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This week's feature

Bye Bye Consoles - Smartphones Do It All!

$40.6 billion: this staggering figure is what the mobile video gaming market is now worth*. It generates more revenue than the PC market ($35.8 billion)! The wild success of games like Candy Crush (and its spin-offs), Avadon, Pokémon Go and all those versions of Mario Run that we now play on our smartphones is all due to spectacular technological advances. Improved processors, boosted memory, and super high resolution graphics enable us to enjoy games with huge system requirements.;)

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So this week, while the masters of the telecom universe gather in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress, in mag 89 Bye Bye Consoles – Smartphones Do It All, we’ll dive into the stats, stories and stratospheric success of the new darling of tech sectors:

  1. Final Fantasy lands singer/actress Ariana Grande
  2. Mobile gaming’s stratospheric figures
  3. Hugo Obi, founder of Maliyo Games
  4. What’s the difference between a smartphone gamer and a console gamer?
  5. Cinema’s jumping on the bandwagon, too
  6. The legendary creator of Snake
  7. TOP 5 Best places in the world hunt Pokémon
  8. Mobile gaming: Africa on the rise
  9. Real-life Super Mario Run
  10. Slang N’ Friendz: Ludacris’ take on Words With Friends
  11. Legendary Nokia 3310 is back
  12. Mobile gaming with Snapchat

Fasten your seatbelts, destination pop culture!

As Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari said:

The last five years have been the days of mobile gaming and shortform gaming.

Final Fantasy lands singer/actress Ariana Grande

Music - February 22, 2017

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is out, and sports a slick soundtrack that’s WOWing gamers worldwide! Fans were already eagerly awaiting the latest mobile spin-off of the mega-hit Final Fantasy, even before they knew Grande was doing the game’s music! The talented American agreed to provide a song. The game’s studio, Square Enix, selected Touch It, and cooked up a killer remix of it, adding percussion and majestic strings for an epic soundtrack by the inimitable Ariana.

Ariana Grande – Touch It (FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS Remix)

And hey, it’s not every day that a planetary star teams up with a video game studio. To mark the occasion, Square Enix, created a game character based on Ariana Grande: Dangerous Ariana – a nod to her last album, Dangerous Woman.;)

Album on Deezer

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Playlist: Music and cult games

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Mobile gaming’s stratospheric figures

The infographic - February 22, 2017

The mobile gaming craze!

infographic-gaming-smartphone-mobile-dataviz-global-market

 

ELSEWHERE FOR YOU

Infographic: eSports – what are the top games?

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3 questions to Hugo Obi, founder of Maliyo Games

The 3 questions - February 22, 2017

With his studio, Maliyo Games, Hugo Obi is creating the future of mobile gaming. His characters, mobile games, and virtual environments are distinctly African. We sat down and chatted with this visionary.

Orange Pop: Why do you prefer working on mobile games instead of console video games?

Hugo Obi: Africa is a mobile phone market. Almost everyone has a mobile device and it’s the primary gateway to the internet for most Africans. But mobile phones are much more than communication; they are entertainment devices stuffed with multimedia content. Compared to consoles, they’re much cheaper to buy and you can do a lot more things with them. So we think it makes more sense to build content for Africans that is designed for mobile distribution rather than console or PC.

O. Pop: Why are mobile games so wildly successful today?

HO: In Africa, people are just starting to experience the power of computing using their mobile devices. Unlike the West, your average African does not have easy access to computing devices or gaming consoles, while mobile phones are readily accessible. Combine that with casual games which provide users with a strong visual experience and ease of play. It is no surprise that 32 million games were downloaded in Nigeria alone in 2016, 16 times more than 4 years ago. People are exploring and experiencing the various choices available through the web and the rich multi-media opportunities available through mobile.

O. Pop: It seems that new studios are cropping up daily, designing video games in Africa. Is the future of video gaming in Africa?

HO: These are pretty exciting times for the Africa game ecosystem. When we launched, in 2012, there were a handful of gaming studios in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa. Today, we are seeing new indie studios rise across the continent. These are early signs of a developing ecosystem as more people are learning the skills needed for video gaming and there is a better appreciation of the financial opportunities within the local market. Africa has a population of just over 1 billion with nearly 50% mobile penetration. As data costs go down and bandwidth increases, there is no question that downloads will increase in number, generating more and more revenue.

hugo-obi-maliyo-games-studio-fondateur-jeux-video-mobile-smartphone

Hugo Obi, founder of Maliyo Games © Hugo Obi

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Stories: Maliyo Games the first Nigerian gaming company

 

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What’s the difference between a smartphone gamer and a console gamer?

