Mobile Carriers Want Quality Games

A panel of leading mobile carriers believe that mobile game creators must innovate in order to grow the market

Earlier today during GDC Mobile 2006, EA Mobile senior VP Mitch Lasky said that carriers need to be more selective about the quality of mobile games they carry, in order for mobile gaming to avoid a potential "Atari 2600 episode."

However, a panel that represented mobile carriers Orange, Verizon, Cingular, Virgin, Sprint Nextel and Vodafone said that developers and publishers need to hold up their end by producing quality, innovative games.

Jason Ford, general manager for games and entertainment at Sprint Nextel, said, "We reject about 30 games a month because so many of them are offering the same gameplay over and over again. Lots of these games just aren't fun, offering wretched controls. Many of them are mediocre at best."

He added, "If you put a brand on a game, you elevate the consumer's expectation of that game, so the publisher needs to make it a very good experience in order to satisfy the consumer."

Ken Ruck, general manager of downloadable content at Virgin said, "Game creators need to target age-relevant games. Some of these retro arcade games are older than the consumers who are expected to buy them."

Tim Harrison, head of games at Vodafone acknowledged publisher criticisms that game marketing has to improve. "We can't just rely on the deck. We need to target the consumer in other ways, such as demos."

"You don't need a strong brand if you have good gameplay and intelligent marketing," Harrison said.

While the panel did say that developers and publishers need to step up their quality and innovation, they also all agreed with Lasky's earlier speech about how there are too many games available on their services. The general concensus was that fewer and better games would be offered in the future, and that they would be organized and sold more coherently.

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