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Niantic gigantic as Pokemon dominates the news again

Weekly Roundup: Obsidian talks survival, Yang lambastes Twitch and Nintendo's market value eclipses Sony's thanks to AR

Oh Nintendo, with your hokey, family-friendly, stuck in the mud ways. Refusing to take mobile seriously, eschewing new technologies like AR, recycling all your IP until people are fed up to the back teeth with it. It's quaint, but it'll never get you anywhere.

Except... Nintendo might have turned up late to the party, but it's wearing a really nice dress and now everyone has stopped talking about anything else and is just staring, dumbstruck, as Tatsuma Kimishima saunters between the living room and the kitchen with Niantic on his arm. Yes, everyone from specialist media to mainstream TV networks is talking about Pokemon Go again this week, as the AR game gradually recovers from its launch hiccups and DDOS attacks to establish itself ever more firmly at the head of the mobile charts.

On Tuesday, as the markets caught up to just how big the impact of this combination of mobile, AR and an iconic IP was going to be, Nintendo's market cap was pushed past Sony's, with Bloomberg pointing out that the uptick marked "the biggest daily turnover for any company in the Topix index this century." Given that the game only launched in the vast market mobile of Japan this morning, it's safe to say that there's more cash to come from the cow.

"You can spend your own money, you can lie, or you can do what you're told. And, generally, we've always chosen that we'll just do what we're told - even when we don't believe in it"

Feargus Urquhart

Nonetheless, the game is still far from perfect, both mechanically and in terms of reliability, and Wesley Leviton had a few tips on how Niantic might improve the experience for players, suggesting a tighter integration with real-life events like weather and flight-patterns.

Moving out of the shadow of Nintendo's new colossus for a moment, Feargus Urquhart's frank discussion of the fortunes of Obsidian makes for fine reading, as the founder talks honestly about swallowing the sometimes bitter pill of work-for-hire to keep the lights on. "You have three choices," Urquhart explained. "You can spend your own money, you can lie, or you can do what you're told. And, generally, we've always chosen that we'll just do what we're told - even when we don't believe in it.

"I don't want to make excuses," he continued. "I hate making excuses, but I think what's also very interesting about our industry is that developers are uncomfortable and feel that they shouldn't ever make any criticism about publishers. That's one of the other challenges, and I don't really know what to do about this, because there's a whole group of people that do have an effect on our businesses, and is there any sort of responsibility there? They can kinda do what they want. I don't know if that's bad to say."

Robert Yang, developer of rightly unashamedly provocative games about sexuality, has seen a third creation of his banned from Twitch streaming, falling foul once more of the platform's stance on nudity. Yang was clearly angry about the decision, which to be fair to Twitch is outlined reasonably clearly in the T&C agreement made by broadcasters, with the developer calling out what he perceives as an inconsistent moral stance around violence, sex and sexual identity.

""What's too gay for them, what's too sexual for them? Why did they change their mind when I re-mastered my games and put them on Steam?"

Robert Yang

"What's too gay for them, what's too sexual for them," asked Yang. "Why did they change their mind when I re-mastered my games and put them on Steam? I have no idea, and that's the biggest problem: Twitch never says anything. No e-mail, no notification, no rationale, no reason, no pity tweet. Am I just supposed to keep refreshing the ban list page to see if they banned me, for every single game I make, forever?"

Twitch was also in the news for a different ban, having closed the channel of its seventh most popular streamer James 'PhantomL0rd' Varga for violating community standards after his involvement in the ongoing CS:GO skin betting scandal. Varga's 1.3 million followers expressed mixed responses after his dismissal, which is thought to be the result of his attempting to fix the outcome of skin gambles, but Varga's online streaming career has essentially been curtailed for good.

The rabbit hole of CS:GO based lotteries may have gone deep, but Valve seems to finally be putting its money (lawyers) where its mouth (bad publicity) is by issuing cease and desist letters to 23 sites which operate gambling based on CS:GO, pointing out the necessary integration with Steam's API gives them the right to shut down any related activities which it deems inappropriate or illegal.

Elsewhere on GamesIndustry.biz this week:

eSports 'Wild West' period is nearly over, says a Casual Connect panel

Spain is emerging as a significant development force in Europe

Investors should be leery of VR projects, says Mitch Lasky, who believes the space to be saturated with optimistic cash

Microsoft sees Xbox profits dip, as customers hold off on hardware purchases with new models on the horizon

But, says Rob Fahey, the true extent of that effect remains to be seen, with Scorpio likely to make things even tougher for the Xbox One

In other news...

Square Enix's Collective program passes the $1m milestone

Facial capture tech firm Faceware launches an Interactive Division

Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell, will talk at BAFTA in London in September

Nvidia has stepped up the GPU wars yet again, announcing that its newest card will offer 11 Terraflops of processing power

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