2012 was a big year for mobile gaming in China with 2013 poised to be even bigger according to the WSJ. Mobile gaming in China has seen decent returns, but is now at critical mass and many mobile game developers are cashing in. Asia CNet reports.
The research notes that Chinese gamers spend more time on their games than gamers from other countries. One game, World Online, had monthly revenue of 18 million yuan ($2.9 million) and average revenue per user of 300 yuan.
The vast majority of smartphones on the market use Android, which keeps the barriers of entry low for most game developers. According to UCWeb, there were at least 10 Android-based games that earned more than an average of RMB 1 million a month last year. At least 3 games were averaging RMB 10 million (US$1.6 million) a month on Android.
On the subway, in doctor's waiting rooms and during college lectures, millions of Japanese can be found glued to their smartphones. But they're not texting or making phone calls — they're playing video games. npr reports.
In the U.S., video games are usually played on computers and consoles, like the PlayStation or Wii, but in Japan, gaming has migrated to smartphones.
With an ice coffee in one hand and an iPhone in the other, grad student Yoshiro Hinoki is fixated on slaying tiny cartoon monsters.
"I like that you can play games whenever you have a few minutes, and, for just a little money, you get quick results," he says. "I like that feeling of achievement."
Hinoki is one of an estimated 40 million users — that's one out of every three Japanese — who have signed up to play games on their cell phones. Only about a third of these players are active, but that's enough to have ignited a mobile gaming juggernaut over the last few years, dominated by a few Japanese startups.
"The majority of these games are designed in a way that they can be played in short bursts, in five-minute to 10-minute intervals, because most people don't like to use games on their mobile devices for extended gaming sessions," Toto says.
All those minutes of play add up to huge revenues. Morgan Stanley predicts that by next year, the mobile gaming business could be worth more than $5 billion. Meanwhile, old-school gaming companies like Nintendo, Sony and Sega are in decline.
Developers of the popular video game World of Warcraft say they are considering porting the title to smartphones and other mobile devices as subscriptions fall, reports the BBC.
The firm revealed in November that WoW had 10.3 million subscribers, down from a peak of 12 million in 2010.
... The developer's senior producer John Lagrave told Eurogamer that the biggest reason his team had not released a mobile title allowing gameplay was because of the problems involved in shrinking the interface.
"Maybe we'll stumble on the great way to put WoW on the phone - maybe we won't, but we're certainly looking into it.
OnLive on Thursday plans to release software that will let people play the richest, most graphically intense games on Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and other devices based on Google’s Android software. The New York Times reports.
In the past, these games have been far beyond the relatively anemic computing power of such devices, requiring the horsepower of a PC or a console. But OnLive runs all of the games on its service entirely on powerful server computers in its data centers and delivers them over the Internet, through so-called cloud computing.
According to China Daily, on Apple's iOS platform, more than 20 percent of game software in use in China is copycat versions of the originals. On phones with the Android operating system, the rate is nearly 40 percent.
There are two trends that are hindering the development of mobile phone games," said Hong Tao, the founder of the Shenzhen-based game developer Taole Technology. "The first is like group purchasing, with a lot of companies flocking together to develop very similar games.
"The second is piracy," he said. "No matter who has designed a new mobile phone game, and no matter if it is interesting or not, it can be found on the Internet for free download."
The people at Geekaphone, an online resource for the mobile industry, have been researching the mobile gaming industry and here are some of the results – a collection of pretty huge mobile gaming industry stats for 2011. [via DigitalBuzzBlog]
A few key points that stand out are:
-- The mobile gaming industry is predicted to reach $54 Billion by 2015
-- 84% of tablet owners play games
-- 70 – 80% of all mobile downloads are games
-- Android is soon to overtake Apple in number of total available apps
-- In-game purchases should overtake pay-per-downloads by 2013
-- Angry Birds has been downloaded 140 million times
-- Developers made $87 million in ad revenue in 2010 and will grow 10 fold by 2015
It used to be kids who couldn't stop playing Farmville, Mafia Wars and other multi-player games online or on their phones. Now adults have discovered social games -- and they're getting hooked. Second Act reports.
The over 40 crowd is playing, and talking about playing, every chance they get -- between work phone calls, doing housework, over the breakfast table and at night instead of watching TV.
... These days, the average social gamer in the United States or United Kingdom is a 43-year woman, according to a 2010 study from PopCap, the social games developer behind Bejeweled and Insaniquarium, as reported in this story by The New York Times.
According to The Independent, the world of international chess has been thrown into uproar by accusations of intricate "cheating by text message" against three senior French players.
Two grandmasters and an international master have been found guilty by their own national organisation of "violating sporting ethics" at the Chess Olympiad – world team championships – in Khanty-Mansiysk Siberia in September.
The trio, who deny the charges, were accused of devising an elaborate scheme – using text messages and choreographed movements around the competition hall – to convey advice from a computer programme while matches were in progress.
One third of the U.S. and U.K. adults are mobile phone gamers, according to PopCap Games, a developer, publisher and operator of casual video games. TMCnet.com reports.
Among mobile phone gamers, mobile phone is the primary gaming device, surpassing video game consoles and PCs in less than two years. Smartphone owners are the most avid consumers of mobile games, according to the survey conducted by Information Solutions Group (pdf).
... About 92 percent of smartphone gamers say they play at least once a week. 45 percent say they play daily compared to 35 percent of all mobile phone gamers. In the 2009 survey, only 13 percent of mobile phone gamers said they played daily, and 40 percent said they played weekly.
