Mobile gaming future: "It's a phone, not a console"
It's a phone, not a console! is an interesting paper about mobile games by Marko Turpeinen, Risto Sarvas, Fernando Herrera from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology. Some excerpts I found relevant:
mobile gaming will be huge because everybody has a mobile phone. However, how can mass-market mobile phones ever compete with handheld game decks such as the Sony PSP and Nintendo Gameboy? (...) Perhaps they should not compete at all. Mobile phone game developers should take advantage of the special characteristics of the device in developing, marketing and distributing new types of games. These characteristics are related to the social nature of the device, e.g. it has an address book that contains your acquaintances and acts as a mediator of messages, it is a portable and shareable picture album, and you can even use it for talking. This combined with the openness of the platforms makes it customizable and moddable in ways not possible with handheld game decks. Also, the network connectiveness of phones combined with extensive coverage of phone networks simply cannot be found in any other portable computer. How can these features be leveraged in creating new forms of mobile entertainment? (...) Drawing from related phenomena including PC game modding, mobile imaging, Geocaching, Habbo Hotel, and Live-Action Role Play (LARP), we offer fresh perspectives and ideas to professional game developers by presenting research findings in mobile gaming and mobile gaming communities.
Why do I blog this? I do admit that I agree with some of the authors' conclusions, as already discussed there. Their point (emphasis in bold) is however balanced by phone technical limitations as I mentionned here, commenting on Greg Costykian's work.
They also have this conclusion:
Rather than just writing papers and giving talks about mobile gaming we base our research on building working prototype systems to test our hypotheses. Therefore, our future research explores the issues discussed in this paper, namely how mobile phones special characteristics could be taken into use in existing game activities and in facilitating the creation of user-designed and implemented game
This is pertinent indeed but I'd be happy to know more about how they "test their hypotheses", I believe there's a lot to learn from what this team do; but this kind of sentence leave unanswered the question of methodologies used to conduct such a project (we don't have the answer here at the lab, it's just that we face the same issues).