Features

Indie game developers in Asia get exclusive training from Google Play

Now is the time to make mobile games!

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huuuuge venue, hundreds of thousands of people, and everything gaming wherever you look.

This was the scenario during last week’s G-STAR 2018 at Busan, South Korea. Known to be one of the most important gatherings for game developers from around the world, Google Play took advantage of this event to showcase something new.

Instead of having additional big names thrown into the lineup of the four-day event, the company brought its promising platoon of independent game devs to share their works with everyone. More importantly, to share their stories of how they started and how Google has helped them get to where they are now.

Indie Games Accelerator program

Earlier this year, Google Play introduced the Indie Games Accelerator program that targets gaming startups based in India, the Philippines, Singapore, and other nearby countries. This is due to a rising revenue in mobile gaming in the APAC region with the Philippines and India being one of the fastest-growing players in Asia.

Google Play Director Purnima Kochikar explains that they want to keep their customers coming back and downloading their apps at the Play Store.

The goal is to help budding developers make high-quality games and reach their full potential. Google Play does this by conducting gaming bootcamps and providing them with all the tools and mentoring they need to create a successful title.

Aspiring developers may apply for the four-month program where they learn to build, scale, launch, and market the next generation of mobile games.

Game developers from the Philippines (middle) and Vietnam (right).

Apart from the tools and technology that Google is providing, developers accepted into the program will work with people already in the industry, be connected to its networks, and be given professional insights to help keep them walking on the right path.

Philippines’ Mochibits

Howard Go, an indie game developer from Mochibits, is the first Filipino to participate at a Google Play event at G-STAR. His game, Bounc.io – Balls vs Balls, lets players battle it out PvP style in real-time.

A former VP for a local telco, he quit the corporate life and went for what he really likes doing.

Howard Go, Mochibits

According to Go, the reason he took this path was that he wanted to do something that actually belonged to him. And by joining the Indie Games Accelerator program, he was able to produce a quality game that meets the standards of today’s big titles.

He was given tools that help detect in-game problems, avoid app crashes, and more. Go said the company also provides feedback and tells the developer what works and what doesn’t based on actual stats.

His game now has a rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 at the Google Play Store.

Mobile Gaming as the future of gaming?

There’s no denying that mobile gaming is on the rise.

Our smartphones are getting more and more powerful and we take them wherever we are — making them a perfect platform for gaming on the go. During the event, some of the biggest tournaments were not played on a console or PC, but on mobile phones. That’s something you didn’t see a few years back.

After a friendly debate with Go on whether mobile gaming is indeed the future of gaming, we’ve agreed that it’s not something that will die down soon. In fact, it will simply get bigger in the coming years.

If you’re an aspiring developer, now is the time to start making games. Google Play just made it a lot easier to get your ideas out there.

Hands-On

Xiaomi Mi 9 Hands-On: 2019 Flagship Killer?

BEAST!

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Top of the line specs, amazing cameras, and high-speed wireless charging. MWC hasn’t even officially started yet, so it might be premature to say this but has Xiaomi just unveiled the 2019 flagship killer?

We recently got to spend time with Xiaomi’s latest flagship and this is our hands-on video.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy M20 hands-on: Give the users what they want

Awakening of the sleeping giant

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Samsung has been the smartphone market leader for half a decade now, and its flagship phones continue to be an inspiration for everyone. However, while the brand is dominating in developed markets, it has taken a massive beating in the developing ones.

Thanks to players like Xiaomi, the South Korean brand has consistently lost market share in countries like India. Samsung slowly prepared itself to change strategy by the end of last year and intends to go hard in 2019. It announced the new Galaxy M-series lineup of phones in the budget segment and the M10 and M20 are the first ones to roll off the shelf.

The M20 has been launched in India for INR 10,990 (US$ 154) and comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. The option with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage costs INR 12,990 (US$ 182). The phone goes up against the Redmi 6 Pro, Realme U1, and even the Mi A2.

To start with, Samsung has opted to go with a basic design, consisting of a plastic body that is curved at the edges and is pretty glossy. The phone is extremely comfortable to hold, and the build quality is top-notch. Even the buttons are very tactile and bezels are smaller.

On the front is a 6.3-inch TFT display with a Full HD resolution and small water-drop style notch on the top. This is the first Samsung phone to feature a notch, and the display quality is surprisingly good. The color production is vivid and satisfying, while the viewing angles are perfect. It is easily visible even under direct sunlight.

For authentication, a fingerprint scanner is located on the rear and it is fast enough. You also have the option of face unlock and it works quickly in well-lit conditions. It has dual-SIM support and there’s a separate slot for microSD card, as well.

Powering the phone is an octa-core Exynos 7904 processor, which is considered to be on par with the Snapdragon 636. It is a very power-efficient processor with more emphasis on the cameras. Day-to-day tasks are handled smoothly and games like PUBG are playable with low graphics.

It has a dual-camera setup on the rear, consisting of a 13-megapixel primary shooter and a 5-megapixel wide-angle sensor. The pictures clicked during daytime are decently saturated but lack sharpness. Even focus tends to get slow in low-light conditions. The wide-angle lens works best in bright surroundings only and is a very handy tool. For selfies, it has an 8-megapixel shooter with built-in beauty enhancements.

It ships with Samsung Experience 9.5 out of the box and is actually well optimized. There is barely any lag and the UI offers a plethora of customizations and features. The company announced that the Android Pie update will be landing soon. Lastly, it has a massive 5000mAh battery that’ll get you through two days of usage.

Xiaomi has been successful because it offers users a balanced product that suits everyone’s needs. With the M20, Samsung goes down the same road. While the recently announced A-series phones were for photography enthusiasts, the M20 is good enough for everything.

The M20 is no disruptor, but an indication that Samsung is gearing up. And as a generation-one product, it’s performing fairly well.

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Cameras

Fujifilm Instax SQ20 hands-on: How good is it?

Trying out the new Motion Mode on doggies!

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Fujifilm’s sequel to their first ever digital/analog hybrid is here and it’s looking better than ever. The Instax SQ20 is one classy-looking instant camera but what can it do? With a set of built-in filters and new features like the Motion Mode, it looks like a promising device.

I finally try it out, with help from some doggies, on our hands-on video.

The SQ20 retails for US$ 199 in the US, PhP 12,999 in the Philippines, and SG$ 299 in Singapore.

In case you’re having trouble viewing, watch HERE.

READ ALSO: Fujifilm Instax SQ10 review

READ ALSO: Prynt Pocket unboxing and review: A printer that prints videos?

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