Friday, June 16, 2006

EA Unhappy To Lose >50% Of Game Sale Price Shocker

EA have declared they'd like to sell games directly to the consumer, and who can blame them - operators (outside of Japan) take a massive chunk of billing revenues and lots of less obvious payments for portal positioning, making the mobile gaming market completely unprofitable for any but the largest players. Most operators (outside of Japan) also lose lots of money on their content portals, which would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.

I've long thought there is huge potential for clever off-portal sales strategies - and EA are in a very storng position for this. The next generation of consoles all feature Internet access which will tie console gamers into networked communities and free/purchased game add-ons. why not drop in a text field for the player's phone number and offer to wap push them the mobile version of the game? Or better still, an extra component for the game which extends it into the real world and allows the player to do mobile-friendly things which feed back into the main console game world?

This model could be extended to all sorts of mobile apps, using intelligent combinations of push triggers in existing web sites/networked apps/connected kiosks, and IR/Bluetooth app pushes in the right environments. The latter needs to be handled with care: gratuitous spam is bad, but a lot could be done with promo staff beaming content, perhaps adding a little personal tutorial and guided sign-up (on-device or through some other networked PDA).

I think we'll see growing use of novel distribution channels for mobile content over time, as advertisers continue to move away from fading media like TV. The current model seems to be stuck in an SMS rut but it can only be a matter of time.

Does anyone have any examples of innovative mobile agencies pushing the boundaries, bearing in mind we'll be witheringly sarcastic about them if they fail to make the grade? ;-) If they fail because of inherent problems in the mobile content infrastructure, as is often the case, we will of course be sure to point out the real culprits...