Monday, May 28, 2007

BWIN Marketing Team Asleep At Wheel

There has been recent praise for the mobile expertise of Cellectivity, enabling BWin to "provide mobile users with access to real online poker tables for the very first time" - says Cellectivity CEO Marcel Puyk.

I have to say this did make me laugh. I remember being bowled over by a demo of PokerRoom's multiplayer mobile client running on the (then brand new) SE K700i, which must have been over 2 years ago. Sure, the network really wasn't fast enough for a multiplayer game, but it looked good and showed what was technically feasible.

Fast-forward to today and we still only have 10% 3G handset penetration in most of the West, so the quality of the multiplayer networking experience still won't be so great for a lot of users - so what has Cellectivity's mobile expertise done to enable such a sea-change?

Burke Hanson, attorney at large over at the Reg, reckons "In theory, Bwin's PokerRoom can be accessed today from certain mobile devices now. But the quality of the experience is so poor that for all practical purposes the potentially enormous market for handheld poker remains untapped. That is where Cellectivity comes in - the mobile gaming specialist has customized Bwin's service for handsets, enabling access to poker games anytime, anywhere." Eh? Says who? The supported handset list looks much like it did last month (from what I remember, always an unreliable way to view the past of course)...

When you look into it, Cellectivity appear to have contributed two things:
  1. They have placed the client onto T-Mob and 3's portals, and presumably moved PokerRoom inside 3's walled garden for those 3 customers who still live inside it. Greta news for PokerRoom, though more a contractual achievement than a technical one.
  2. They have written a press release bigging themselves up at the expense of the guys at PokerRoom who actually did the technical work.
If I'm missing something, Bwin or Cellectivity please let me know :)

I have no problem with the deal which hopefully will make both companies and their players very happy, but I do think that the BWin marketing team should shoot themselves for handing over all credit for a very impressive piece of software to another company that basically happened to own the rights to place gambling content on a couple of operator portals...