Layout and cover art:
Nokia Research Center, Finland
The IPerG (Integrated Project on Pervasive Gaming) project for funding part of this work
Nokia Research Center, Finland
Nokia Research Center, China
For initiating and structuring the project, co-authoring the initial sets of questions and invitations,
rewiewing and selecting the articles.
Chapter 1: Please note that this report does not reflect
Nokia roadmaps or future product releases. This
report is a collection of opinions of the people
Introduction who contributed in this study.
The study looks at mobile gaming from three points
of view: Users and games, Technologies, and Busi-
ness. We focus on Europe, however, our contribu-
tors come also from other regions. Differences in
different markets can be rather large . The study
The Mobile Games 2010 study (MG2010) was initi- concentrates more on the future than today. Excel-
ated by Nokia Research Center (NRC) at the end of lent sources exist about the today’s situation, and
year 2005 to get insight on how the mobile games some of them are freely available, such as the IGDA
and gaming will be like within a few years time. We Mobile Games White Paper . One of the articles
started the study by organizing an expert workshop in the article collection also gives a brief summary
with 13 game experts in Nokia. With the data that of the History of the Mobile Games (starting with
was gathered in the workshop, we created an inter- the first commercial Mobile Game, Nokia’s Snakes,
view structure and interviewed 20 mobile game de- in year 1997) .
velopers, publishers, operators and other researchers
(see the list of contributors in the end). The inter- The report is divided in three parts: Section 2. Users
views were done either in face-to-face situations and Games, Section 3. Technologies, and Section 4.
(majority) or via phone, and email. The interviews Business. Conclusions are drawn in the end of the
were semi-structured (1) . document and the referred materials are listed. The
contributors for the report are listed in the begin-
Additionally, we invited experts to contribute to the ning of the document. Most of the contributors were
study by writing short articles related to the topic. interviewed for the report, some of them reviewed
These articles are compiled in an appendix that ac- the report and came up with useful comments, and
companies this report. The journal includes articles some did both.
on mobile game security (Steven Davis) , tech-
nology road mapping for future mobile games (Son-
ja Kangas) , proximity gaming (Tom Söderlund)
, virtual asset trade (Steven Davis) , cross- (1) The interviews involved a list of interview topics that were
medial access (Vicky Wu) , architecture for con- followed in the each interview. However, the interviewees
nected mobile gaming (Frank Fitzek) , and fu- were freely allowed to talk about the topics that they consid-
ture of mobile games (John Paul Bichard) . ered important themselves.
Chapter 2: Partly this can be due to what kinds of games ex-
ist for the platforms, but also it must be noted, that
in the case of PC, you already have the device and
Users and Games you just need to buy the game. The same applies to
the mobile platform and this may be one of the rea-
sons why mobile games can become popular among
It is commonly said that mobile game players are
mostly casual gamers who play the games for a
In this section, we look at who will be the mobile few minutes when waiting for something or being
game players and what kind of games are predicted bored. However, a study done by Sorrent and U30
to be popular in year 2010.  found that many core or hard core gamers (for
a definition see e.g. ) play mobile games. The
study was rather large-scale, more than 700 mo- Figure 1 An example of a mobile game that is
bile game players participated the study. They also targeted to women. WatAGame’s GoSupermodel
The users and how they play found that 80% of them had a gaming console at game
home, more than 60% of them played mobile games
There is quite a lot of research conducted on the at home, many of them played frequently (more than
mobile game player demographics, but the results 60% played mobile games more than once per day),
vary a lot depending on the group who participated and they played for long periods of time on average
the studies. Typically, the studies show that a con- (15-20 minutes). In another study(4) , which was
siderable partition of the mobile game players are commissioned by Nokia, the average play session
female. One example is the free mobile game por- length was found to be 28 minutes. In our studies in
tal GameJump’s study  among its users (50 000 Nokia Research Center, we have field tested com-
players were involved in the study) where it was mercial mobile games, and found that particularly
reported that in the US 59% of the players were the players of online games spend a lot of time play-
ing one play session. The most enthusiastic mobile (2) Could be because the game site is not welknown outside
male, and 41 female. The male/female ratio was the US
more geared towards men among the international game players can even spend several hours playing (3) Also, according to the author’s own experiences and ob-
players (79/21)(2). Juniper Research’s report es- a mobile game. The typical places that are reported servations, women who already have families are often quite
timates that mobile games business will grow from in our studies for places where the games are played busy and cannot necessarily afford to spend several hours in
$3 billion in 2006 to $10.5 billion in 2009 and that include home and work. It seems to be common to front of computers. There are always distractions in the real
play mobile games in places like bed before going to life. The mobile gameplay that is not fixed in one location and
growth will be driven by the casual and female play- often supports short playsessions may fit better in that kind of
ers. One comment from our interviews was that in sleep, or playing on the couch while watching TV. lifestyle.
the non-mobile gaming field, more women play PC (4) 1800 users participated in the study in six countries
5 Chapter 2
Users and Games
In 2010, more people will play mobile games. As given by our interviewees about the players of real-
mentioned earlier, and also noted a few times in our life games using mobile phone as a tool.
interviews, women will be important for driving this
growth. Recently, there have been signs that some
companies particularly aim to target their mobile
games to young women (see e.g. Gameloft’s com-
ment about targeting women players ). One
example is Danish game development company
WatAGame’s goSupermodel (Figure 1), where the
players battle it out in the catwalk. We can expect to
see more mobile games that are targeted to women in
the future. The number of hard-core gamers will also
get bigger in the mobile platform when the quality
of the games is getting better and the mobile phone
as a game development platform will offer more
possibilities for creating games that both look good
and lots of “deep” content. One of our developer in-
terviewees noted that the company is addressing the
needs of hardcore gamers by providing games that
have hard-core theme and content but casual game
mechanics that are better in the mobile game play
situations. One good example of this is the Doom
 mobile game.
In the year 2010, more people than today have been
using a mobile phone for their entire life. In Fin-
land, a typical age to get a mobile phone is when
children go to school at the age of seven. These kids
who have grown up with mobile phones will have Figure 2 Future players of mobile games. The mobile phone can be used as a tool in play.
a different, more pervasive(5) relationship with the
mobile phone. One example of this is using the mo- (5) The word ”pervasive” is used here in the sense that the
mobile phone is an important part of every day activities.
bile phone as a tool in everyday playing. A Finnish (6) The children used the mobile phone in a special Finn-
tabloid recently reported children playing hide-and- ish variation of the hide-and-seek game for collaboration
seek with using mobile phone as a tool in this game amongst the hidden players, informing the lost players, and
(6) . There were also some spontaneous positive revealing someone’s location by calling his or her mobile
6 Chapter 2
Users and Games
few emerging game styles that may or may not be
The games that will be popular more popular in year 2010 or later.
