The State of Gaming on the Apple TV

Samuel Axon of Ars Technica published an article over the weekend about the state of gaming on Apple TV, inspired by the recent demise of Minecraft on the platform. In it he shares quotes from notable iOS and tvOS game developers about Apple’s problems with the Apple TV as a gaming platform.

On the subject of Minecraft, Team Alto developer Ryan Cash said:

“If I were in charge of the game…I think I’d really try to stay there. While the platform certainly isn’t the biggest, it continues to grow, and it’s a great way for certain types of audiences to experience gaming, often for their first time.”

Strange Flavour’s CEO Aaron Fothergill expressed similar sentiments, highlighting how easy it is to port a game from iOS to tvOS. He did, however, share one common request for the platform:

“I…like the idea of game controllers (ideally Apple ones) Continue reading “The State of Gaming on the Apple TV”

Microsoft pulls ‘Minecraft’ for Apple TV due to low demand

You probably didn’t have a hankering to build Minecraft worlds on your Apple TV, and Microsoft has quietly acknowledged that reality. The company recently started notifying players that it had stopped updating and supporting the Apple TV version of the game on September 24th in order to “reallocate resources to the platforms that our players use the most.” To phrase it differently, there weren’t enough people playing to justify the investment. The game will continue to work, including Marketplace purchases, but you won’t see new features. It’s not available in the App Store, either.

Via: The Verge

Source: Mac-Interactive (Twitter)

Panic to Publish Untitled Goose Game by House House in Early 2019 on Switch, Mac, and PC

Panic, well-known in the Apple community for its beautifully-designed Mac and iOS apps, announced today that it is teaming up with Melbourne-based House House to release Untitled Goose Game, which made a splash last fall when it released pre-alpha gameplay footage on YouTube. The game will be published by Panic in early 2019 and be available as a Nintendo Switch exclusive and on the Mac and PC.

This is how Panic describes the game in its press release:

In Untitled Goose Game, it’s a lovely morning in the village and you are a horrible goose. Combining sandbox-style experimentation with slapstick-style schtick, it’s beautiful, puzzling, somewhat stressful, and above all else, funny as heck.

As the trailer below hints, Untitled Goose Game requires players to use a combination of stealth and puzzle-solving skills to complete tasks, while aggravating the humans around them.

Untitled Goose Game was featured by Nintendo

Continue reading “Panic to Publish Untitled Goose Game by House House in Early 2019 on Switch, Mac, and PC”

Game Day: Donut County

Tomorrow, Donut County by developer Ben Esposito will be published by Annapurna Interactive, which also backed the critically-acclaimed Florence. The game, which was announced in 2014, but has been in development since 2012, tells the story of a raccoon named BK, his friend Mira and an assortment of other characters from Donut County who are trapped 999 feet beneath the surface of the Earth. You play by manipulating a hole that grows as you move it across the landscape swallowing objects. If the premise sounds strange, that’s because it is, but it also works through a combination of a clever game mechanic, funny writing, and engaging sound design and artwork.

Continue reading “Game Day: Donut County”

Mass shooting at Florida Madden tournament leaves multiple casualties

Enlarge / A photo of the outside of GLHF Game Bar. (credit: GLHF Game Bar)

A single shooter opened fire on a Madden NFL 19 tournament in Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday afternoon. Initial reports suggest four are dead and at least 11 are injured.

At a police briefing held at 4:30 pm ET, Sheriff Mike Williams of Duval County would not confirm the number of dead and injured, but confirmed that there were deceased people at the scene, which took place at the GLHF Game Bar, located at The Landing, an open-air marketplace in downtown Jacksonville.

“We just finished cleaning The Landing of potential witnesses and victims,” Williams said, later adding that the suspect was a white male who was deceased. The police were “still working to confirm his identity.”

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Reigns: Game of Thrones for iOS Announced and Is Available for Pre-Order

Today, Nerial and Devolver Digital announced that they are working with HBO to create a Reigns: Game of Thrones, which is available for pre-order now. Reigns, and Reigns: Her Majesty are among my favorite iOS games. Both Reigns games require players to swipe cards left and right to make decisions about ruling a medieval country and require a careful balancing of multiple interests to survive as monarch.

As I said in my review of Reigns, which I also named one of my favorite games of 2016:

Reigns is perfect for mobile…. Swiping left and right to make decisions about your kingdom is quick and easy wherever you are. The combination of the number of cards, consequences that span generations, and need to balance multiple statistics adds an interesting level of strategy. But above all else, what has endeared Reigns to me most is that the artwork and Continue reading “Reigns: Game of Thrones for iOS Announced and Is Available for Pre-Order”

Game Day: Holedown

It’s not often that a game grabs me and won’t let go the way Holedown has. Once I started playing, I couldn’t stop. I have the iOS 12 Screen Time reports to prove it. Even when I’d burned through all of the game’s levels reaching the final endless one, I kept coming back for more. Holedown has very quickly earned a spot as one of my all-time favorite iOS games.

