike the old Club Nintendo, My Nintendo will offer points for buying and playing Nintendo games on consoles and mobile debices. Customers will be able to use points for physical goods, game coupons, and DLCs.

At this point, it's not clear on which mobile platforms Miitomo will be released, but it's fair to assume Nintendo will launch the title on iOS next year. Nintendo has once again confirmed they're aiming to release a total of five mobile titles by March 2017, created in collaboration with DeNA.

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Nintendo’s LINE Stickers

Andrew Webster on Nintendo's latest mobile product:

Most recently, the North American Line store was updated with stickers from Nintendo's beloved life sim Animal Crossing, no doubt to help promote the new 3DS game Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. I spent the necessary $2 to acquire them immediately; I didn't realize how much I needed an animated sticker of rock star dog KK Slider playing a guitar until I had it. In Japan, Nintendo recently released a second sticker pack, this one based on the wonderful new Wii U shooter Splatoon, and I absolutely cannot wait until Nintendo releases them in the English-speaking world. (Because they definitely will, right?)

I had no idea Nintendo offered LINE stickers.

I like how Nintendo is trying different mobile approaches before launching their full game initiative with DeNA. You have to wonder if amiibo (a lucrative segment for Nintendo) will ever get its own iPhone app.


Apple Launches App Store Games Twitter Account

Casey Newton, writing at The Verge:

Apple has launched a dedicated Twitter feed for gaming just days before the company is expected to reveal a new Apple TV that doubles as a gaming console. Apple confirmed the authenticity of the account to The Verge, which sent out its first tweet this morning. It included a GIF featuring some of the platform's most popular games, including Clash of Clans and Angry Birds.

Staffed by App Store Games Editors, the new @AppStoreGames Twitter account will feature various kinds of content, as Apple told The Verge:

The Twitter feed will feature more than just the usual picks for app of the week, the company said. App Store editors will run the feed, and plan to populate it with sneak previews of games, tips and tricks, and profiles of talented gamers. Editors will also interact with game developers on the feed, Apple said.

This is far from Apple's first foray into actively using social media, but in recent times they've become more sophisticated in the way they approach it, and the frequency to which they use it. Just a few short weeks ago Apple launched a Snapchat account for Apple Music, which has been incredibly well produced. Just looking at the first day of tweets from @AppStoreGames (a sample of which are embedded below) and it looks like this account is well worth a follow.

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YouTube Gaming Officially Launches

YouTube Gaming, the company's dedicated platform for all things videogames, has officially launched today. From the YouTube blog:

YouTube Gaming is your go-to destination for anything and everything gaming because it automatically pulls in all gaming-related videos and live streams from YouTube.

Viewers get personalized gaming recommendations based on the games and channels they collect. With over 25,000 game pages and even more gaming channels, it’s never been easier to connect with your gaming community.

We’ve also made it easier to create a live stream — check out the beta version of our new way to go live at today.

I took the app for a spin this evening on my iPad, and it's well done. There's a lot going on in the front page – live streams, reviews, channels, game pages, but the YouTube team has done a good job at figuring out ways to automatically categorize content. When watching a game review, for instance, a link to that game's page is available in the video description; tap it, and on the game page you can find more videos of different types such as Let's Plays, reviews, popular videos, past live streams, and more. It's a busy interface, but there's also a lot to watch and go through.

YouTube Gaming is going to be compared to Twitch a lot, and for good reason. The big advantage of YouTube Gaming is its direct integration with a vast archive of YouTube videos and video creators that produce new content just for YouTube every day (this includes trailers, reviews, how-tos, and lots more non-live stream content). The decision to create game pages with automatic categorization of videos seems like a smart one to me, and the entire app feels lively and fun (try to search for games, for example).

I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes effectively the default way of finding gaming content on YouTube in the future, with the main YouTube app as a fallback for everything else. You can download the iOS app (US and UK only for now) here.


Threes’ Free Version Doubles Developers’ Profits

The free version of popular puzzle game Threes has doubled its developers' profits, as reported by Eurogamer and as Threes developer Asher Vollmer shared in a series of tweets (full collection here).

It's interesting to look at the stats for the platform split of iOS vs. Android. The majority of free users also comes from iOS.

Making a free version of a paid game with ads may not be the most elegant decision, but it's a practical one when you want to attract an audience that doesn't have disposable income to spend on games.


‘I’ve Been Texting With an Astronaut’

Laura Hudson writes about Lifeline, an ingenious text-based adventure game for iOS that uses a messaging-like interface and actionable notifications to build a story and a relationship with the main character.

As counterintuitive as it sounds, there’s something about interacting with Taylor through text messages that can feel very intimate, perhaps because we’ve grown so accustomed to communicating our most personal thoughts with our friends through bursts of text—and waiting for their responses with bated breath.

While some mobile games intentionally frustrate players with waiting periods to compel them into spending money, waiting isn’t a coercion tactic in Lifelife, but rather a crucial part of the experience. If you die several times—or win the game—you can unlock an optional “fast mode” that allows you to skip the waiting periods, although I wouldn’t recommend it. While it might offer instant gratification, it also shatters the sense of immersion you feel, flattening the urgency and anticipation of those intermediate moments.

I love mobile games that try to do something out of the ordinary, and I'm intrigued by this idea. Lifeline is $2.99 on the App Store and you can also play it on your Apple Watch.


Accessibility in iOS Games

Shaun Musgrave's story at TouchArcade about Accessibility in iOS games is a great one. Thanks to VoiceOver and the work of developers who implement accessible iOS technologies, blind and visually impaired users have been able to play games and be part of an active community.

In talking to the developers who have been able to make their games accessible, their feelings about the response from players are almost universally positive, in fact. In the case of King Of Dragon Pass, David Dunham actually implemented some code so that he could track how many players make use of the VoiceOver function. It varies over time, but in the last month or so, he reported that 7% of players loading up the app are doing so in VoiceOver mode, a very significant number. From a purely financial view, Dunham informed me, the investment was worth it. He went on, “But that’s not the only viewpoint. Not long after we released with VoiceOver support, we got email from a player who said he was a blind teenager from the Netherlands. He thanked us for making a game that finally let him feel like part of the world gaming community, because he could play on an equal level with everyone else.” Amir Rajan told a similar story about A Dark Room. “It's worth it to get a thank you email from a father with a blind daughter than can enjoy a popular game that her seeing friends play too,” said Rajan.

Related: The American Foundation for the Blind awarded Apple for their work on VoiceOver and Accessibility features.