Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Beyond Brick Breaker

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) about some new types of games coming to the mobile gaming market, such as "games that require players to race around real-life cities hunting for other players to "tag" and games that challenge sports fans to guess the next moves of athletes in NFL games."

The article states that some of these new games will be shown at CTIA, such as "PhoneTag, a game from an entertainment company founded by actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon that is something like capture the flag -- the old Boy Scout game in which players hunt for an opposing team's flag -- on an urban scale. Another company, AirPlay Network Inc., is expected to announce a deal with Sprint Nextel Corp. to bring a range of games to Sprint subscribers that quiz users on the outcomes of televised sports matches, game shows and other live events as they're unfolding."

The article cites research from ABI Research that says there are "about a quarter of the more than two billion mobile phone users world-wide using their devices to play mobile games. Most of those users are people who play the games that come loaded on their phones when they purchase them."

By 2011, "ABI estimates, consumers will spend $12.9 billion world-wide on mobile games, up from about $1.56 billion last year. The U.S. mobile-games market is a laggard, with only about $100 million in revenue last year, compared with overseas markets like Japan and Korea, where there are more cutting-edge devices and wireless networks."

The article looks at some of the attempts by game developers "trying to test the public's appetite for games that exploit the unique features of mobile devices -- for instance, tracking technologies such as the global positioning system, or GPS, which allows a wireless carrier to pinpoint where a cellphone user is physically located. Such "location-based" games have so far mainly been the pastime of early adopters in the U.S."

Michael Wolf at ABI Research said, "The whole blurring between reality and videogames is going to happen more and more."