Currently, the most popular mobile games are quite “Snack games”
casual and many of them are versions of game titles
that are developed for PC. For instance, Tetris ap- Snack games are small simple games that are typi-
pears frequently in the list of top ten most sold mo- cally played just for a while when the player is bored
bile games . These “snack games” will definitely or waiting for something and then set aside. These
not vanish from the market, but they are more likely games are typically small puzzle games or simple
to have optional multi-player functionality. What arcade games(9).
will change is that there will be more diversity.
Most of the today’s mobile games can be described
Like mentioned in the previous section, games that as snack games. Even if there will be a lot more di-
offer deeper gameplay and good graphics will get versity in the future, there are no signs that snack
more common. Some of the experts who we inter- gaming would vanish anywhere. This was confirmed Figure 3 Fitting a 3D object into an silhouette in
viewed believed in similar games getting popular in in our interviews. Snack games will be there and Fathammer’s SiL game.
the mobile platform are as popular now in the PC they may even drive the industry . The mobile
platform. However, the majority of the experts be- phone fits very nicely for snack gaming since it is
lieved that the successful mobile games would be always available and many players do not care about
something different, specifically designed for the deeper gaming experiences (and do not even con-
mobile platform(7). These games could utilize the sider themselves as “gamers”). Instead, they are sat-
specific features of the mobile phone: 1. connectiv- isfied with more casual gaming experiences. Also,
ity, 2 “always-with-you”, and 3. the context of the innovation can happen in mobile puzzle games as
player. At the same time, the games need to be de- well. One good example of this is Fathammer’s SiL
signed around the limitations in the mobile environ- game  where the player has to rotate 3D objects
ment. The biggest limitations for the game design to fit into a silhouette.
include today: small screen size and keypad, net-
work latency and traffic pricing, file size limitations,
and platform fragmentation (see Section 3)(8). The (7) One of our invited articles defines the first category as “port-
use situations of the mobile games are also often able games” and the second as “mobile games” 
(8) The battery life and processing power can be also problems,
different than when playing a PC or console game, however, these issues do not usually need to be considered
even if – as noted earlier – mobile games are often when designing the game.
(9) However, it must be noted that a snack game like Tetris can
played at home as well. be played by another player like a snack game and by some
other player fanatically. In this paper, we refer to a common
We have listed the following game styles that will be playing style
7 Chapter 2
Users and Games
Cross-platform games and entertainment (or poly-
morphic content) was a big theme in our interviews.
One of our invited papers also concentrated in this
issue . There are different kinds of cross-plat-
form games. The “mildest” form of a cross-platform
game is that the games in different platforms just
share the same game license, but the gameplay in
different platforms does not have any connection.
We can already see these kinds of games utilizing
popular game licenses, such as The Sims. These
games can have similar stories or gameplay, or they
can be complementary. One example of this could
be a console game or a movie that is complemented
with a mobile game where a small part of the whole
story is revealed. For instance, the mobile game
could explain something about the main character’s
past that was never told in the movie.
Figure 3 Fitting a 3D object into an silhouette in Fathammer’s SiL game.
The next step in cross-platform is allowing the play-
ers to use two or more platform to access the same If the gameplay of a cross-platform game title is could be used as “a remote control”, is an MMOR-
game. The ways to play the game with the different asymmetrical in different platforms and the mobile PG (Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing
platforms are symmetrical (similar) or asymmetri- phone is one of the platforms, most of the game- Game) where the players can use mobile phone for
cal (different). There are already games that can be play can happen in the mobile platform, the other doing small tasks in the game.
played in different platforms, such as an MMORPG platform(s), or equally in all the platforms. A typical
“A Tale in the Desert” . However, having the mo- example of a game where the mobile phone would Nokia Research Center has conducted two quali-
bile phone as part of the cross-platform functional- be the main platform could be a game where some tative studies together with SonyNetservices and
ity is not common yet. Hinterwars is probably the content for the mobile game is created in other plat- Gotland University on what kinds of cross-plat-
first commercial cross-platform MMOG (Massively form, for instance, in a web page. Mobile games can form access methods could be popular among the
Multi-Player Game)  including the mobile com- also benefit from allowing the players to use the most current MMORPG players . In these stud-
ponent. In Hinterwars, the gameplay in the PC and feasible available platform for communicating with ies, 28 players participated in in-depth interviews.
mobile platform are symmetrical (see Figure 4). each other, e.g. for writing messages in a game fo- It was found that the MMORPG players were very
rum. A good example of a game where the PC game interested in using mobile features that allow them
could be the main game, and the mobile phone to connect to the communication
8 Chapter 2
Users and Games
channels of their favorite PC-based MMORPG. Mixed-reality games  often use several platforms interesting, share files, and more.
Also, using small features that would not affect too to create the playing experience. Various platforms
much the gameplay in the main platform and would can be used for informing about the game, entering One enabler for the location-based games to become
not require too fast interaction were popular, such the game, playing the game, or observing the game. more popular is the increasing amount of location-
as trading items or crafting. Features that involved These games often allow various levels of participa- technology that is available for the consumers with
getting notifications from the MMORPG received a tion from active players to observers or even non- relatively low price. For instance in Finland the pric-
mixed feedback. They were considered useful, how- players (who do not necessarily even know that they es of GPS modules (such as Navicore) have come
ever, sometimes players were worried about “being are part of the game). These kinds of games have this down rapidly within the last two years. The compa-
borderline gaming all the time” and getting too in- far been mostly successful as promotional games. A nies who are providing just maps today will start to
volved in and addicted to playing. We also studied good example of that kind of game is Nokia Game consider what other kinds of applications they could
using the mobile phone to play an MMORPG in a that has ran from year 1999 as a promotional game provide for the consumers. One sign of this is Navi-
location-based mode. According to our study, these event for Nokia . core’s map application that gives the driver of the
kinds of games would not be popular – unless they car instructions. In addition, the driver can choose
would be specifically designed to be location-based Location-based games (LBGs) which voice he wants to use from several options
in the beginning. It is unlikely for the location-based (among which are some celebrities).
