How Mogi-Mogi has been developed

If you happen to read french, there is a must-read today: Les NTIC comme architectures de la rencontre pour une société d'individus: Le cas du développement d'un jeu de rôle mobile-internet basé sur la géo-localisation des terminaux (ICTs and the engineering of encounters: A case study of the development of a mobile game based on the geolocation of terminals) by Christian Licoppe et Romain Guillot (France Telecom R&D).

It's actually a study carried out by researchers at France Telecom about how french company Newt Games imagined its next game, a mobile multi-user role palying game, which has to be scaled down into something simpler: Mogi Mogi (more information about the game in Feature).

Anchored into sociological (as well as socio-cognitive theories � la Kirsh, Norman, Suchman), the paper explores how a game at first targeted to the specific mobile game fans turned out to be accessible to everybody (ranging from simple users to hardcore gamers) and that can support encountering/matchmaking. The most interesting part (with regard to my interest, no offense for the writers) is simply the description of the game development process. Of course, in this paper, the name of the developers/company is not cited, nor the name of the game but it's easy to guess that it's Mogi Mogi (based on various cues: a snapshot!!!!, partnership with KDDI, link with Innovacell).

The very interesting point in this paper is how the mobile game developer reshuffled their project due to various constraints (technology, market, financial pressure, management, critics by game editor Ubi Soft).

There is actually an english version of this paper, presented at Mobile Leisure and the Technological Mediascape (Manchester, 2005): ICTs and the engineering of encounters: A case study of the development of a mobile game based on the geolocation of terminals:

By means of tests and user feedback, designers initially oriented towards the concept of a multi-player role playing game for mobile phones, targeted towards a specific audience, will shift their design strategy. They will gradually grasp the potential represented by the possibility of users “seeing” their mutual positions on mobile screens in order to enter into contact with one another. Their design work will focus on the engineering of encounters, through an innovative geolocalised service which is now oriented towards any mobile phone user (and not only gamers) – a generic device that anyone could use in principle. The design trajectory moves away from the development of a highly scripted, distinctive game towards the development of a generic information and communication technology.

Since the services they design are based on location tracking, they are particularly interesting from a sociological standpoint. Geolocation embeds issues of space and place directly into the engineering of mediated encounters. Up to now, electronic encounters were a characteristic feature of Internet world, i.e. in situations where actors use a connected personal computer. The development of mobile technology actually introduces original possibilities of exploiting cell phone tracking (in wireless network or through satellite positioning) to engineer disembodied meetings “on screens”. Since mobile phones almost always accompany their owners as they move about, a geographic position (that of their “geolocated” terminal) can be associated with personal electronic identities. The mobile phone screen may become a map of the cityscape, and icons or avatars represent the location of the players that move in it.