Week in Views – What caught our editorial eyes in the last seven days

The games industry moves quickly and while stories may come and go there are some that we just can’t let go of…

So, to give those particularly thorny topics a further going over we’ve created a weekly digest where the members of the PocketGamer.biz team share their thoughts and go that little bit deeper on some of the more interesting things that have happened in mobile gaming in the past week.

The Horizon franchise is reportedly eyeing a mobile debut

Well, well, well. What goes around comes around. Consoles and hi-spec PCs have had it too good for too long. All that raw processing horse-power. All those $60 games (even $70 for the upcoming next instalment in the Zelda series). And all that effort and huffing and puffing creating gaming franchises that couldn’t possibly exist anywhere else and which wouldn’t find an audience even if they did…

And all the while the smart money moves to mobile – home of the biggest gaming audience and the potential to make the most revenue. So the notion that one of the biggest, most ambitious, most ‘flagship’ of high-profile ‘next gen’ franchises could be heading to mobile doesn’t come as any kind of surprise. It’s more the fact that after bragging about the heavyweight nature of such a ‘proper’ game, that they’ve the nerve to come knocking in the first place.

Well, mobile’s door is always open and big names are always welcome inside. Just a warning. The rules are rather different here, but if you play the game and get it right you can win big. So who’s next for taking their games to the real next generation?

Iwan Morris
Staff Writer
Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who only occasionally refers to himself in the third person.

Xsolla to partner with Mastercard for mobile payment support

I think the thing that struck me the most about the flurry of Xsolla announcements this week was that it was, well, a flurry. Clearly they’ve got big plans for 2023 and it’s all based on bringing big money into mobile. Cloud gaming is big business and Mastercard are of course one of the biggest payment processors and credit card companies on the planet. I still talk to people about mobile gaming and see surprise when I mention how much money is involved in it, so it doesn’t surprise me that Xsolla thinks there’s still niches to be exploited and solutions to be offered.

I think it also speaks to there being a potentially larger and more diverse number of developers and publishers coming to the mobile platform. Solutions like these are, to my knowledge, more likely to be developed in-house or already be in place in larger companies. Therefore Xsolla will most likely benefit, and benefit from, smaller studios looking to navigate the world of payments and monetisation.

The specific purpose of the partnership to help simplify and streamline payments is also interesting. Because I know older individuals can often find using smartphones and other devices difficult, but many still enjoy puzzle games and other genres. Not only that, but payment protection to prevent children from making purchases has been a hot topic recently, so clearly Xsolla and Mastercard want to get out in front and introduce their own means of safeguarding family finances.

Lewis Rees
Staff Writer
Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He’s been a gamer all his life.

EU issues Microsoft with antitrust warning

Acquisitions are always a big deal, but Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Activision Blizzard stands out, not just due to the scale but how it can affect others. While the deal has been approved in some markets, many others have launched investigations, with the FTC deciding in December to sue in an attempt to block the deal. Now, with the EU formally issuing Microsoft with a warning, the question of whether or not the deal is viable becomes more and more pressing, especially as the UK’s competition and markets authority (CMA) also voiced its opposition to the deal this week.

Now, with three key markets seemingly in agreement about the possible anticompetitive prospects of the deal, Microsoft Blizzard face a battle on three fronts.

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard both seem to remain committed to the deal, but it’s possible that this optimism has its limits. With the FTC’s court case with Microsoft regarding the deal likely forcing the deal to be abandoned, at least temporarily, it’s possible that the company may get cold feet.

While some concern from competitors may have been expected, it’s unlikely that either company could have foreseen the level on scrutiny legislators have put the acquisition under, and with the UK and EU both agreeing with the USA that the deal could have negative impact of both consumers and competitors, it’s possible that Microsoft will need to make more significant concessions to keep everyone happy, and may decide to utilise this forced pause in proceedings as an opportunity to step away from the table.


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