MMORPG mobile game extensions will be popular Location-based games have not been a major com-
in year 2010. What is very likely is that some more mercial success this far. A few commercial location- However, there are still many problems with the loca-
subtle features, like accessing the communication based games have been launched, such as Botfight- tion technologies. For instance, GPS is very suitable
channels or trading with mobile, will be commonly ers  and Mogi Mogi . Geocaching , which for using in a car since being outdoors all the time
used with some MMORPGs. is a real-world GPS assisted treasure hunt game, is makes seeing the satellite easier. However, gaming
also an example of a location-based playful appli- and traffic can be a tricky combination and using a
The first PC or console games that will use mobile cation that has gained some popularity and rather GPS device constantly when walking around in a
phone to support the game will simply connect to much publicity. However, the location-based genre city can be cumbersome (especially in rough weath-
the communication channels of the game. We have is a niche. In our interviews, the response for ques- er conditions, such as heavy rain). Some problems
seen already a few examples of this, for instance, tions related with the near-future success of loca- with using GPS for location information have been
Habbo Hotel , a virtual world created by Su- tion-based games ranged from skepticism to slight reported as well, for instance in the vicinity of very
lake, has included a mobile chat client that was used optimism. It was also noted that maybe the location- high buildings . Other technologies for location
for sending messages in the game. Later Sulake re- based games have been too often very goal oriented tracking exist, but utilizing them is not necessarily
moved this feature from the game since it was not games and that the popular location-based applica- that easy either. The mobile operators offer tracking
used much. The reason for this was probably that the tions could be more playful. One example of a loca- services which are not as accurate as GPS. Using a
typical players did not yet have advanced-enough tion-based (proximity based) application is Nokia’s location service by operator may be expensive and
phones to use the feature and the pricing for data Sensor application . The users of the Sensor ap- require going through a lot of bureaucracy . One
traffic was very high in the mobile networks. The plication can browse other users of the same applica- option is to use the CELL-ID for obtaining a rough
time was too early for the feature and now both of tion who are in the vicinity (i.e. within the Bluetooth knowledge of the whereabouts of the player. How-
these issues are changing. range), and see if they can find someone ever, this information is sometimes seen to be
9 Chapter 2
Users and Games
owned by the mobile operator which may cause and user-created content (see Figure 5). Mixing the virtual and real – pervasive gaming
problems in commercial applications. Proximity
gaming can be a more suitable way for locating According to the definition that is used in the Inte-
players of the same game at the moment, since the grated Project on Pervasive Gaming (IPerG ) 
technology for doing this is already widely avail- pervasive games are “game experiences that are in-
able. Some commercial applications already exist terwoven with our everyday lives”. This means that
(such as Nokia Sensor that was mentioned earlier). pervasive games mix with our everyday activities.
Those who are interested in proximity gaming can In the extreme cases this could mean games that are
read more about it in Tom Söderlund’s article in the more like a life style than just a game. Pervasive
article appendix of this report . gaming can - but does not necessarily need to mean
– location-based gaming. Location-based games are
When talking about LBGs, concentrating on accura- a subset of pervasive games.
cy can be a red herring. Accuracy may not be impor-
tant, and sometimes using exact location informa- One good example of mixing virtual and real is a
tion in a game can be even threatening for players game event organized by Nokia Research Center
who do not want to let the other players to know and a collaborative project Sensor Planet  is
about their whereabouts. There is always potential Manhattan Story-Mash Up event (Figure 6) in the
for stalking if a very accurate location technology Urban Games festival in New York. In this game
is used. Sometimes it might be interesting for the event, the players were taking pictures of real-life
player just to know that the other player is in the objects in the street and other players were guessing
same neighborhood. Some mobile games may be lo- what these objects represent. The second mode of
cation-based even without the players realizing that play was web-based, where the players wrote stories
they are playing a location-based game. The players around the content. Earlier examples of these kinds
may just play a game in a certain location. One ex- of games exist, too, such as, Can You See Me Now,
ample of this could be a mobile-assisted bar quiz. Uncle Roy All Around You, Pac Manhattan, Human
Pacman etc. These kinds of games can be particu-
One big problem with commercializing location- larly successful as promotional game events, for in-
based games is the amount of resources that is needed Figure 5 An example of a research prototype stance, Nokia has used a mixed-reality game “Nokia
for customizing the games or applications to differ- called Constellations where content is automati- game” already for years for promoting its phones.
ent locations. A few solutions exist and the solutions cally generated to fit new locations. More in www.
may also show direction to where the location-based mupe.net
games or playful applications will go in the near fu-
ture. The location can be relative, the location may The Location-based games will probably still stay
be not mapped directly to the real world, and the as a niche in year 2010. However, we will see more
game may utilize existing maps and services location-based games than today.
10 Chapter 2
Users and Games
There are a few reasons for connected gaming not The game received particularly good reviews and
being more popular today. In the earlier days, there good publicity (see e.g. ).
were big usability problems with connected gaming.
Most of the users had no idea how to even set up
network settings. Nowadays this is not a big prob-
lem anymore as many mobile phones come with
pre-set network settings or the operators send the
settings automatically when the user inserts a new
SIM card in his or her phone. However, there are
still many problems. One of the biggest one is the
pricing of data traffic in mobile networks, as also
occasionally cited in our interviews. Most of the op-
Figure 6 Manhattan Story Mash-Up event in New
erators charge the data transfer by kilobytes, which
York. The pictures taken in the game were posted Figure 7 A good example of a contemporary mul-
makes it very difficult for a normal user to estimate
in a wide-screen in Manhattan. ti-player online mobile game that has received
how much money is spent when playing. This will
change in the future when operators offer more good reviews: Pathway to Glory.
multi-player friendly pricing models (see section 4).
