Monday, May 7, 2012

A new game in town?

There’s no doubt that the success of mobile devices and the app format is helping to fuel games on the go, from Angry Birds to Doom RPG. Analyst firm IHS Screen Digest predicts that the global mobile games business will be worth around €9 billion by 2015.

But are the social and networking aspects of gaming as developed as they could be? After all, many games require teamwork and offer a ready-made community of like-minded people. There would seem to be a host of opportunities for operators and game developers to cooperate and make money and build their business.

Voice is just one example. With many mobile games – especially those based on teamwork – reliable and effective in-game communication would be a great asset. We wrote about this back in January.

Imagine playing a game on a mobile device that required working with others to achieve an objective. World of Warcraft and many ‘first person shooters’ fit into this category. Offering reliable, high quality voice communication “in game” could be one way for an operator to differentiate its offering.

So why are operators and game developers not getting together?

The answer is they are. Or at least they are starting to. Telefónica Digital recently announced that it had entered into a strategic relationship with games developer Electronic Arts. The deal will allow Telefónica, via its O2 brand in the UK, the possibility to run gaming promotions for EA titles. Subscribers get the chance to play games for free during the first three months after they are downloaded.  

Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefónica Digital summed up the cooperation: “By making a differentiated play in this most emotive and immersive entertainment medium we are fostering a much deeper connection with our customers – another significant step in becoming a true aggregator of experiences.”

So, is the game on? Watch this space.

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