The killer question - February 22, 2017

While studies show that in some countries gamers make up nearly 75% of the population, not all gamers are alike. Many PC and console gamers are rabid players who live for the experience while the typical smartphone player sees it as a pleasant pastime, an agreeable way to relax and unwind (excepting some of the craziness over apps like Pokémon Go).

But the biggest difference is their effect on the wallet. Lots of console gamers will spend a small fortune for the latest releases while the smartphone crowd mostly downloads freebies. The mobile game industry makes money on a tiny fraction of users who shell out bigtime for the bonuses games offer. It’s hard to categorize gamers after all: they come in all varieties!

jeux-smartphone-console-difference-joueur

Some fanatics combine consoles and smartphones © gizmosandgadgets.org

 

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After Lara Croft and Resident Evil…

Shine at parties! - February 22, 2017

Last May, skeptical movie-goers worldwide filed into cinemas ready to snub the splashy film version of Angry Birds. After all, most screen adaptations of great video games are flops. But The Angry Birds defied critics, reaping revenues of 349 million dollars and proving that mobile games can be successfully adapted for the cinema. Fresh off this success, Hollywood is making a feature film version of the game Fruit Ninja for release in 2018. But the big buzz is that there’s an adaptation of Tetris in the works. It’s supposedly going to be a sci-fi trilogy with a monster budget… Stay tuned!

angry-birds-movie-gaming-mobile

Always scowling, even on the big screen © Sony Pictures

 

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Taneli Armanto, the legendary creator of Snake

Who's who - February 22, 2017

You could credit Nokia engineer Taneli Armanto with starting the whole mobile gaming craze. This visionary genius created the famous Snake in 1997, fathering a genre and sending cell phone sales sky-rocketing. A fair share of the credit for the off-the-charts success of Nokia’s famous 3310 with young people was due to Snake’s popularity. And Taneli Armanto hasn’t been resting on his laurels: his firm Rumilus Design just launched a modern version of his cult game, called Snake Rewind. The Snake is back!

createur-jeux-mobile-snake-rewind-jeux-mobile

Taneli Armanto, the snake man © Rumilus Design

 

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TOP 5 Best places in the world hunt Pokémon

Gimme 5 - February 22, 2017

Last summer’s global craze, Pokémon GO, saw avid hunters prowling streets, parks, and villages around the world, stalking all kinds of critters. But where are the choicest hunting grounds?

1. Sokcho (South Korea): Two hours from Seoul, this city is Pokémon paradise. For security reasons South Korea isn’t Google mapped, except for Sokcho (because of a programming anomaly). So loads of South Koreans descend on Sokcho, where Pokémon abound, even, it’s been reported, the mythic Pikachu.

top5-destination-pokemon-go-attrapper

Sokcho, South Korea’s happy hunting grounds © themonsoonproject.org

2. Disneyland, California: Turns out Walt’s Magic Kingdom is crawling with Pokémon. Lurking among Mickey and Dingo, you might just snare a Métamorph or a Mew.

3. The Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg, Germany: The VW Arena in Wolfsbourg is Pokémon hunter’s heaven. The locals hold group hunts, upping the chances of bagging rare game.

top5-destination-pokemon-go-attrapper-2

Pokémon GO at the Wolfsburg stadium © foxnews.com

4. Circular Quay in Sydney: Sydney’s Circular Quay is an Aussie favorite. Pokémon fans scour the wharf to bag kangaroos and other rare game.

top5-destination-pokemon-attrapper

In Sydney they’re chasing kangaroos © kotaku.com

5. La Défense, Paris: Some of the Oh-so-rare sightings of Ronflex, a first-gen Pokémon, have occurred at La Défense, Paris’s business district. La Défense attracts the French big-game hunters on the prowl for rare prey, like Elektek and Magneti.

top5-destination-pokemon-go-attrapper-4

Parisians’ favorite Pokémon hunting grounds © leparisien.fr

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Mobile gaming: Africa on the rise

Stories - February 22, 2017

Electronic Arts (USA), Gameloft (France), King (England)… When it comes to mobile game developers we often name the companies which dominate the market – generally American, European and Asian. But it turns out that the mobile scene is also full of independent African developers who want to make the most of the growing market!

Following the footsteps of Kuyula (Nigeria), Thoopid (South Africa), and Kola Studios (Uganda), it is now up to Weza Interactive Entertainment – a proud winner of the French Tech Ticket – to take on the future of African mobile gaming!

For the next 12 months the Kenyan company will be incubated at Plaine Images – “an ecosystem for digital media composed of thriving start-ups and companies offering a vast array of skills”. The incubator will not only help develop the company’s products (Mzito), but also its two nationality imprint (the team is split, working from Lille (France) and Nairobi (Kenya)).

