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Is there a need for games on mobile devices?

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The tech-world is coming up with more and more mobile powerful devices such as mobile phones and PDAs. But perhaps more interesting are the combinations in between. The PDAs comes with integrated mobile phones, and the mobile phones are getting more and more PDA style functions. My question is if there is a need for games for these devices? Are they suited for gameplay? I''m not talking about WAP or SMS games, but real graphical animated games with typical games elements such as NPCs, Story, Networking and so on. Are the end-users willing to pay for these games and if so, how much? The reason for my question is that I believe there is a need, but I''m interested in what other people in the business think. Btw. I know games exist for the Palm and PocketPC devices, but you can hardly compare the existing market for PPC games with for example the existing market for Gameboy or GBA. /Kristoffer

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>My question is if there is a need for games for these devices?
I like this one.

My personal opinion, no. Not yet anyway.

However, the mobile telecommunications industry is determined to "create" a need for a games. Nobody wanted WAP games either, but people want to develop them so they''ll market, and market and market until they eventually convince the public that they want this new product.

Problem is: PDAs are expensive and games are not. When you can pick up a GBA (or any console) for so cheap, why would you want to run games on your PDA? Especially when you consider that the kind of person who owns a PDA has plenty of money - if they''re interested in gaming then they probably already have a fair few consoles.

E

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I completely disagree. While people may have lots of disposable income, they only have limited tolerance for inconvience. The crux of your argument is that (paraphrased ) "Since people have the money to buy a dedicated console, they would rather play games on that"

The problem is, these same people REQUIRE the functionality PDA''s provide them. They want to carry the PDA at all times. These same people do not want to have to carry a gameboy around to play games.. they want the convienence of playing games on their PDA''s. Some very succesful PDA games can attest to this fact.

To me the real question is not "is there a market for PDA games", but rather "what types of games does the PDA user base want to play?" This is the real distinction between the two handheld platforms. Gameboy gamers want very deatiled and involved experiences. They literally want to play scaled down versions of their favorite "big console" games... while still being mobile.

The PDA market has consistently rewarded simple "one shot" kinds of games. They want games that don''t require a 30 minute time investment every time they start the game. Card games, casino games, and the like have all exploited this market very well. At the same time, more traditional console style games (such as RPG''s) have done very well... but only when they have provided gameplay that complemented this small chunk mentality.

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That''s why Tetris would always kill on a PDA, the people with PDA''s who bought them to use not as a game platform, but for the purposes which they were intended for, don''t want the next kick-ass game that uses the next kick-ass 3D engine, they want a little something to do on the PDA while Bob from accounting goes through the paces at the weekly meeting.

------------
- outRider -

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quote:
The problem is, these same people REQUIRE the functionality PDA's provide them. They want to carry the PDA at all times. These same people do not want to have to carry a gameboy around to play games.. they want the convienence of playing games on their PDA's.


Right. Can't argue with that... but that same argument explains why the games market on PDAs will stay very small and quite insignificant.

You're appealing to a technically savvy audience who probably have the major consoles (and all the other new kit). But will only want to play one or two games for short periods on their PDA - for convienence and a temporary distraction.

But developers still have to produce titles which stand up to todays standards eg. flashy graphics, great sound, marketing etc. etc. These people don't want to run Atari 2600 quality titles on a £400 palm pc. (excluding the retro appeal)

So, heavy development costs minus low sales = out of work games developers.

It's like linux gaming - people with linux machines want to play the odd game but that hasn't made a half decent industry [yet].

Tetris would kill off any PDA gaming since once they've bought that, noone would have any need for any other game on that platform.

Edited by - Eight on August 29, 2001 5:21:07 AM

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No, of course there isn''t a need for games on mobile devices. That''s why the GameBoy sold so badly.

Oh, wait....

After careful deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that Nazrix is not cool. I am sorry for any inconvienience my previous mistake may have caused. We now return you to the original programming

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I agree to that people don''t buy a PDA just for the games. But I do think a good selection of games would increase the PDA offer.
A PDA like the Compaq iPAQ isn''t really designed for "traditional" handheld console gameplay; missplaced buttons and low battery time. But the PDA do however offer at least one aspect that appeals to me. Networking! Especially when GPRS gets more common.
Then I will not only have a device capable of the normal PDA and mobile phone stuff, but also a device capable of quit interesting gaming.

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Just found this at CNet:

"Sega has signed a deal that will get its computer games on handheld computers in the United States for the first time, the company said Thursday."

The whole article can be found here:
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1006-200-7016465.html?tag=lh

I guess if Sega enters the PDA game market there must be a demand

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With Sega's games line-up in recent years, they're probably the one company who *could* create a need for games on a PDA.

Especially if they throw the odd exclusive to the platform.

E

Edited by - Eight on August 31, 2001 9:17:04 AM

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I''ve played Quake on Cassiopeia (Casio PocketPC) and while the screenshots look excellent in the media, playability just totally sucks. The available buttons on PocketPCs are not very good for games that originally were designed to be played with a mouse + keyboard.

Conclusion? If the number of PDAs grows enough to provide a viable software market, there will be _new_ games that are designed for the PDA''s control buttons, usage situation, etc. These games will probably beat the majority of classical game revamps. Some games like Tetris, of course, will do fine on any platform since they have a very limited feature set, simple control mechanism, no 3D navigation etc.

I used to design SMS & WAP games (left the job a week ago) and based on my experience from there I''d say the real market for PDA games is about five years in the future. Gameboy is the only exception because it has very little in common with the PDA market. BTW, I''m seriously going for AGB development so I might be a little biased.

- Lasse

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Well, the development company I work for has a partner who are doing PDA games (called ''I Wish...'') and those include a 3d flight simulator that looks and plays great, so it can be done well.

I''m sort of in the middle as far as those games go, they may sell well because they are a relatively new thing, but I do also think the real market is a couple of years away yet. I absolutely hate WAP games though, they are easy to build but crap to play!

Stick with the good ''ol GBA games for now though!





Marc Lambert

marc@darkhex.com

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