P1655 - Mobile online gaming - from Tetris towards ubiquity?
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The gaming industry is a highly innovative, growing multi-billion Euro business domain, that in recent years has experienced and strong shift towards various flavours of online gaming involving large number of users interacting in virtual and mixed reality gaming worlds. Due to the recent technological evolution and development, online gaming on mobile terminals is now viable and where of most important drivers are adequate mobile communications infrastructure, terminals and related services. As gaming and entertainment moves towards mobility and interaction it might constitute a significant business opportunity for Telco’s in terms of both new and existing services and costumers. This study will contribute to the understanding of the mobile gaming market and investigate this opportunity in order make recommendations for Telco’s in entering this marked in terms marked and technological considerations as well as alliances and viable business models.
Entertainment, and gaming in particular, has in recent years become an important driver in industry segments - software, hardware and telecommunications – with a variety of games, ranging from games on small hand held game terminals to massive multiplayer online games involving thousands of PC based gamers in a common virtual universe. The gaming industry is today one of the main frontiers pushing the boundaries of technology and development.
Gaming is in continuous change and there is a need to understand the state of the art and the near future. Interaction with other users –online gaming- has become more and more important, and one of latest trends is mixed reality games where users actually interacts with objects and people in the physical world in order to complete game objectives.
The mobile gaming business (games on mobile terminals) is mostly based on downloadable Java games that run in a closed environment on mobile terminals (phones). These games have little or no interaction and communication with other entities or players and are thereby not utilizing some of the key advantages of mobile terminals beyond the initial download phase.
There are several reasons for this; however, some of the important barriers to online mobile gaming have been latency and capacities in mobile networks in addition to inadequate terminal equipment, both in terms of technical resources and gaming experience. Both networks and terminals have undergone an enormous evolution with significant technical improvements in recent years. The emergence of 3G networks and fixed mobile convergence platforms and powerful mobile phones with large high resolution display could solve some these issues and constitute a mobile gaming platform viable for both existing games on new platforms but also for new an innovating approaches to gaming and entertainment.
It could in turn out to constitute a significant business opportunity for Telco’s in terms of infrastructure and services supporting both gamers and possibly game developers but there could be other interesting effects. One is becoming visible in a segment that is experiencing high churn. Another important reason for pursuing this market is that games might be way educate and train costumers into using advanced mobile services, with in turn could have an impact on other advanced Telco services.
This study should investigate mobile gaming as a possible important business area for Telcos and thereby analyse both markets, technologies, applications, business models, value systems and side-effects in order make recommendations on how Telco positioning and strategies to ensure the best possible position in this market now and in the future.
Mobile online gaming is emerging and will probably become a reality in the mid term time frame. As this is becoming a reality, Telco’s does not have a clear picture of the emerging situations and the scale of opportunities this presents together with the challenges is poses. Gaming is an international very large marked that might constitute a significant business opportunity for Telco’s if the right services and infrastructure are present.
In order to make the right strategic decisions regarding possible involvement several issues that must be clarified,
The roadmap for mobile online gaming is not clear in terms of markets and market interest- Applications and applicability, miniaturization, mobility and interactivity – all important drivers for the emergence mobile online gaming. It is also unclear what requirements these issues will pose on mobile online gaming applications in addition to end-user terminals and network capacity.
The Telco role in this market is not obvious, both in terms of business models, services and role. These are critical an issue that needs to be researched in order to determine is this marked is of Telco interest. In addition, there is need to investigate possible side effect like costumer training and bindings.
The study will include the following tasks:
1. Survey the state and structure of the gaming and mobile gaming industry in general in order to identify trends and applications suitable for mobile gaming and understand the difference between the traditional and mobile gaming markets. I addition, markets where gaming is strong, particularly in the far east, should be investigated further.
2. Survey the state of the art and roadmap of potential mobile gaming terminals.
3. Identify the key critical issues for mobile online gaming? What challenges does this kind of gaming pose.
4. Why have mobile gaming not been a success earlier and it at all possible to export successes from traditional gaming to a mobile environment. The PC gaming evolution should be considered as current mobile gaming terminals has resources comparable to PC’s 6-7 years ago. Are the lessons to be learned from the PC gaming industry?
5. Service provision and partnering, What services and service qualities are needed in order to support the needs and demands from gaming applications and are Telocs able to offer this to a large number of customers?
6. Partnering, viable Business models and roles. Who are the right partners? The gaming eco-systems is already existing and Telocs must form alliances with the right partners in order to be successful. In addition, viable business models and role in existing and emerging value systems must be identified.
7. Possible important gaming side effects. What does the emergence of mobile online gaming mean for Telco’s in terms of new and existing services and new and existing costumers? Does Telco’s have any key advantages that will enable them to undertake a visible role in the gaming value systems or not? Can gaming be used as way to recruit and train users to take on other more advanced mobile services and thereby stimulate to increased services usage in other areas that gaming?
8. Business models and positioning in the value systems together with an analysis including technologies, partners, alliances and possible competitors.
Based on the result form these tasks, the project will be able highlight the most important, from a Telco point of view, aspects of mobile online gaming and thereby be able to make recommendations for further actions within this market segment and the impact, direct and in-direct of doing so.
The approach taken by this study will be based on desktop research and analysis of market situations, emerging trends and applications, technical and infrastructural considerations and implications which in turn will be used to outline strategic recommendations for Telco positioning and business models for this segment.
The main objective of this study is to contribute to the understanding the area of mobile gaming and make strategic recommendations regarding Telco involvement in the mobile gaming market. To be specific,
Outline of an roadmap for future mobile online gaming applications based on an understanding of existing and emerging trends in the gaming industry in addition to existing and emerging applications for mobile online gaming
A Roadmap and state-of-the-art description of mobile and online gaming-capable terminals
Description of technical and non-technical Telco related requirements for mobile online gaming
Recommendations for Telco service provision, partnering, roles and business models
Understanding possible costumer effects and side-effects and impact on other areas of telco business of entering this market.
D1 and D2 - Findings, conclusions and recommendations, issued in June 2007, Eurescom Study Programme confidential
D3 - Set of presentation slides, issued in June 2007, Eurescom Study Programme confidential