Our interviews gave some indication that the bor- In the case of server-based online games, it can be
ders between the digital entertainment and gaming, also rather expensive to set up and maintain serv- Community
and also virtual and real may blur more in the near ers. Latency in the mobile networks is a problem in
future. An example of this already happening is the the games that require fast player-to-player interac- The community is often seen as a very important part
alternate reality game connected with the Lost TV tion . 3G networks help this a bit, but there will of the game, particularly in the case of multi-player
series. still be latency and disconnections from the network games. Human as a species has a strong need for so-
(particularly if the players are moving, e.g. sitting cializing and communities have existed probably as
Connected games (or online games) on a train). Even if the network technologies would long as the human kind. In Massively Multi-Player
not advance fast enough to offer a smooth real-time Online Game (MMOG) industry, there is a saying
Connected (online) mobile games have been com- multi-player gaming experience in the mobile net- “they come for the game but stay for the commu-
ing to the market already for several years. Howev- works, there are many ways to design multi-player nity” which is very much true. Plenty of literature
er, most of the mobile games are still offline games, games that are latency resistant . exists describing the benefits of a game having an
even if some of the mobile games use short-range active player community (see e.g. ).
communication technologies, such as Bluetooth or A good example of a successful connected mobile
infrared to facilitate locally multi-player games. In game is Pathway to Glory (Figure 7), which is a
Nokia study , 45% of the mobile game players strategy game where the players guide their troops
reported that they play multi-player mobile games at to solve missions in Second World War.
least once per month.
11 Chapter 2
Users and Games
In mobile games, community aspects are impor- Joining the game happens by invitation of another
tant as well. Our interviews revealed three different player of the game.
kinds of opinions:
Another example of a commercial community-fo-
1. The communities will be a central part of cused approach in today’s mobile gaming already is
mobile games. The mobile phone is a social device the N-Gage gaming platform , which has an ac-
used for communicating. tive player community around it. As the publisher’s
role becomes stronger in mobile games industry, it
2. The communities will be important but it is is likely that communities form around certain popu-
not clear where the mobile game communities will lar publisher’s game titles. Also, as connected gam-
reside. One very potential candidate is the Internet ing and even massively multi-player online gaming
(e.g. a mobile game that is accompanied with a web (MMOG) becomes more common in the mobile
page(10) ). Some interviewees also suggested that lo- platform, it is very likely that the role of commu-
cal communities may become important for mobile nities grows as well since it has been very central
applications. in the PC or console-based MMOGs and connected
games. Figure 8 Sea O’Fortune is a good example of a
3. Communities may not be an important part mobile-based MMOG game world
of mobile games in 2010. The mobile phone has its
limitations (e.g. the keypad, screen size, and the ma-
turity of connected gaming) and the success of on- The skeptical responses were based on the limita-
line mobile games has been still moderate. tions of the mobile phone and networks. It was also
The opinions that reflected mobile game communi- mentioned that the more casual and older players not
ties already being important part of mobile gaming being necessarily interested in using a lot of time in
already in year 2010 were more common. A few order to get involved in game communities. Howev-
skeptical responses existed. er, often different roles are possible in communities
ranging from active participants to observers.
One good example of a community-focused mo-
bile commercial game is Digital Chocolate’s MLSN
sports league , which is an entirely community-
based game where the players manage their sports
leagues to compete with others. In the academic do-
main, a good example of a game that is based on the
player community is COUP . In this game, the (10)However, some of the mobile phone are already more like
players compete with each other to climb up in a multi-media computer and web pages can be browsed equally
both with mobile phones and desktop computers.
12 Chapter 2
Users and Games
Prosumerism Serious games typically need to make the educa- when participating events. This is already possible
tional purpose very visible for either the founder of because the mobile users can browse Internet gam-
In other media than only the games a common trend the game or the player. The serious games have been bling sites with their mobile devices. Many of the
seems to be the more active role of the consumer. often criticized for not being fun. However, it could first mobile gambling games will resemble the ones
We call this prosumerism, which means that the user be the definition of a serious game that makes it so that are played today in the Internet or at Kiosks.
takes a role of a content creator or a hobbyist pro- (it needs to be something serious, If it is fun, it is not However, some mobile gambling concepts will uti-
ducer in a service or application. This trend certainly serious!). The more fun games that can have edu- lize the “live” aspect. Sometimes the mobile gam-
also affects the mobile gaming. However, the mobile cational or health benefits are often seen as games bling games can be part of a bigger concept where
phone offers quite limited screen real-estate and in- that are played just for fun (e.g. dancing or singing the game is played on different platforms.
put methods for creating content. Some of the con- games).
tent-creation or publishing tools may reside in other
platforms. One example could be a game where the The mobile phone is a good platform for serious
player can customize the game character in detail in games. The phone is almost always with the user
a web site but plays the game with mobile phone. and it is very accessible and can be aware of its
One very potential mobile technology for creating context. The user can always access the phone and
or publishing content is the mobile phone camera. engage in learning when he or she has time. In ad-
Use of voice has potential too, however, the use of dition, the learning can happen in the right context,
voice has not been utilized much in mobile games for instance, the players could get some additional
today. Also, we have noticed in when playtesting information about the real locations where they are
mobile games that quite often the players prefer to currently in. In health games the context becomes
play the mobile games without the sound. even more important. A good example of a success-
ful serious game in a portable gaming console is
We will see more games where the players can pro- Nintendo DS Brainage . Even this success alone
duce or create content (11) . However, these kinds of is likely to encourage some of the mobile developers
games will not dominate the market in year 2010. to experiment more in the field of serious gaming.
The technology is still a barrier in this area.
Seriuos games are related to the bigger topic of per-
Serious games suasive games. Advergames (games that advertise
something) are another form of persuasive games
Serious games can be defined as games that, in ad- and they are briefly discussed in the Section 4. (11)Lincoln Wallen defined the player created and published
content nicely in Nokia’s NERD conference in year 2006. He
dition to being fun, serve some useful purpose, such referred to player created content as something where the play-
as education or staying healthy. All games can be Gambling er creates things from the scratch and player published content
where the player uses content provided by the game developer
said to be educational or to influence the player to to create content. In the latter case, the content has already
some extent – the very core of gameplay is to learn Mobile gambling will gain popularity. The players value as itself. A good example of this is podcasting (user-pub-
lished content) and users composing songs themselves (user-
to master to play the game. can gamble with the mobile phone simultaneously created content).
Chapter 3: In the following, we have listed the technology
trends that were found in our workshop and inter-
views. It must be noted again that the new technolo-
The bigger developers typically have their automat-
ed testing platforms for testing mobile games.
Technology gies listed in this report do not refer to Nokia road
mapping but only to the interview data that was col-
lected in this study.