They might be for niche audiences, but the world's first audio-only iPhone game, Aurifi (or-if-EYE) was released a few weeks ago and the second one, Papa Sangre, is slated to be released in September. The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
What's behind this new trend in gaming?
It isn't new technology, which is fairly commonplace in the industry, says Aurifi developer Chris Walker of Punk Pie.
Walker said they mainly used Apple's Logic software and plug-ins to create the game, which contains several mini-games in which players use only audio-cues to complete tasks.
Instead, like many iPhone-app stories, it's mostly the new distribution system that's helping these sorts of apps come to life.
... Aurifi has over 11,000 active users within its first 8 weeks, and is particularly popular among visually impaired users.
Accessing social networks is the fastest growing activity for smartphones and other Web-browsing phones, according to a new ComScore study, reports News.com.
The study also found that accessing bank accounts was one of the fastest-gaining categories via both app and browser, as the convenience of mobile banking continues to appeal to a growing number of consumers.
The Telegraph on Tetris, one of the most enduringly popular games of all time, selling millions of copies and famed for its addictive qualities.
Tetris' ability to transcend cultures, decades and consoles belies its humble Soviet roots – the game was originally created at the height of the Cold War by the prestigious Academy of Science in the old USSR.
It's been around for 15 years and is the biggest selling mobile game of all time, but our love affair with Tetris shows no signs of abating. The puzzle game, which first rose to prominence on Nintendo's Gameboy platform in the late 1980s, has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, and has been downloaded more than 100 million times on to mobile devices since 1995.
Social gaming tycoon Zynga is testing out a way to bring its games to the mobile phone, but despite what you might think, it’s not by building a bunch of fancy smartphone applications. It's approaching mobile is by tapping into SMS—something nearly every phone in the U.S. is capable of doing.
The Red Cross’s involvement in the relief effort is to be commended. Not only did it immediately set up the simplest donation method possible, but its social media presence and outreach, when combined with the State Department’s involvement, has turned this into a viral funding initiative, topping Twitter trends and inspiring action. The Red Cross is also contributing an initial $1 million from the International Response Fund.
Starting May 11, cell phone gaming company Cellufun will make "Made Off" available on its site for free downloads, according to MyFox.
How to play? In their own words:
Think you've got what it takes to build a better Ponzi scheme than Bernie? Always wanted to rob, cheat, and steal from innocent investors? Well now's your chance! In Made Off, you utilize your Cellupoints rather than real money.
Play as a slimy Fund Manager, a savvy Investor, or both. The game will end without warning when the Feds finally crack down on the Cellufun community, and people managing Funds will get to keep all the Cellupoints invested in them.
Investors will keep all the Cellupoints they've acquired through interest payments as well. And we'll give trophies to those who have "made off" with the most profits. Happy scheming!
As mobile phone usage becomes more commonplace in developing countries, cell phone games are emerging as an entertaining way to increase public advocacy. In India this month the Danish government launched Copenhagen Challenge, a detective game designed to educate Indian school children about climate change. Voice of America reports.
Your mission; free Dr. Kumar from the claws of the fossil fuel mafia and save the environment from total annihilation.
No small task. But one that students at the Montort school in New Delhi are eager to confront.
According to the Telecom Regulatory Agency of India the country has nearly 350 million mobile users, many of whom are poor villagers using inexpensive, recycled phones.
Denmark's minister for climate and energy, Connie Hedegaard, says such cell phone penetration makes the mobile network a natural choice to educate people about climate change.
... The impact of this innovative effort is to be assessed when Denmark hosts the U.N.'s international climate change conference, known as COP15, in Copenhagen this December.
Thanks to smartphones like Apple's iPhone 3G, mobile gaming rose 20% and hit $5.4 billion in 2008, according to a new report from Jupiter Research. Information Week reports.
The report said overall game downloads were flat in the U.S. and Western European markets, but volumes rose in developing markets like India and China. While Java-based games saw a steep decline, those volumes were offset by a sharp increase of iPhone game downloads.
... The report also said that more than half of games downloaded by 2012 will be funded by advertising.
According to the Boston Globe, Rhode Island toymaker Hasbro Inc. is looking to keep board games relevant by adding a text-messaging feature to a new edition of CLUE.
In "CLUE: Secrets & Spies" edition, "each player takes on the role of a top international spy tasked with infiltrating the Criminal League for Ultimate Espionage to stop its evil scheme for world domination by intercepting the nefarious Agent Black," Hasbro said in a Press Release that described the game.
"The new optional text messaging feature transmits game shaping intelligence to Agents Plum, Scarlet, Mustard and the others while an ultraviolet, secret decoder reveals hidden missions to the players," Hasbro said.
Texting Games has launched a SMS based Tic Tac Toe. You can play against your friends by text messaging.
Simply Text the word TicTac and your firends number to 41411 to begin. Example: if your friends num is 4045551212 then text TicTac 4045551212 to 41411. Your friend will get a request to play. They will reply Ok to start. Who ever starts the game will go first. You will be given a board of numbers. To select your square just reply with the number for the square you wish to play.
The No. 1 free download from Apple's App Store, a clever Tetris clone for the iPhone called Tris is no longer available. USA Today reports.
As of Wednesday, the puzzle game has been removed from the App Store, following a threatening letter received by Apple by The Tetris Company over alleged copyright infringement, says Tris developer Noah Witherspoon.
The disappointed college student writes this on his blog, entitled Two Finger Play.
"I'm afraid it's essentially game over. Do they have a case? No. Not really. I am convinced that if it went to court, the 'copyright' claim would get thrown out completely. The trademark, perhaps not -- but if I changed the name, to e.g. Trys, that would be much harder for them to argue."