Monday, October 30, 2006

Mobile Games 2010

Nokia White Paper 'Mobile Games 2010' (due to be released at the end of 2006) will discuss about the near future of mobile games. This is a warm-up to the discussion.

Consumers are spending more time with digital media than ever before. In 2005, the use of television increased and online use continued to rival television as the most-used medium. Video games, containing everything from mobile and wireless to networked console and pc games, have established their role as a merchandising category with cross licensing between movies and video games providing a major source of revenue for movie studios and others.

The first defining factor of the current digital media is that the consumption of digital content is channeled through given devices: from iPods to mobile phones and PCs according to the appropriateness of users' needs. Currently, the digital device with its brand and image is a part of the total experience, as Nintendo, Sony and Apple have shown. This also has effects on content. For example Nintendo games can only be played on Nintendo devices and in the spirit of Buzz and EyeToy party games, Sony is integrating more beneficial content, e.g. advertisements, information and music, into video games. This development will have an effect on the entertainment market as well as total gaming experiences in the future.

The other defining factor is demographic data (age, location and gender). The assumption that gender would play a central role in the markets for video games has struck a strong chord with game developers. Before the evolution of more social or physical video game types, the generalization of the Internet has partly changed the situation with various online games and chatting communities, and faded out the differences between girls and boys when looking at the frequency and diversity of use. As a result of social media trend consumers are becoming multi-taskers utilizing several mobile and online channels simultaneously and communication acrobats with their variety of communications devices.

Three interesting aspects about current consumer behavior are: 1) leaving traces, 2) media acrobatics’ multi-tasking culture and 3) pleasure orientation. It is increasingly relevant to leave its own mark (tags, comments, modifications, patches) to the networked media communities and interlinking with mobile with online communities. Multitasking refers to a way of using several channels, devices and services simultaneously to link with other products and related themes. Media acrobatics refers to the fast reception ability of new technologies, devices and services, as well as an open-minded experimentation mentality and misuse (also known as “creative hackerism”). As a general effect of these, one can say that media use is in transition points. The change affects mobile games and the expansion and creation of new active consumer groups.

By 2010, mobile media will have developed into an integral part of a total gaming experience. The experience environment will no longer be device-specific but will cross different devices as well as social and physical contexts of use changing the experience into a continuum ”everywhere – all the time – by any device”. This development will boost the development of more fragmented games where users can take the game with them on a mobile phone and continue playing on any screen (public screen, at an Internet cafĂ©, on a cruise ship or in a shopping mall), as well as having a clear role in supplementing and modifying the game content. Toolboxes will be widely available to users. Mobile devices will have become the controlling device for the total experience as well as acting as a payment channel.

Mobile users will use their wallet, wearable or jewel kind of mobile terminals when gliding from one network to another without even acknowledging it. Mobile users will get both selected and edited television and online content on their mobile devices when requested, according to their context and social profiles. The issues taking a strong foothold in the development of novel types of mobile games are: 1) agile methods in project and technology development, 2) utilizing context information in mobile solutions, 3) brand development through co-modification possibilities provided for various fan communities, toolboxes and modification tools, 4) tagging and marker technologies created by both professionals and enthusiasts that enable the social intelligence of the environment. Adaptability and modularity will be key issues when shaping future game experiences.

The device, the user, the context of use and the content are mobile. This enables more and more possibilities for users to act as co-creators of content. Web2.0 trends with mash-up from the Internet will quickly become common in the mobile world at the same time when cross media solutions evolve and different media are not considered as separate contexts of use but as one complex entity of different devices and channels. Hybrid media (combining printed with digital media) will be key solutions for flexible marketing of ad hoc and long-lasting games through different channels and various user groups.


Alan Moore said...

Hello there I am giving a key note speech at Nokia's global summit in November.

This was a great post.

I have blogged about it at the Communities Dominate Brands site

SonjaK said...

Thanks :) I am already aware of your blog Communities Dominate Brands. I especially liked the discussion on mobile social networking (26th Oct 06). We (=VTT) are doing a number of R&D projects related to social media (e.g. projects RISE and SOMED) and actually social media is currently at the centre of VTT's strategy! Thus it is even more relevant to ask "why" and perhaps "why not".