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WirEless Week

JANUARY I, 200'D
Content and Applicatinns

Mobile Game Standouts


BY SUE MAREK

Wireless operators weigh in on what it takes to make a top-selling mobile game.

w IK-II it comes to dcvel-


o[iing a coiiipclliiig mo-
biie game, tiiere aa* no
clear-cut rules lor cre-
ating a blockbuster.
l-inick> consumers. risk-uii\'cisL' oper-
auii^, compiex icchtiologics and an un-
proven market are all hurdles to a tno-
bile game's success. Game developers
tional gaming where young tiiales dom-
inate game sales. "We have fotind that a
sllgblly higher percentage of mobile
gamers are female and young." McA-
teer says.
As more research becomes available,
operators are getting a better under-
standing of what types of games appeal
to their subscribers - and thai
games are getting." says Michael Gal-
lelli. director of content services at T-
Mobile USA.
Most of ibe U)p games designated by
wireless operators are known for their
simplicity aiid brand recognition. Top-
sellers tend lo be classic games based
KEEP IT SIMPLE While hardcore gamers on popular thctne-s from the past, or
want fiwt-paced action, compelling audio gatnes that use familiar concepts such
and lifelike grapbies, mobile gamers as bowling, solitaire or poker.
tend to be more at ease with simpler Currently there is no independent
games that are easy to un- source to compile and rank mobile
take quite a gamble when ii comes to knowledge is making derstand and navigate. "We games based upon sales Iigures. In ihe
trying lo develop games that will res- them savvier when are finding that brand ringtone business, analyst firm Consect
onate with wireless consutiiers and. in it comes to game recognition, tallies ihe top 20 ringiotie cliart in con-
turn, generate revenue for developers selection. "You simplici- junction with liilihimnl Muiidzinf.
and citn iers. And it's quickly ttecumlng can see that over ly and Likewise, in the traditional video
clear that what SJKIIS success in the tra- the last two to three mindless game world, game relailel^ pixivide sales
ditional game market doesn't necessar- years, most of the games do informaiion about their uip-selling
ily translate to the mobile world. early entrants - aside well," says Chris games to the industry. "Tbis is great for
One major diflereiice between mo- Iroiii Janidai Mobile - Wiihrer. senior product the industry because everyone knows
bile and console games is thai mobile were focusing on port- manager for digital media how they are doing." says Mike Yuen,
games attract a slightly ditTerent demo- ing titles that did v\eli in at Boost Mobile, an direclor of FiRKW developer relations
grapbic than traditional games. Ac- the console and VC MVNO owned by Nextel at Qualcomtii Internet Services. Yuen
eording lo Seanius McAteer. senior an- area. They have done Comtiiunicalions thai caters hopes that one day a similar ranking
alyst at M "Metrics, a higher percent of well, but they have piimaiily lo tbe youih seg- system will exisl for mobile games be-
mobile game players are female - a fact not seen the same main- ment and recently topped I cause it helps generate competition
ihat is dramatically different than tradi- stream take-up that casual million in subscribers. among publishers.
Activate Your
OLDIES BUT GOODIES Operarors may However, other operators still advo- compared to the nationwide heavy- Cingular
not provide spccifif game sales Hguivs, cate demos. T-Mobile USA recently weight operators, but company execu-
but they have hinted at iheir top-sclHng launched a promotional campaign called tives say they believe they have some Brand!
games. Verizon Wireless. Sprint and T- "Try It, Like It, Buy It" in which the of the highest game consumption in the
Mobilc USA name Tetris by Blue Lava company allowed customers to try industry. Because of thai hi"h con-
Wireless as a top seller. Likewise. Atari's games for
Driv3r by Sorrent receives top-selling free. The
marks from Citigular Wireless. Verizon carrier
Wireless mid Boost Mobile. pro-
Other top-sellers mentioned by car-
and put this
riers include Jumdai Bowling. Sponge- trusted name to
work for your store!

J J J J_l
Hob Bowling by THQ. NFL 2005 by
THQ. PAC-MAN by Namco. Bejew-
eled by Jamdat and Ms. PAC-MAN by moted
Namco. the offer
A common theme running among with Hyer.s
these lop-sellers is the consumer likely in more than Cingular's most
will know exactly what type ol game 4.000 retail stores as well as through sumption, the MVNO rotates its games
they are buying without having to ex- bill stuffers to 9 million customers. "This frequently to keep customers coming
trusted supplier,
perience the game or read about it. "The is the first time we've done something back for more. "Content must be tar- Superior offers
No, 1 thing to look lor with a top-sell- like this, and it's been very exciting." geted and rotated often. We try not to premium quality
ing game is consumer expectation." says Gallelli ,says. "In this husiness. it all has allow it to be stale." Wuhrer says. Cingular-packaged
Lou Fasulo. senior manager of down- to do with the capability of the handset. Of course, a game's popularity also
loadabies. games and application soft-
OEM & aftermarket
So many handsets had the capability of is tied closely to its placement on the
ware at Cingular. "When customers playing games, but that capability was- operator's top deck. Without this key accessories, easy
look at our storefront, they can look at n't tapped into. This promotion provid- placement, games ;ire less likely to have online ordering,
the top five games and know what they ed a great message to our base and re- success. "Deck placement is the pritnary & the convenience
are getting before they download. You minded them that they have this capa- driver and the strongest marketing you of a separate
don't see some obscure product that bility." can do." says Cingular's Fasulo. "Prod-
you couldn't imagine what the game ucts gel placement on the deck because
credit line just for
Boost Mobile also advocates detnos.
would be." The company has several demos of of good game play." accessories.
But securing that top deck placement
can he dillicult. Al Sprint, company ex- You'll also be eligible
ecutives evaluate games based upon for free merchandiser-
game reviews, comments from Sprint's with-purchase offers!
"We are finding that brand recognition,
Game Lobby and also through the per-
simplicity and mindless games do well." ception of the PCS Game Boiuxl, a group Cingular-brand
senior product manager of Sprint employees that provide feed-
CHRIS WUHRER*
back on games. According to Ford, the
accessories; the name
for digital media at Boost Mobile
members of the Game Board rank customers trust.
games based upon many factt>rs. hut in-
novation and fun are weighted most Call 877.522.4727
This has hecome particularly im- games preloaded on its iDEN handsets heavily by the company.
portant because some carriers have and at the end of the demo version there As mobile gaming grows in popu- New Agents!
stopped offering demos. Sprint moved is a link to the company's Website for larity, wireless carriers are becoming Visit us at CES,
away from that demo concept because consumers to purchase the game. "We more skilled in their selections of games Booth 35351
the carrier found it wasn't worthwhile. put full version preloads on handsets." that appeal to their subscribers. But pre-
and receive your
"U you have 50 demos, the customer says Craig Thole, director of value- dicting top-sellers will likely never be
Welcome to Cingular Gift!
will never pay," says Jason Ford, gen- added services at Boost. "Part of our an exact science,
eral manager of games for Sprint. But strategy at Boost is to provide that in- T-Mobile USA's Gallelli admits that Exclusive & Premier Agents
he doesn't aile out the use of demos in stant gratification that you don't neces- the popularity of Tetris still amazes him,
the future, particularly if games become sarily get with a traditional carrier." "I knew anecdotally that Tetris was
more sophisticated. "I think that as doing well, but it has drawn the kind of SUPEFilOR
COMMUNICATIONS
games get more complex and in-depth, ROTATING GAMES Boost Mobile may numbers thai are very encouraging. It
it may warrant demos." have a relatively small subscriber ba.se stands out from the pack," W SuperiorCommijnications,com