The mobile-phone camera was already mentioned
as an existing technology that will affect what kinds
In this section we discuss the technological trends Platform fragmentation of games will be popular already in the near future.
that are related to mobile games. The focus is more The mobile phone camera is mainly used for three
in the platform issues, not as much in the mobile The platform fragmentation is one of the biggest purposes: 1. creating content, 2. interaction, and 3.
network technologies, but it must be noted that both technological issues in mobile game development. creating augmented reality. The examples that we
are important. The different platform manufacturer’s phones vary give are here are from our research projects, how-
a lot, most importantly, in software development en- ever, it is likely that we will see commercial mobile
The technological trends are particularly interesting vironments, screen sizes and keypads. The mobile games using the camera in similar ways already in
since when a particular technology gets common phones developed by the same platform manufac- year 2010. A good example of a current commercial
and accessible via APIs (Application Programming turer vary as well. Porting a mobile game to sev- mobile game where the camera is used for game in-
Interfaces) in mobile phones, it can enable new eral platforms can be as expensive as developing the teraction is Final Fantasy: Before Chrisis .
commercially viable mobile gaming styles. A very game itself.
good example of this is the mobile phone camera, Many MUPE  games use the mobile phone cam-
which is becoming almost like a standard feature in The platform fragmentation, according to our inter- era for content creation. One example of this is the
the more advanced mobile phones. Not that many views, does not go anywhere by year 2010. Some Superstar game where the players try to take pic-
commercial applications exist yet, however, the use improvements will happen, particularly among the tures of the other players without them noticing it.
of mobile phone camera is very popular in research same platform manufacturer’s phones – the big- Another example of this a game prototype where the
projects. In these research projects, the camera is ger manufacturers like Nokia know that this is a mobile-phone camera was used to create race tracks
typically used for creating content, interacting with real problem for the developers and are working on in a rally game. The mobile-phone camera has been
the game or other players, and creating augmented making their life easier. The bigger game publishers used for interaction in a few research projects. A
reality. One of our invited papers roadmaps the fu- may also able to agree about some standards in the good example of this is the AR tennis game ,
ture mobile technologies (Sonja Kangas, VTT: The future. where the player uses the mobile phone camera to
Technology Centre of Finland) . Another in- play tennis with another player. A classical example
vited paper by Frank Fitzek of Aalborg University A big driver for the fragmentation is the fact that of an augmented-reality game that uses the mobile
describes a new kind of network architecture that new devices come frequently in the market and that phone camera is the mosquito game, where mosqui-
could be used in mobile games . may even increase the fragmentation in the future. toes (or viruses in another version) are augmented
For the bigger mobile game developers the platform on top of a real world view.
fragmentation can also been seen as an asset since it
is a huge barrier to entry for the smaller ones.
14 Chapter 3
networks include GPS, operator-provided location radio access protocols. In late 2005 and early 2006
tracking, proximity technologies, such as Bluetooth, during the initial real-world deployments of HSD-
Wi-Fi, and identifying the CELL-ID. Since the lo- PA, data throughput rates for individual terminals
cation-based games were already discussed earlier ranged from 1 to 3 Mbit/s with latency times be-
in this document we will not go further in detail in tween 100 and 300. UMTS networks deployed with
here. HSDPA are particularly attractive to operators due to
the continued cost savings and projected subscriber
Connectivity models which are associated. According to the 3G
America’s website; UMTS users have grown to 81
The mobile phones will have more options for con- million subscribers globally in less than one year,
necting to the mobile internet and the access will with projections of more than ten times that amount
be more ubiquitous. The high-end mobile phones by 2011 .
already have Wi-Fi connectivity, and it is likely to
become more common in low-end mobile phones as 4G network technologies are already in planning but
well. The ideal situation from the users point of view will not probably affect that much the market yet
would be that the mobile phone could automatically in year 2010. These networks can potentially offer
choose the most efficient network available (e.g. 100Mbps data transfer over IP compliant networks.
Figure 9 A player using the mobile phone camera fastest or cheapest) seamlessly. We got indication in 4G networks may also be compiliant with Wi-Fi and
as a controller when playing tennis against an- our interviews that some multi-player online games WiMax and reduce operator costs.
other player may use streaming technology for gameplay.
The operator interoperability can be sometimes a
Other new interaction technologies The mobile network technologies are evolving, like problem. This could be the case when a game would
in the past and we can expect the speed and the ca- use the operator’s presence service to see if quests
Some mobile phones already incorporate 3D motion pacity to grow in the future as well. Currently, in the can be sent to a player who is not currently actively
sensors that can be used for a new kind of game in- 2G networks the latencies are still rather high, typi- playing a game (to see if he or she is for instance
teraction. Technologies that make controlling mobile cally ranging from 300ms to one second. There can working).
games easier may gain popularity since that seems be also occasionally high latency peaks or the users
to be a problem currently. may disconnect from the mobile network (particu- Bluetooth is one of the most commonly used tech-
larly when commuting). GPRS and EDGE are the nologies currently for connecting multi-player mo-
Location technologies most deployed 2G technologies. bile gamers. Tom Söderlund’s article  in our ar-
ticle appendix discusses proximity gaming.
Location-technologies are becoming more common 3G UMTS networks improve data rates greatly but
and accessible in mobile phones. Location-based latency increases are marginal. In the 3GPP Rel-5,
games were already discussed earlier in this report. HSDPA promises low latency times using IP based
Examples of such technologies in mobile phones or network infrastructure combined with enhanced
15 Chapter 3
Communication between the applications However, the game design nicely involves this and the JSR-118/MIDP 2.0 for 2D graphics, JSR-184/
uses the field radio as a metaphor for sending the M3G for 3D graphics, JSR-239 offering Java bind-
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) enables flexible messages in order not to break the immersion. ings for OpenGL ES, and the upcoming JSR-297/
game interaction functionality (see e.g. ). SIP M3G 2.0 which adds support for advanced features,
protocol can be used for handling online game ses- Graphics performance such as programmable shading.
sions, presence, and messaging in text or even data
stream. Every player can be identified with a unique The graphics power of the mobile phones has in- All of these standards will have an impact on the
SIP address. The players can, for instance, invite creased a lot – the high-end mobile phones like No- mobile games that will be developed in the near fu-
other players who are not logged in the game to play kia N93 already have hardware accelerated graphics ture.
