A few months ago, we said that better latency and quality of service could be the keys to making mobile gaming a better – and more lucrative – experience for gamers, developers and operators.
Those are important technical steps. But let’s also look at the business models for selling new and improved mobile gaming. How will gaming set an operator’s or other company’s content offering apart from the competition?
If many telecom services are becoming commoditized, content – in the form of things like apps, games and music – will become even more important to both reaching new customers and keeping old ones. Within gaming, the transition to mobile will be based on continuous revenue streams that can be easily developed by either telco, device maker or game developer.
In-game revenue can be either subscription or single purchase, and the business model is also flexible in that any of the three major players can offer the game or upgraded services within the game.
But to make this work, you need great content. Over the long run, people are not going to pay for small games. A game like Order of Chaos is nice on mobile, but if it’s played on a network with built-in voice, it can be a great game that draws in users. Same goes for the highly anticipated new multiplayer version of ShadowGun by MadFinger.
This goes for more than just first-person shooter games too. Check out Coventry University in the UK and its Serious Games Institute, with up to 25,000 online students.
It’s also important to realize that there is space in the market outside of Apple and Google. The Japanese game portal Gree is immensely popular worldwide and just launched in beta a tool for iOS and Android. Sony has a series of content offerings, from games to books, and Cricket in the US has its Muve Music plan. Also in Japan, NTT DoCoMo increased its stake in Tower Records Japan in order to provide better music content.
Perhaps most prominently, Samsung just unveiled its own iTunes rival with MusicHub. Killer content is obviously central to Samsung’s drive to take market share in tablet (and phablets) away from Apple.
Customer loyalty is crucial to build a continuous revenue stream. This can be incredibly hard to build, but, if it happens, there is the potential for years of loyalty and a foothold in a disruptive future.