Scoping The Mobile Scene
Join Helios in his first day adventures at the GDC, where our man on the inside battled Denny’s food and a lack of quality footwear.
Well, I flew in last night via Toronto and San Francisco. I had some high hopes for some mild weather - It’s a bit chilly here but still warm enough. I guess coming from Canada anything is warmer.
Went to Denny’s for some late night breakfastï¿½ It was the only place open at 11pm on a Sunday night. They put a lot of butter on stuff here.
Woke up and had an early morning workout to shake off that Denny’s meal. We got a rental vehicle but decided to take the 8am shuttle to the conference site instead. It was one happy sausage fest on the bus; talk about a skewed ratio - maybe next year I’ll splurge on a Nurse convention or something. Anyways, I checked in at the conference. This is my second consecutive GDC so I was curious as to how similar it would be. Unfortunately, the mobile sessions are being held at another location half a block away, but it took a while for me to clue in. We each got a bag that contained lots of little flyers and pamphlets. It also contained the GDC program guide. I’d also like to point out that I got my first bit of swag in here. A rubber ball with the word “physX” on it. Score!!! Some lucky GDC attendees also got a pair of socks with their bag. I guess the promoters of the conference where displeased with some of the attendees personal hygiene in years past.
I recognized some attendees and presenters who where there last year. The show started with an address by the chair of the mobile GDC on the state of the mobile game industry. His address noted some key trends in 2005. Some of these trends included the consolidation of industry players, and an increase in percentage taken for the sale of each title from the carrier. The session also talked about the large number of titles on the decks of the carriers. Tetris was cited as the most popular mobile game.
After the introductory address, Mitch Lasky, some dude from Jamdat/EA (umm, that would be “Senior VP of EA Mobile” Mitch Lasky, ed.) spent the next hour talking about the future of mobile gaming. He blabbed about why the EA Jamdat merger took place and about how powerful they are and how much money they’ll make. He also talked about threats to the mobile game industry. Last year’s proceedings had a strong focus on the carrier role in the mobile gaming industry; this year the same focus seems to be present. Mr.Lasky sighted that carriers are doing less and less to try to educate gamers and market games while demanding that developers do more and more. On top of this, carriers are trying to get more of a cut of the profits. I personally believe that carriers should just be concerned about profits from air time, but that’s just me. He also pointed out that the shopping experience was relatively unpleasant with few repeat buyers. The next portion of his talk spoke of the excessive number of games on the decks of carriers and how there are many bad games, few good games and an overly abundant supply of games that are similar to one another. He also pointed out that it might be too late for mid size players, but that there’s still hope for smaller innovative developers. Of course, this is coming from the EA/JAMDAT guy whose 2006 strategy will most likely be to obliterate any of these companies. All in all, this was a pretty interesting speech.
Click here for part two.