with them. Using SIP may become more common in and are capable of showing equivalent graphics as
the future since it seems to solve some of the prob- the PlayStation2 gaming console. This will make Software platforms
lems that are related with online gaming and it is al- developing 3D games for mobile more feasible,
ready commonly supported in the mobile networks. however, the usability issues for playing 3D games The software platforms for developing mobile
with small displays must be taken into account. games that exist today will be still strong in year
VoIP while playing Many mobile game developers and publishers seem 2010. The most popular one currently is Java. Brew
to favor 3D games, which showed also in our inter- is also popular, particularly in the Northern Amer-
Some of the online mobile games are likely to use views. For instance, Gameloft has announced that ica. Some developers choose to use Symbian for
voice chat simultaneously with gameplay already in the company’s goal is to eventually launch all of its creating a richer gaming experience. In the native
year 2010. This is due to the small size keypad that game titles in 3D . side, Windows Mobile is an upcoming competitor,
needs currently not only to be used for communica- but not that many games for Windows Mobile exist
tion but also for controlling the game. Voice com- The developers gain access to the new graphics fea- yet.
munication with mobile is very natural, and as soon tures through the use of standardized graphics pro-
as this is technically (and commercially) feasible, gramming APIs. An industry collaboration known A very promising new software platform for mobile
some of the online mobile games will utilize it. as the Khronos Group has been very successful game development is Flash Lite. When Flash Lite
in specifying high quality APIs with wide accept- becomes more common we will see a lot of porting
Today we can already see some signs about going ance. Examples of these include the OpenVG API of old simple web games. In the research, Python
to that direction, even if voice communication while for hardware accelerated 2D vector graphics and the has been quite popular. A good Python compiler ex-
playing online mobile game is difficult to implement OpenGL ES for 3D graphics. All major manufac- ists for the S60 Nokia phones and it is used in many
at the moment. In Pathway to Glory  mobile turers have either already implemented or are plan- research projects.
game, the players can communicate with each other ning to implement these APIs in their handsets. An-
with recorded short voice messages. The quality of other example of a Khronos group’s standard is the
the voice messages sent over GPRS cannot compete OpenKODE initiative for native gaming .
with the quality of making voice calls.
On the Java side, the Java Community Process (JCP)
has been equally active, with examples like
16 Chapter 3
Convergence them in addition to a mobile phone. Then on the oth- The combination of connected gaming and increas-
er hand, if the mobile phone ends up to be the play- ing popularity will create a need for enhanced secu-
Convergence of the mobile phone technologies is er’s only gaming device, then getting sometimes an rity both in a technical sense and when considering
a strong trend. A good example of convergence is enhanced gaming experience is desirable. cheating and other typical problems in online games.
the mobile phone and camera. The high-end mobile Another issue that will make security even more im-
phones are becoming more and more like mini com- In the following, we have listed a few development portant is gambling or trading game items for real
puters that can handle various tasks. When more paths that could make mobile game peripherals suc- money . Such games have not yet been seen in
mobile phones enable easy web browinsg, playing cessful already in year 2010: the mobile phones, but this may change in the near
browser-based games with a mobile phone will be- future. Steven Davis’ paper on mobile game security
come common. In some cases, the development of - The peripherals are multi-purpose devices in our collection of invited articles describes these
accessories and peripherals for the mobile phones - Some of the users play games only with issues in detail . Protection of the content will
may also increase divergence. their mobile become more important as its value gets bigger.
- Content that support the use of peripherals
- The usability, coolness-factor, and pricing
Development of peripherals can be an opportunity of peripherals are acceptable
for the mobile phone to provide opportunities for a
richer audio-visual game experience and better in- Security
teraction. The other way to go is developing ways
to connect mobile phones to already available other The security issues have not had a very big role so
devices. A good example of this is TV-out connec- far in mobile gaming. The sellers have been natural-
tion that already exists in some mobile phones (for ly interested that when a user buys a game he cannot
instance, in Nokia’s N93 phone). These kinds of copy it to other devices. On the other hand, this is a
connections also enable the users to use generic pe- problem for those who change mobile phones and
ripherals for the mobile phone, e.g. data glasses that would like to play a mobile game with their new
support external signal input. It should be also noted, device. However, this problem has not necessarily
however, that the content often needs to be designed seen as a big one since a new phone model would
to support the new output and input formats. need typically a new game version anyway. Also,
many of the story-oriented current mobile games
The success of peripherals for the mobile phone, do not include that much content and are quickly
particularly dedicated ones, is not certain. One very played trough.
important thing that separates the mobile phone from
other portable gaming devices the mobile phone is However, as quality of mobile games increases and
always with the user, even when the he or she would the gaming experiences become more connected, the
not be planning to play games. It is not certain if the security issues become more and more important.
Chapter 4: customer, and the best billing mechanism that exists
for mobile games.
advergames. The alternate- or mixed-reality games
also often tend to use a promotional revenue mod-
Business We got indications in our interviews that the times
will be hard for small mobile game developers in the
near future. The solution for this is to team up with
The mobile game players will be more often able
to try out the games before buying them. A study
a bigger publisher or aggregator. The operators are  commissioned by Nokia revealed that “Try be-
Value Nets typically not interested in discussing with the small fore you buy” is very important for the mobile game
players since they have established relationships player. One comment in our interviews was, though,
Our group of interviewees was quite biased in the with the bigger ones already. When the interoper- that “try before you buy” may be problematic if the
developer side with only a few operator respond- ability increases, the times will become easier for games are very short anyway.
ents. On basis of the interviews it was very clear that the smaller developers publishers again, but this will
the game developers in general think that the opera- probably happen after 2010. In-game advertisements will provide a revenue
tors are currently taking too big role in the value net stream for some games. This is something that is
and are actively looking for ways to go around them. The companies who understand the mobile platform already emerging in the non-mobile space. A good
There was some confirmation for this in the operator as a unique media will probably have an advantage example of a game where the in-game advertise-
side as well. However, the operators continue to be over to those who attempt to publish material that is ments play a big role is Funcom’s Anarchy Online
typical provider to offer a starting point for finding familiar from other platforms in the mobile. A good . Advertising more in games makes sense partic-
the games and often take care of billing the custom- comparison made by one of our interviewees was ularly when considering that young people tend to
ers. that the traditional publishers of TV content are typ- use as much or even more time playing games than
ically not as successful in the Internet as new play- watching TV.
