The Future of Mobile Games
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The Future of Mobile Games

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The Future of Mobile Games The Future of Mobile Games Presentation Transcript

  • The Future of Mobile Games Greg Costikyan [email_address] www.costik.com/weblog
  • The Present: Technology
    • Interpreted Languages (J2ME, BREW, et al.)
    • Limited application size (<=128k)
    • Security model prevents access to other features on handset
    • Limited network access (HTTP)
  • The Present: Business
    • ~$1b worldwide (but 60% in Asia)
    • North America:
      • 90+% of sales through operators
      • Charge on phone bill
      • ~70% of revenues to publishers
      • ~$200m revenues 2005
    • Europe:
      • 70+% of sales through operators (rest through 3 rd party portals)
      • <=50% of revenues to publishers
      • Charge through premium SMS
    • Continuing rapid growth
    View slide
  • Business (con’t)
    • One-time download fee ($3-$7)
    • Additional cost for network use (unpredictable)
    • <5% of handsets are ‘smart’
    • Difficult to market direct to consumers (different deck navigation, short codes by country, no premium SMS in US)
    View slide
  • The Present: Games
    • Sales on the basis of 1 line of text
    • Consumers go for the familiar (licenses, retro games, mobile versions of PC/console)
    • Operator deck placement critical
    • Multiplayer not working
    • Ultimately: Even less innovative than PC/console games
  • The Present: Non-Standard Standards
    • The single toughest aspect of mobile development
    • Need global deployment for reasonable revenues
    • Typically, hundreds of builds for a single title
  • Short Term Developments
    • 3D (EA sees it as “a console transition”)
    • Spead of support for other networking protocols (IP sockets, UDP [but most operators bar UDP traffic])
    • Spread of 3G
    • Increasing application size
    • … But no immediate change to business model or core technology
  • “Where’s the Killer App”
    • At conferences, both publishers and operators give lip service to the need for innovation…
    • But actions don’t match words, because branded games are what sell
    • Probably not going to happen without changes to consumer behavior, business model, and/or technology
  • Consumer behavior?
    • Need to provide more information to consumers
    • Game reviews available on some operators (Verizon)
    • Few publications/websites review mobile games though
    • Consumer marketing hard
    • MDFs on the horizon (not necessarily positive)
  • Business Model?
    • Push for 3 rd party portals
    • Particularly hard in North America (diverse network technologies; Qualcomm has lock on BREW)
    • Download-and-hot-synch too complicated for most users
    • Operators offering flat-fee data access (but little consumer uptake yet)
    • I don’t have any good ideas here
  • What makes mobile unique?
    • Ubiquity
    • WAN access
    • Voice
    • You already have a buddy list (it’s called your phone book)
    • SMS, presence, etc…
    • Location
    • Pervasive gaming
  • But you can’t use any of this…
    • Java/BREW security model doesn’t permit it
    • More flexibility on smartphones (but <5% of market)
    • VoIP (Pathway to Glory is a start)
      • But likely operator pushback
  • Technologies that may help
    • Camera?
    • PoC (but little deployment yet)
    • LBS (but real technical issues)
    • SIP or IP for small-scale multiplayer (but not for persistent server)
    • SNAP (but Nokia sponsorship may make some reluctant)
    • WiFi-to-WAN roaming (reduced data cost)
  • Further Down the Road
    • Motion/other sensors
    • Streaming media
    • RFID (“the world is clickable”)
    • Superdistribution
    • Wearable image projection
    • Modular design?
    • Projected keyboard
  • What’s key?
    • Social gaming
    • Location sensitivity
    • Pervasive feel
    • Persistence
    • Opt in/out
    • Cheap, predictable data charges
  • Challenges
    • Widespread standards adoption (OMA)
    • Minimizing need to integrate operator by operator
    • Non-game uses for core technologies to spur consumer adoption
    • Alternative business models