Like most great mobile games, Holedown is simple. The game is a little like Breakout turned upside-down with a dash of pinball added. Each level begins on the surface of a planet. The object is to bore a hole through to the planet’s core by launching balls that bounce off of obstacles that advance up the screen with each turn you take. If the obstacles reach the surface without being cleared, you have to start over and try again with

Continue reading “Game Day: Holedown”

Game On: A Decade of iOS Gaming

Nowhere has the App Store’s impact been more profound than the game industry. Roughly one-third of the 500 initial apps that debuted on the App Store were games. The percentage of games on the App Store has risen over the past 10 years, but not by much. By some estimates, between 35 and 40 percent of the App Store’s apps are games today. What has changed is the size of the Store. With over 2.1 million apps currently available for download, that means around 800,000 are games.

Mobile gaming has become the primary driver of growth in the game industry over the past several years. According to a recent report by Newzoo, the mobile game industry, in which iOS plays a central role, will be a $100 billion market in just three years time.

The success of games on iOS parallels the phenomenal success of the iPhone and App

The Nokia NGage and original iPhone.
Blackbox makes innovative use of the iPhone's many sensors.
Zach Gage's Flipflop Solitaire.

Continue reading “Game On: A Decade of iOS Gaming”

The Decade-Long Road to Trism 2

Variety has an in-depth profile of Steve Demeter, the former Wells Fargo software developer who created Trism, one of the App Store’s earliest hit games.

Demeter became the face of the App Store gold rush for many people. His game, Trism, was one of the 500 apps that debuted on the App Store 10 years ago next Tuesday. The game, which incorporated the iPhone’s accelerometer, earned $250,000 in its first two months. With 3 million lifetime downloads, many at $4.99 each, Demeter quit his job as a developer at Wells Fargo to work on a sequel, eventually pouring all of the original game’s earnings into the effort:

Lost in the shadow of his initial success and worrying about a sophomore slump, the development of “Trism 2” became a nightmare cycle of starting and restarting, creating and destroying.

Eventually, Trism’s earnings dried up and Demeter got a job at Continue reading “The Decade-Long Road to Trism 2”

Pokémon Quest Arrives a Day Early on iOS

Initially slated for release on June 28th, Pokémon Quest has arrived on iOS a day early. The game, which debuted on the Nintendo Switch, is free-to-play with In-App Purchases. The Pokémon and their entire environment adopt a unique, blocky style in Quest. You start with just one Pokémon collecting more and evolving them as you progress through the game’s levels set on Tumblecube Island. In all, the game features the first 151 Pokémon from the series’ Kanto region.

Attacks are automated, but special attacks are available, though timer-limited. To speed up the timers, which are tied to other elements of the game too, players can purchase tokens using In-App Purchases. The game is playable without tokens but slow going.

I haven’t spent much time with Pokémon Quest yet, but my first impression is that it makes a solid companion to the Switch version of the game. After years of pundits Continue reading “Pokémon Quest Arrives a Day Early on iOS”

The Numbers Behind Monument Valley 2’s First Year

Once an app has spent a while on the App Store, it’s difficult from a user perspective to know just how well or poorly the app has done. It’s unusual for developers to share detailed financial figures, though it does happen every now and then. One team that’s led the charge in this area is ustwo, creators of the Monument Valley series of games. For the first Monument Valley, ustwo shared comprehensive statistics for the game’s performance in its first and second years. Today, year one of Monument Valley 2 has received the same open treatment. Head of studio at ustwo games, Dan Gray, writes:

I’ve heard this kind of data has really helped some developers get a handle on what they might expect from a successful premium launch, and given that it’s bloody hard making premium mobile games nowadays, if there’s anything we can do to help other Continue reading “The Numbers Behind Monument Valley 2’s First Year”

Valve removes game purchases from Steam Link’s iOS beta

Apple and Valve have been at an impasse for weeks over the release of Steam Link for iOS, but it looks like they might be closer to an arrangement… if not necessarily the one you’d hope for. TouchArcade has discovered that the latest beta test for Steam Link’s iOS edition removes purchasing from within the app. If you visit a game’s product page, the usual buying options are replaced with a notice that the content is “available for purchase from your PC.” You can use any existing funds in your wallet when you’re in the Steam Marketplace, but you can’t add funds.

Via: MacRumors

Source: TouchArcade

Phil Schiller Explains Steam Link App Rejection

Valve announced on May 9th that it would release a video game streaming app called Steam Link. According to Valve, that announcement was made after the app was approved by Apple’s App Review team. As we reported Friday, Valve says that App Review reversed its decision the next day, rejecting the app for what Valve describe as ‘business conflicts with app guidelines.’

Steam Link is an app designed to allow users to stream Steam games from a Mac or PC to an iOS device or Apple TV over fast WiFi or Ethernet. Valve appealed the rejection on the basis that it was similar to other LAN-based remote desktop apps available on the App Store, but the appeal was denied. That led some people to question whether Apple’s rejection was motivated by a desire to protect gaming on iOS devices and the Apple TV.