We wish them all the best in their “mission of empowering Africa using interactive media”, and we encourage you to follow them closely – the future of mobile gaming is on its way… 😉 

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Real-life Super Mario Run

Stories - February 23, 2017

Italian… Plumber… He wears a red outfit… You’ve probably guessed by now who we’re talking about 🙂  That’s right, Mario is back to take-up yet another Nintendo challenge: tennis, football, baseball, kart racing, and now running – again!

Yes you read correctly: “again”. Mario’s first appearance was actually “running” in the game Donkey Kong (1981), in which he had to hurdle his way to save his girlfriend from his pet gorilla. Nintendo’s recent Super Mario Run is in some way a mobile friendly (updated) version of the classic hit.

Judging from the game’s instant success, we can confirm that mobile gamers are obviously in the mood for a walk down memory lane, getting back to basics. Fans are so devoted to the legendary character that they often (try to) replicate Mario’s famous adventures in real life!

Back in 2008, the well-known French comedian Rémi Gaillard launched the trend playing real-life Mario kart in the streets of Montpellier (France)! More recently, Devin Super Tramp made a video on what would happen if Super Mario Run was a parkour. As for Smosh Games, they tried to replicate Mario’s moves step by step. “Here we go again!” 😉  

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Slang N’ Friendz: Ludacris’ take on Words With Friends

Stories - February 24, 2017

Before broadband came round, mobile games were limited to one player at a time. Remember Snake, Solitaire, Mini Golf…? 🙂  Well since then, technology has allowed mobile gaming to develop many original multiplayer games as well as adapt classic board games!

Scrabble’s mobile gaming version, Words With Friends, is probably the most famous example of a successful adaptation. But just like Scrabble, Words With Friends has “strict” rules: you cannot use abbreviations, slang…

Frustrated about these restrictions, like many other users, the famous rapper (and video game fan) Ludacris decided to release his own derived version of the original game: Slang N’ Friendz. “I feel like pop culture dictates what is considered as cool in this world. And I think bringing people together should be limited to what everyone feels and not to what the dictionary is in terms of the English language”, explained Ludacris.

As well as being able to customize your board and send in slang word suggestions, the app does not limit you to slang words that are used in our time; the app’s slang dictionary accepts words going back to the 1800s! Can you imagine what a long distance game of Slang N’ Friendz between Charles Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe would have looked like? 😉

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Legendary Nokia 3310 is back

Stories - February 27, 2017

It’s official: the highly anticipated Nokia 3310 is back! The Finnish company finally confirmed the rumors by presenting its 2017 version of the phone during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain 🙂  

Often referred to as “the most reliable phone ever made”, the Nokia 3310 sold over 126 million units between 2000 and 2005 – an old record which still ranks it as one of the most sold mobiles of all time!

For this new edition the manufacturer rightfully wanted to revamp the model while maintaining some of its well-known features. As a result the phone has a new design, color display, a camera, as well as a month long lasting battery, classic Nokia ringtones and an updated version of Snake (the mag’s cover might have given away our love for the game 😉 ). Far from the growing smartphone market, the mobile will give users the opportunity to take a walk down memory lane for only 52$!

But don’t worry nostalgic Snake lovers, you can also play the game on your smartphone thanks to Facebook Messenger… 🙂 !

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Mobile gaming with Snapchat

Stories - February 28, 2017

Constantly copied by the likes of Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat is always on the look-out for innovative ideas… Following up on the first-person experience “Spectacles”, the Little White Ghost is now (surprisingly) getting more and more involved in mobile gaming! 🙂  

It first tested the idea with a sponsored Kraft Mac & Cheese game where you had to catch noodles in your mouth. The concept may sound simple but there have not been any signs of rivals (yet)! No need to say that Snapchat intends to make the most of its (current) monopoly developing countless partnerships – recently, it made a Puzzle Game for Warner Bros. for the release of their film King Arthur.

Oddly enough, Snapchat’s partnerships are not restricted to “face” games: reviving “Bud-Bowl” and promoting KFC’s “Freeze Frenzy”, for example, are games of their own! Snapchat, the auto-proclaimed “camera company”, seems to have taken great interest in the mobile gaming industry. 

Its latest innovation, to step ahead from Facebook, is an Augmented Reality game! The new feature has been introduced quietly via a game available within the ‘Princess and Queen’ lens. By “double tapping” to upgrade the filter, you launch a 5-gem quest in augmented reality – up to you to find them 😉

wersm-snapchat-gaming-AR-lense

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See you next week!

To be continued - February 22, 2017

Pop divas are taking over the cover of next Wednesday’s mag !

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