In our interviews, the mobile game publishers pre- ers like Google or Yahoo.
dicted that their role will be stronger in the value net. Paying for content may become more common in
We got some indication about that from the operator Revenue Models mobile games. For instance, episodic content fits
side as well. In the near future, there will be opera- quite nicely for the mobile platform where the play
tor channels that the publishers can control rather The existing revenue model for mobile games is very sessions are supposed to be shorter than with a PC
independently. Some publishers will have their own, much based on the players paying for a single game. or console. Virtual asset trade and real money trans-
operator independent, portals for selling games. The The subscription-based model is gaining popularity actions in games have been an emerging trend in the
publishers who collaborate with the operators can also in Europe and has been a strong model in Asia PC gaming recently. This will also probably have
take the responsibility of transferring the game to the already for years. The other revenue models that will some effect in the mobile gaming, one of our invited
player directly and then just let the operator know become more common include promotional games, papers discusses these issues .
for what the customer needs to be billed. The op- game renting, paying for content, and gifting. Ex-
erators will not vanish anywhere from the value net amples of promotional mobile games exist already
within the next few years since they have a strong (e.g. TibiaME  launched by T-Mobile). Flash
role currently, a trust relationship with the Lite will probably increase the amount of mobile
18 Chapter 4
Distribution discussed already earlier. for instance, how the mobile TV operates currently
Even if a user would be interested in playing a mo- Billing
bile game, it may be difficult to find where to buy Marketing and brands
the game or the user is not even aware of the games One barrier for new revenue models is the billing
that he or she might be interested in playing. This is models that the operators are providing. According Advertising in the print media becomes more com-
one of the biggest problems at the moment in distri- to our interviews, the operators will provide more mon. The new phenomena will be easier to get into
bution. The situation may become even more con- billing models in the near future. For instance, the the knowledge of the audience faster. A good exam-
fusing for the users when there will be more portals users can form groups and the billing can be done ple of this is Jamba’s Crazy Frog.
that are selling mobile games. At the same time, the for the group instead of an individual.
increased advertising and reviews around mobile The more flexible billing models will also enable Some of the bigger mobile game developers are
games will probably help the users to find the good models where the players pay for virtual assets or building their own, mobile-originated game brands.
portals for buying the games that they want to play. even trade them with each other. One of our invited Brand building can also get easier when the game
articles considers real money transactions (RMT) in publishers will have their own distribution chan-
Most of the mobile games today are distributed over games . nels. According to our interviews, the operators are
the air (OTA) and this will not change by the year not always that interested in new brands since they
2010. OTA seems to be a more successful mod- Billing for the content may happen in a different like to play safe. This seems to depend on the opera-
el than selling games in retail for mobile. A study place where getting the content does. For instance, tor since not all of them are interested in branded
 shows that mobile game players are currently the mobile game could be bought with a console games. While the bigger players from the console
interested in downloading games over the Internet game in a box but then the content downloaded over and PC games field are entering the business, we
(OTI) as well (the popularity of OTI was 35% and the air with, for instance, an access code. will see more familiar brands from there to emerge
OTA 45%). However, this may reflect the high pric- in the mobile space. Some of the interviewees who
ing for data transfer currently. When the prices for Cost were acquiring content said that they are not particu-
data transfer go down and the reliability and speed larly interested in big licenses. One trend that also
up, the popularity of OTA will increase. Currently The cost for developing mobile games will grow emerged in the interviews was that the social net-
OTI usually means downloading games to a PC while the quality requirements(12) for mobile games works are used for marketing games.
and transferring them to a mobile phone, however, increase. We got some indication in our interviews
OTA and OTI will also converge when the mobile that the cost versus revenue rate is not well-balanced. The players will have more awareness of the mobile
phones can be also used as Internet browsers that The development cost of mobile games is going up game publishers and if they are usually publishing
use Wi-Fi for data transfer (and the more advanced but the revenues are not increasing as quickly. good games or not. Some players will choose the
ones already can). Also, the traditional console and games that they buy based on the publisher.
PC games business is moving towards OTI. An arti- The cost for data-transfer has been a big barrier for
cle in Gamasutra shows that in future games may be mobile online gaming. In the future, many operators
distributed more often in the Internet . The issue will offer flat data transfer fees. Sometimes, the data
of who will provide the distribution channels was transfer fees can be included in the service. This is, (12) This refers to the users expecting better graphics etc.
Recommendations by friends and trials sent by camera, will also encourage developing games with inside the operators’ portals. Times will be hard for
friends seem to be currently very important for the new interaction styles and possibly even new mo- the smaller publishers or developers who don’t have
mobile game players . It is very likely that these bile game genres. their own portals or relationships with the operators
kinds of features will be used more frequently in or bigger publishers.
selling the future mobile games When considering the software platforms for mo-
bile game development, the existing ones will be
Chapter 5: strong (Java, Brew, and Symbian in Europe), and
Flash Lite will gain popularity. The users will have
more possibilities for connected gaming as the mo-
Conclusions bile phones will offer possibilities for using various
technologies for data transfer (3G and the next gen-
eration, Wi-Fi, etc).
We are not expecting the mobile gaming to change The distribution of mobile games is currently a huge
radically from today to year 2010. The mobile games problem. This will change at least somewhat by
will have a lot more publicity and the players will be 2010. Utilizing viral distribution and “try before you
more aware of mobile games. An increasing number buy” will be successful. There will be more portals
of people who consider themselves as gamers will for buying games, provided by the operators, big
be playing mobile games, sometimes this will be a games publishers, and platform manufacturers. The
cross-platform experience where the player can ac- portals will have better usability and provide more
cess the same game from various platforms includ- information about the games for the players. The
ing mobile. “Snack” or casual games will be still players will have also more knowledge about the
very important part of the business. Currently these portals, games, and mobile game publishers. Some
kinds of games generate most of the revenue in mo- of the players will trust certain publishers to create
bile games industry. The partition of games that are good-quality mobile games.
