@ GDC: How Mobile Game Developers Avoid The Carrier’s Deck In Japan


imageDavid Collier, who runs a mobile content provider in Tokyo called Pikkle, told developers today at GDC Mobile how Japanese game developers are avoiding two of the industry’s biggest headaches — sharing revenue with carriers and porting the same game to hundreds of handsets.


William Volk

This is the situation we are seeing with Javascript/Ajax games on the iPhone in the USA. Rapid development and rapid return on investment.

We recently launched a series of casino games under the Kenny Rogers – The Gambler brand to great success.

I hope this model gets extended to more handsets. In Europe, many of the newer handsets run the same sort of WEBKIT as iPhone does, so that is also a possible market.

William Volk

Max Buemi

Flash Lite games/entertainment applications are mighty fine: but whom is making a margin from these today? What about tomorrow? Who says operators will not react in one way or another? Will we see an army of bedroom coders flooding the arena with mediocre, trite, rude, or darn right indecent content which operators will want off their phones? Whom regulates the browser access of handsets? Is this to trigger a walled garden second coming?

I see this more as a regulatory and a quality of experience issue as I can well imagine operators either not liking to have content downloaded without fees (fixed or zero rated data/subscription plans being more common) or not liking what is being downloaded as degrading the perceived value of their service. As for folk desperate enough for porn on their mobiles, I guess they will want the real thing and possible be booted into megabyte priced downloads anyway (I suspect flash animation are lighter than video clips, and fall within "fair usage" conditions).

Maybe it will open the gate for mobile phone media specific artists and satirists. Maybe it will be a flash – lite – in the pan. Maybe it will be a revolution. I suspect Adobe making money from selling the player to the manufacturers whom successfully sell the idea to the operators. Otherwise, it means selling the player to existing phone users – an expensive proposition to market.

We'll see … Personally, I just would like to have better phone platforms on the market, and the phasing out of network service support on the content side for phones over two years old from the date of their launch. That would help industry some.

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