Home / News / Week in Views – Xbox App Store appetite, Zuck’s Vision Pro diss and Japan goes g | Pocket Gamer.biz

Week in Views – Xbox App Store appetite, Zuck’s Vision Pro diss and Japan goes g | Pocket Gamer.biz

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Week in Views - What caught our eyes in the last seven days | Pocket Gamer.biz

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.

Daniel Griffiths
Editor – PocketGamer.biz
Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest entertainment media brands in the world. He’s interviewed countless big names, and covered countless new releases in the fields of videogames, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors and garden design. Yup, he said garden design… He’s the ex-Editor of PSM2, PSM3, GamesMaster and Future Music, ex-Deputy Editor of The Official PlayStation Magazine and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Rhythm, Computer Music and more. He hates talking about himself.

Microsoft’s app store intentions, new hardware and an Xbox Cloud Gaming app on iOS?

 All the talk going into Xbox’s business update last night had been on the subject of Microsoft doing the inconceivable and ditching platform specific exclusives. Being born in an age where Sonic was Sega, Mario was Nintendo and Sony was… what was Sony again?… So Xbox – Microsoft’s first console – had its Halo.

The prediction was that in the wake of becoming swollen with Activision Blizzard multi-platform games (and promising that Call of Duty would remain on other platforms in order to dodge monopoly bullets) that Xbox was about to throw open its doors and throw its fanboys to the wolves.

And with all their games everywhere, and much of the last year’s Aquiblizz chat being bogged down in cloud gaming debate, would they even bother making another Xbox again?

In the event, while the multi-platform exclusive question did arise as the front and centre topic, the reveal of their plans was limited to the fact that yes, four games that are currently Xbox exclusives would be moving to as yet unannounced rival consoles. At a time that again, is currently unannounced. And they couldn’t name the four games in question.

Um… Thanks for the update.

Far more interesting was the side chat concerning the fact that new hardware IS on the way (and all the bets are on a Xbox Cloud Gaming player/portable) and that the Xbox App Store is surely now only whisker away following the EU’s body blows to Apple.

That $68 billion for Candy Crush, Diablo Immortal, Call of Duty and more is starting to look like money well spent.

Week in Views - Xbox App Store appetite, Zuck's Vision Pro diss and Japan goes g | Pocket Gamer.biz

Craig Chapple
Head of Content
Craig Chapple is a freelance analyst, consultant and writer with specialist knowledge of the games industry. He has previously served as Senior Editor at PocketGamer.biz, as well as holding roles at Sensor Tower, Nintendo and Develop.

Embracer sees record $1.2 billion in Q3 earnings after axing 1,400 staff

Embracer’s troubles need little introduction. This week, the publisher said its restructuring program has resulted in approximately 1,400 job losses – around 8% of its global workforce. At the same time, the company posted record revenue of $1.2 billion in Q3. But it’s still forecast to be off target for lowering net debt and is considering selling off assets, consolidating existing teams and potentially laying off more staff..

The company is sitting between a rock and a hard place entirely of its own design. But it offered a particularly callous way of covering its mistakes and desperately trying to convince shareholders that a brighter future awaits.

“Our overruling principle is to always maximise shareholder value in any given situation.”

Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors touted in an earnings call, courtesy of Seeking Alpha, how significant it was it posted record revenue during a period of significant restructuring, and that this was “an achievement we should be proud of”.

But surely that highlights the problem: despite record revenue it still isn’t making enough money. And that is a consequence of a strategy of growth at all costs.

Despite the company’s collapse, Wingefors remains as CEO. It could be that investors and the board do trust his vision to turn the company around, while capitalising on the all IP it has scooped up. Those investors include Lars Wingefors AB, the private investment company founded by Wingefors himself, which is the single largest shareholder in Embracer Group at 19.6%, while holding a 37.76% share of voting rights.

But that Embracer ever got into this position in the first place is a shocking indictment on the way it has conducted its business, with developers bearing the brunt of those costly decisions.

Week in Views - Xbox App Store appetite, Zuck's Vision Pro diss and Japan goes g | Pocket Gamer.biz

Paige Cook
Deputy Editor
Paige is the Deputy Editor on PG.biz who, in the past, has worked in games journalism covering new releases, reviews and news. Coming from a multimedia background, she has dabbled in video editing, photography, graphic and web design! If she’s not writing about the games industry, she can probably be found working through her ever-growing game backlog or buried in a good book.

Zuckerberg tries Apple Vision Pro: “Quest 3 is the better product. Period.”

Of course, it was only a matter of time before Zuckerberg had his say on the Apple Vision Pro, and really, it would be weirder if he said anything other than “our product does it better”, but is there any truth in what he has to say?

I find the VR market interesting and one with lots of possibilities. I understand how people can get carried away and start thinking that one day it’ll be Ready Player One, but for real (minus the real-world chaos, please). But in all honesty, I don’t know if VR is as far along as it appears to be. Yes, the technology is impressive, but it’s getting people to want to or even be able to use it regularly, and that’s the heart of the issue.

This brings me back to Zuckerberg’s points. I’m not a VR expert or a Zuckerberg fan, but he does bring up some good points. He can’t outright claim it’s the better product overall since the Pro has some great features, but with people returning the Vision Pro due to the most simple of reasons, such as it being uncomfortable to wear and sometimes difficult to navigate you have to wonder if the lighter Quest 3 with it’s hand-tracking controller support and of course much lower price point may be the VR product that more people steer towards.

I think the key to the VR hardware market won’t necessarily come down to who has the overall better high-end product; it’ll be the one that does all the simple things well and at a realistic price point.

Week in Views - Xbox App Store appetite, Zuck's Vision Pro diss and Japan goes g | Pocket Gamer.biz

Aaron Astle
News Editor
Aaron is the News Editor at PG.biz and has an honours degree in Creative Writing.
Having spent far too many hours playing Pokémon, he’s now on a quest to be the very best like no one ever was…at putting words in the right order.

Japan generates 50% of worldwide geolocation game spending

Ever since the 2016 phenomenon that was Pokémon Go, countless developers have attempted to take a slice of the location-based pie, but only few have succeeded. Go remains the most popular in the West and continues to make Niantic its millions, but 2023 saw its second major success with Monster Hunter Now.

Another Japanese IP, Now understandably took off in Japan and quickly surpassed $100 million in revenue, while also becoming one of the five biggest geolocation games in its IP’s home country.

Square Enix’s Dragon Quest Walk together with Niantic’s two titles made up the top three location-based games in Japan last year, while the top five generated $620 million in revenue. It’s a hefty sum, and doubly impressive considering it accounts for half of the genre’s global revenue last year – showing just how willing Japanese players are to get outside and walk.

It’s also just the latest bit of evidence of how willing they are to spend…

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