geared towards more hard-core gaming experiences
will grow but not radically. Online gaming will be The publisher’s role in the value net becomes strong-
more popular when the technological and commer- er, however, the operators will also still be strong in
cial barriers get smaller. the value net. The roles in the value net get clearer
and publishers may take over some of the tasks that
The technological advancements in the mobile have belonged to the operator, such as transferring
phone, such as hardware accelerated 3D graphics, the game files directly to the player. Some of the
will drive the increasing quality of the mobile games. publishers will have their own distribution channels
Some technologies that will become more common and some will work together with operators taking
in mobile games, such as the mobile phone more independently care of their own “channels”
Acknowledgements Jussi Holopainen Juha Ruskola
Nokia Resarch Center, Finland Mr Goodliving, Finland
The following people were invaluable in the many Teemu Jalava Mattias Svahn
forms of contributions to this report. They helped Nokia Research Center, Finland Swedish Inistitute of Information Science,
with participating interviews, commenting and re- Aki Järvinen Sweden
viewing the reports, and writing articles. The con- Veikkaus (the Finnish National Lottery Tom Söderlund
tributors and the company where they were em- Company), Finland Blaze, Sweden
ployed at the time of the contribution are listed Sonja Kangas Mika Tammenkoski
below in alphabeitical order VTT (The Technical Research Center of Digital Chocolate, Finland
Finland), Finland Jyrki Usva
Juha Arrasvuori Sampo Karjalainen Sonera, Finland
Nokia Research Center, Finland Sulake, Finland Lincoln Wallen
Tomi Aarnio Praveen Karoshi EA Mobile Games, UK
Nokia Research Center, Finland Nokia Technology Platforms, India Vicky Wu
Raimo Backstrom Jani Karlsson Froghop, USA
Nokia Networks, Finland Nokia Multimedia, Finland Serguei Zhitinski
John Paul Bichard Jaakko Kievari Mobos, Russia
Idea Milk, Sweden Nokia Multimedia, Finland
Greg Costikyan Vesa-Pekka Kirsi
Manifesto Games, USA Nokia Multimedia, Finland
Steven Davis Jani Kärhämä
GlobalSecure Inc, USA Fathammer, Finland
Frank Fitzek Panu Mustonen
Aalborg University, Denmark Satama Interactive, Finland
Anton Gauffin Ning Yang Nibble
Gamelion, Finland Nokia Research Center, China
Tim Greenhalgh Mark Ollila
Galaxylife, UK Telcogames, UK(13)
Tim Harrison Seth Pfeiffer
Vodafone, UK Nokia Networks, USA
Mikko-Pekka Hanski Markus Ramark
Idean Resarch, Finland Nokia Multimedia, Finland If you have contributed but your name was not in the
Fernando Herrera Adolfo Rosas list, please contact Elina.M.Koivisto@nokia.com
Rovio, Finland Telefonica, Spain
(13) Since Novermber 2006 Nokia Multimedia in Finland
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Appendix for the Mobile Games 2010 re- Panu Mustonen When designing early WAP-games, the data
port, the invited articles Satama - Finland traffic creation was almost automatic. The
networks and phones were slow, so what ever
Mobile Games and Data Traffic game you designed, it consumed a lot of time
Creation (and thus circuit switched data time because
always connected). Optimization of data traf-
Introduction From History Greed to Future
fic was also thought to be nonsense because
the real customers in 2000 were seen to be
mobile operators. However, the revenue mod-
This Appendix consists of the invited articles and testing of a proximity game prototype. WAP els based on data revenue share were not in
for the Mobile Games 2010 report. The arti- The seventh article by Vicky Wu discusses When mobile gaming started to come to the existence – the operators were not ready to
cles look at future mobile games from various transmedial access, what kinds of strategies wish list of handset manufacturers and opera- give away revenue that they thought was the
points of view, ranging from the early history can be used in implementing games with tors the only possibility was through WAP- backbone of their business. Earmarking in-
to design and technical aspects. The articles transmedial access, and how transmedial ac- based games (excluding mini-scale business come from certain games was very difficult
are each authors’ opinions on their topics and cess can benefit game developers. (Please around Communicators, Palms and of course – and looking back to those times, it was also
do not reflect Nokia’s road mapping or future note that in the Mobile Games 2010 report the legendary Snake-game). Starting 1999 quite disturbing for the operators to give away
product releases in any way. Some of the arti- the terms “cross-platform access” and “cross- there was quite buzz around mobile games data traffic figures which saying the least were
cles may even contradict each other or the Mo- platform games” are used instead of this less and companies getting ready to do those not always very convincing (or at least they
bile Games 2010 report; however, since pre- commonly used term.) The last article by mysterious games. There were no WAP- were not in the scope of “hockey stick” fig-
dicting the future is a difficult task, we wanted Frank Fitzek describes a potential architec- phones and the only devices having a WML- ures of all the future estimations). In any case,
to show different points of view for the readers. ture for future mobile multi-player games. browser were some PDAs from PSION. This the WAP-games were bought and licensed to
and the lack of proven business models did their services because they are always an easy
In the first article of this Appendix, Panu not prevent venture capitalists investing in way to show the end-customers what new
Mustonen describes how mobile gaming has new mobile game companies (this was how technology can mean to them. The mobile
evolved from past and predicts what will companies like Springtoys and Riot-E were game companies kept on doing mobile games
change in the future. The second article is founded in Finland). At the same time a lot because there were not many alternatives and
written by Sonja Kangas, and she looks at of companies were founded or grown around of course everybody hoped that some day op-
the trends in the digital media and how mo- “mobile internet” – so it was not just games. erators would open up their data revenues.
bile gaming will be like in the future. Kangas
also looks at the future technologies in the hy- The common denominator behind all these J2ME ENTERING TO THE STAGE
brid media. In the third article, Jean Paul Bi- companies and their products was to create In no way were the WAP-games a mistake for
chard defines how portable and mobile games data traffic on the new WAP-enabled handsets. the companies or for the mobile games indus-
are different and looks at what is required In the calculations of those days there were try. Even though the full monetary potential
to create true mobile games. The fourth and two main sources for greed. The first source of them was not achieved, they taught the
fifth articles are written by Steven Davis. In was that the WAP-games and content had to game companies to make server-based games
his first article, he discusses the real money use circuit switched data over GSM. The data from the beginning as well as thinking about
transaction phenomena and the second one call rates for the early users were very high, optimizing time need of the game – either to-
concerns the security issues in online games. and it was assumed that GSM operators would wards the operators needs or then to the actual
In the sixth article, written by Tom Söderlund be willing to share the data traffic income with game experience. When J2ME started to raise
,concerns proximity gaming. The article is game companies. The other source was the es- its head in 2000 it was again time to think
written from the design point of view but also timates of data-usage growth as well as the what kind of revenue models were needed in
lists technologies that can be used and gives estimated roadmap for new networks and new
an example of the design, implementation, phones capable of color and real-time gaming.