Carriers Try To Wring Cash From Text Games

Since sending text messages is so much more popular than downloading mobile content (the US figures are almost half of users sending SMS, but only 5% downloading a game or ringtone according to JupiterResearch) carriers are trying to use SMS games to sell mobile content.
Verizon has signed up Vibes to run the “Pirates 2 Text-Ur-Adventure” game, an SMS-based choose-your-own-adventure game that has 562 unique messages and 20,736 different paths for a user to take. The kicker is that the messages “include “rich” media content–songs, pictures, wallpaper or ring tones–embedded into the text” (which I guess makes them MMS). Customers can then download that content with a click, which bypasses the frustrating user interface of the carrier portal. There’s also some free content after players reach a certain level.
This can be good branding for the movie as well as for Verizon, and can drive up SMS revenues as well as selling specific personalization content. I’m not sure it will result in a boost to ongoing sales of content, but it can’t hurt.