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Stories from the Frontier of Mobile Gaming

Stories from the Frontier of Mobile Gaming

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Stories from the Frontier of Mobile Gaming

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  1. Stories from the Frontier of Mobile Gaming Tom Söderlund - 2005-09-20 - Helsinki

  2. Stories from the Frontier of Mobile Gaming • Stories from the past • BotFighters - launching a pervasive game • mophun - creating the ultimate mobile games platform • Where to go now? • Challenges in creating new types of mobile games • Areas to explore: mobile MMOG’s, pervasive gaming, proximity gaming, and social toys

  3. My background • 2000: It’s Alive! • 2004: Daydream • 2005: Kayak/Synergenix • Also: • Swedish Institute for Computer Games www.synergenix.se www.sdsi.se

  4. About Kayak/Synergenix • Kayak/Synergenix • Mobile Games Publisher • Offices in San Mateo and Stockholm • Focus: • Connected Gaming • Pushing the Handsets’ Capabilities • Mass-market Brands

  5. Games Lock’n’Load: Rise of War Rally Pro Contest Carmageddon Colin McRae 04 Conflict: Desert Storm PMGA Miniature Golf

  6. BotFighters - Creating, launching, and managing a location-based pervasive game

  7. BotFighters: the concept Cell 4329 Lat/Long 59.16;18.27 ”Mannerheiminaukio”

  8. BotFighters: the concept

  9. .:BotFighters:. Scan completed: MegaBot is at Times Square, 700 m NW. BotFighters: the game

  10. Launching BotFighters • Launched in April 2001 • Distributed in five countries • 40’000 registered players worldwide • Peak: 4M SMS/month

  11. Player profile • Age 14-55, average 26 • 80% male* • *Probably related to theme, not game type • Urban and rural areas • High-tech phones • Corporate phone subscriptions

  12. Casual vs. Hardcore players • The casual BotFighters player • ”Plays when on the move” • The hardcore BotFighters player • ”Moves around to play”

  13. Strong community: player stories • Taxi31 • ”The menace of Västkusten” • TheMob • ”The mobile BotFighters clan” • Silver • ”The highway avenger”

  14. BotFighters Players Annual Meeting 2002

  15. BotFighters problems • Difficult to roll out worldwide • Location systems not in place • Payment solutions not in place • High density of players required for a good game experience

  16. The mophun™ game engine - Creating the ’ultimate mobile games platform’

  17. The mophun™ game engine • 1999: Started as Ericsson’s game console project, ”Red Jade” • 2002: Relaunched as mophun™, signed embedded deal with Sony-Ericsson • mophun embedded into T300, T610, etc • Online distribution system with DRM • 2003: Embedded deal with TTPCom

  18. mophun, second chapter • 2003: J2ME phones looks like it will be the dominating mobile games platform • 2003: Sony-Ericsson decides to drop mophun • 2003: World’s first mobile 3D multiplayer game is launched (mophun-powered) • 2005: mophun shifts to become mobile game middleware for Symbian/Brew/Windows phones

  19. Where to go now? - Challenges and opportunities in new forms of mobile games

  20. New forms of mobile games • The sad part • Challenges when launching new types of mobile games • The fun part • New game forms on the horizon

  21. Challenges when launching new types of mobile games • Market challenges • Strenuous to create a new market • Unbalanced value chain • Lack of suitable business models • Little information about end consumers • Technological challenges • Technology not reliable • Technology not widespread

  22. Mobile phone as game device Definite Possible device characteristics open for exploitation in mobile games Mobile; different usage scenarios Form factor Can belocated Voice functionality Messaging Camera Online connectivity Media player Contacts & calendar Short-rangecommunication

  23. Mobile phone as game device Mobile; different usage scenarios Form factor Can belocated Voice functionality Messaging Camera Online connectivity Media player Contacts & calendar Short-rangecommunication

  24. Mobile game possibilities Multiple users Multiple phones Long distance - Multiplayer/massively multiplayer gaming Multiple users Multiple phones Short distance - Proximity gaming Multiple users One phone Short distance - Social toys Integrated with environment - Pervasive gaming

  25. Pervasive gaming • Always connected, always in the game, the game surrounds you • Game blends with your real life • Real world as game arena • Virtual game world draped ”on top” of the real world • Interact with your environment and other players • Multi-modal • Multiple user interfaces

  26. Examples of pervasive games Majestic (2001) BotFighters (2001) Undercover (2003) Mogi Mogi (2003) R.I.P. www.botfighters.com www.undercover2.com www.mogimogi.com IPerG: www.pervasive-gaming.org

  27. Mobile MMOG’s • Mobile Massively Multiplayer Online Games, “3MOG” • New MMOG titles • Tuned for mobile usability • (Add-ons to PC MMOG’s) • Subsets of gameplay • Mobile accessories

  28. 3MOG examples • Tibia (CipSoft) • Era of Eidolon (watAgame) • Pocket Kingdom (Nokia) • Fantasy Worlds: Rhynn (AwareDreams) • Spirits (Nokia/Jadestone) • Age of Piracy (Nokia/Jadestone)

  29. Proximity gaming • Proximity gaming • Ad-hoc network games with nearby people

  30. Proximity gaming scenario Sue and Bobby are playing together. Cliff walks by, and can join the game without interruption. Playfield grows with the addition of Cliff’s spaceship.

  31. ? 1) 1) 1) 1) 2) 2) 2) 2) 3) 3) 3) 4) ! ! ! ! !! ! ! Proximity gaming concepts • Ad hoc game sessions • Connection and disconnection as game event • Anonymity • Distributed game world • Persistency between sessions - pseudo-persistent game worlds • Viral behavior • Involving non-player persons

  32. Social toys • Mobile phone as social entertainment device • At home, at the party, in a pub, on the picnic • Key features: • Always with you • Social adaptability • Physical device • Input: keys, joystick, (pen/touch) • Output: graphics, sound, music, vibrations • Connectivity

  33. Social game scenario 1 • At the party • ”Truth or Dare”-style • Passing the phone around • Vibrates when time is out • Spin the phone!

  34. Social game scenario 2 • At home • Mom and dad playing a board game • Seeing different parts of playfield • Daughters don’t want to play, but can interact as spectators

  35. The End • Contact: • tom.soderlund@synergenix.se • +46-70-751 7255