Mobile Game Companies Develop Architecture Standard

Via Gamasutra, news that a significant number of handset and mobile gaming companies have finally decided to establish an open architecture standard for cell phone games. The initiative’s participants include: Activision, Digital Chocolate, Electronic Arts, Konami, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, SK Telecom, Square Enix, Symbian, and Texas Instruments (among others).

Assuming that the aforementioned companies don’t get into a terminal squabble, this initiative represents a major milestone for the mobile game industry, which has been held back by the complexity of developing even simple games for a very wide variety of platforms, carriers, and operating systems. In today’s environment, it takes ~250 builds to publish just a single game in five languages, worldwide. (I’ve heard numbers as high as 450.) Each build may only cost ~$2,500, but that doesn’t include the costly logistical headaches associated with having so many SKUs.

There are 200M cell phones in the US — over twice the number of PCs, but still just a small fraction of the global cell phone total (China alone boasts 300M mobile subscribers). Global cell phone game revenue predictions vary widely, but many settle in at around $8.5B in 2010. A truly successful open standard could raise that number substantially.

2 responses to “Mobile Game Companies Develop Architecture Standard

  1. I’m really skeptical about the ability of these companies to agree on anything, but I’ll be happy to be proved wrong. I’d like to the addition of any or all of these companies to the initiative: LG, Motorola, Qualcomm, Sun or Sony Ericsson. Without their buy-in, we’re looking at yet another fragment of mobile environment; with their participation, we’re adding another group that could stonewall the whole process. No easy answers here…

  2. Agreed on all counts, though I think that enough important companies are involved to give the initiative at least a prayer of success. Unfortunately, even if *every* major company was signed up, the initiative could still devolve into squabbling (as these things often do.) Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen this time.

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