Wednesday, March 09, 2005

How will mobile games change us?

I am going to think about this problem. I will post more later.

How mobile can -- and should -- change the way we think about entertaining ourselves and each other.

Conventional wisdom has it that entertainment applications will be the key to unleashing the next great wave of handheld mobile activity. If only handset manufacturers and mobile operators could figure out just what games people want to play, music they want to listen to or content they want to access, the industry will get through its current doldrums and escalate to the next level.

Handheld devices, in particular, have trouble holding our attention in quite the same way as IMAX screens and immersive environments, but they weren't really meant to.

The mobile intertainment device depends not on captivation, but on introduction, orientation, and interconnection.

And this means developing new approaches to mobile experiences, and finally evolving a two-thousand-year-old understanding of showing people a good time. The new rule of thumb, so to speak, may be to create experiences that do not contain the user but rather give the user a way out.

From Wired:
Wireless Gaming Held Hostage

The consensus at the conference is that a lot is falling into place in the U.S. market, and one reason is that, unlike most other gaming platforms, wireless gaming is attractive to men and women.

Already, wireless gaming is a substantial business. In a talk Tuesday, Robert Tercek, co-chairman of GDC Mobile, said 6 million people download games to their mobile devices each month, and 18 million Americans play wireless games. Worldwide, he said, there are 170 million wireless gamers.

But some see several significant factors holding back the emergence of wireless games in the United States. First and foremost is a lack of easy integration between game publishers and wireless carriers' billing systems, a particular worry for those selling multiplayer games.

Another problem, Brookler explained, is that developers who want to create wireless games are constrained by the fact that most carriers only trust brand-name publishers. Thus, an independent game developer faces an almost impenetrable barrier to getting its games out to the public.

"You can't just build a game," Brookler said. "You have to submit it to carriers, and they don't want anything non-branded."

The common wisdom is that the market is being held back by the difficulties of developing and launching mobile games without a common wireless platform. And, Tercek said, there is no prospect of any such common platform anytime soon.


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