We now have a better idea Continue reading “Phil Schiller Explains Steam Link App Rejection”

Steam Link Rejected by App Review

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Valve was preparing to release an app called Steam Link that would allow gamers to stream Steam games to an Apple TV or iOS device over a fast WiFi or Ethernet network. The app was set to debut this week, but it was rejected by Apple’s App Review team. According to a press release from Valve, Steam Link was approved by App Review on May 7th and then rejected on May 10th, one day after Valve announced the app was coming to iOS and tvOS.

According to a tweeted statement by the Steam Database account:

Apple revoked its approval citing business conflicts with app guidelines that had allegedly not been realized by the original review team.

Valve’s statement also notes that other apps with similar functionality are currently available on the App Store. Valve appealed the rejection, which was denied.

Valve Continue reading “Steam Link Rejected by App Review”

Valve Announces Game and Video Streaming Apps for iOS and Android

Valve has announced that during the week of May 21st, it will release Steam Link, an iOS app that allows gamers to stream Steam games over wired Ethernet or 5GHz wireless networks to an Apple TV or iOS device. The app will support the Steam Controller and MFi controllers like the Steelseries Nimbus. Although the bandwidth necessary to stream games will preclude users from streaming on mobile networks, Steam Link provides greater flexibility to gamers who would otherwise be limited to playing on Macs and Windows PCs. The app will also be available on Android devices.

Valve also announced that it will release Steam Video on iOS later this summer. Valve sells TV shows and movies, but this is the company’s first mobile solution for viewing that content. Valve says users will be able to stream videos over WiFi and LTE networks or download them to iOS devices for viewing. Continue reading “Valve Announces Game and Video Streaming Apps for iOS and Android”

Chrome’s autoplay video blocker is accidentally killing Web-based games

Enlarge / Developer Bennett Foddy had to update cult classic QWOP to work with Chrome’s new update. Many other Web-based games may not be so lucky. (credit: Bennett Foddy)

An update Google rolled out for its popular Chrome browser this weekend helps prevent those annoying auto-playing video ads on many websites from disturbing your day with unwanted sound as well. But that update is causing consternation for many Web-based game developers who are finding the change completely breaks the audio in their online work.

The technical details behind the problem involve the way Chrome handles WebAudio objects which are now automatically paused when a webpage starts up, stymying auto-playing ads. To get around this, Web-based games now have to actively restart that audio object when the player makes an action to start the game. “The standard doesn’t require you to do this, so no one would have thought to

Continue reading “Chrome’s autoplay video blocker is accidentally killing Web-based games”

Game Day: Trick Shot 2

Trick Shot 2 is a physics puzzle game from Jonathan Topf, the lead designer of Monument Valley 2. This isn’t a game that breaks new ground, but it’s one that is executed wonderfully on all levels and has some great extras, instantly endearing itself as a fun diversion.

The goal is simple: shoot a ball into a box. You launch the ball by sliding your finger back inside an outlined launch area and releasing. The action is similar to the slingshot mechanic used in Angry Birds. The trick is to get the perfect angle, velocity, and timing to land the ball in the box. The process is complicated by the fact that the ball is incredibly bouncy and there is often a maze of household and other objects between you and the ball’s destination.

Trick Shot 2 is one of those casual games that works extremely well on a

Continue reading “Game Day: Trick Shot 2”

Tomorrow’s best video games may be private, offline experiences

At Ars Technica Live #20, Ars editors Samuel Axon and Annalee Newitz talked to award-winning game designer Tracy Fullerton. (video link)

Last week was the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, so we hosted a special episode of Ars Technica Live about the future of game design. Ars Reviews Editor Samuel Axon joined me to ask Tracy Fullerton about where games are headed in the future. An award-winning game developer, Tracy heads the Game Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. She gave us her perspective as a creator and as a teacher of the next generation of game creators.

We began by talking about two of Tracy’s best-known games, Walden and The Night Journey, both of which push the definition of what counts as a game. In Walden, the player takes on the identity of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during the mid-19th century when he

Continue reading “Tomorrow’s best video games may be private, offline experiences”

iOS Plays a Big Role at the Game Developers Conference without Apple’s Direct Participation

Just before the annual Game Developers Conference began in San Francisco, Epic Games released its hit game Fortnite on iOS. In the first four days as an invitation-only game, it made over $1.5 million. As the conference got into full swing this week, PUBG was released. Both games are full versions of their PC and console counterparts and support cross-platform play, which is an impressive accomplishment.

Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch interviewed Apple Vice President Greg Joswiak about the ramifications for mobile gaming:

“They’re bringing the current generation of console games to iOS,” Joswiak says, of launches like Fortnite and PUBG and notes that he believes we’re at a tipping point when it comes to mobile gaming, because mobile platforms like the iPhone and iOS offer completely unique combinations of hardware and software features that are iterated on quickly.

“Every year we are able to amp up the tech that Continue reading “iOS Plays a Big Role at the Game Developers Conference without Apple’s Direct Participation”