Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mobile Gaming

There is something interesting happening in the mobile game world. There is a split happening. And it will be interesting to see how this pans out.

I'm taking, of course of Java game on mobile phones vs. the current dedicated handheld game units (Gameboy Advance, Gameboy DS and Sony PSP) which use the console model of controlled releases.

At the moment the Java games are simple - akin to the games of the early 80's. People are even converting old 8-bit titles over. Whether it be Space Invaders or Manic Miner they seem to be selling for literally few dollars/pounds each and there are dozens of them.

Of course things like the GBA, DS and PSP have much high quality games for them - some with significant amounts of development resources behind them.

But things like 3D are being added to mobile phones.

Handhelds like the DS and the PSP cost significantly more than the retail price so, economically, they need to get money off games to make money. This always stuck me as somehow wrong, but is a way of bootstrapping your hardware into the market - and perhaps everyone thought it's was impossible to do any other way when competing against others that sell almost give-away hardware?

And the mobile people do something similar as well - but their money is from the network providers (contracts, tie-ins, etc.) rather than from games - at the moment - but it's difficult to see how they could add games royalties as well to this list without breaking the cross-platform gaming effect that is happening.

As Nolan Bushnell said in Retro Gamer Anthology (P142), maybe open gaming systems will win after all?

2 Comments:

Anonymous ID (Gamer/Programmer) said...

I'm not sure that Open Source Games (for the mobile community) will ever make any indepth big games. Most of the mobile phone users I know will buy these small cheap games to put on their phones just to demonstrate what their phone can do. Yes its big business, £3 here £3 there with masses and masses of users but I don't feel they would make the step to bigger games (and maybe better games)anytime soon with higher fees because the point of the game isn't really to play but be 30 demonstration of the phone's functionality.

So in essence they don't really need to develope indepth games when they have queues of wombles paying good coin to play any old junk on a 2 inch square screen.

Think of the N-Gage, that did well! Not!

9:16 am  
Blogger RobZed said...

replying to id:
I don't think it's necessary open source games that are selling at all for mobiles. The platform itself being open that could be very important.

I agree most games are commercial. I don't think this is a problem. But the fact that companies don't have to be locked into the restrictions of the console manufacturer.

Regarding games: there have always been two camps. Really in-depth games which to be honest (used to?) skip consoles so required PCs and the big selling games which were generally on consoles. The successful games are the best sellers - in terms of units sold and/or in terms of total monetary sales. If mobile phones overtake consoles (like ring tones appear to have done to some music) doesn't mean that these are the mass market?

9:46 am  

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