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Research Center


Mobile Games 2010

Nokia Research Center Finland 1.1.2007

Elina Koivisto


The Mobile Games 2010 report looks at how mobile gaming could be like in year 2010 from three points of view: games and players, technology, and business. The study was done by interviewing about 20 mobile game publishers, developers, operators, and inviting experts to write articles on the topic. The invited articles are attached in the end. The report reflects the opinions of the interviewees and authors of the articles - not Nokia's game strategy or future product releases.

Index Terms:

Mobile Game 2010


Copyright © 2007 Nokia

Mobile Games 2010 Elina Koivisto


Layout and cover art: Jouka Mattila Nokia Research Center, Finland Special Acknowledgements: The IPerG (Integrated Project on Pervasive Gaming) project for funding part of this work Teemu Jalava Nokia Research Center, Finland Jyri Salomaa Nokia Research Center, China For initiating and structuring the project, co-authoring the initial sets of questions and invitations, rewiewing and selecting the articles.


The study looks at mobile gaming from three points of view: Users and games, Technologies, and Business. We focus on Europe, however, our contributors come also from other regions. Differences in different markets can be rather large [19]. The study The Mobile Games 2010 study (MG2010) was initi- concentrates more on the future than today. Excelated by Nokia Research Center (NRC) at the end of lent sources exist about the today's situation, and year 2005 to get insight on how the mobile games some of them are freely available, such as the IGDA and gaming will be like within a few years time. We Mobile Games White Paper [27]. One of the articles started the study by organizing an expert workshop in the article collection also gives a brief summary with 13 game experts in Nokia. With the data that of the History of the Mobile Games (starting with was gathered in the workshop, we created an inter- the first commercial Mobile Game, Nokia's Snakes, view structure and interviewed 20 mobile game de- in year 1997) [40]. velopers, publishers, operators and other researchers (see the list of contributors in the end). The inter- The report is divided in three parts: Section 2. Users views were done either in face-to-face situations and Games, Section 3. Technologies, and Section 4. (majority) or via phone, and email. The interviews Business. Conclusions are drawn in the end of the were semi-structured (1) . document and the referred materials are listed. The contributors for the report are listed in the beginAdditionally, we invited experts to contribute to the ning of the document. Most of the contributors were study by writing short articles related to the topic. interviewed for the report, some of them reviewed These articles are compiled in an appendix that ac- the report and came up with useful comments, and companies this report. The journal includes articles some did both. on mobile game security (Steven Davis) [12], technology road mapping for future mobile games (Sonja Kangas) [32], proximity gaming (Tom Söderlund) [51], virtual asset trade (Steven Davis) [13], cross- (1) The interviews involved a list of interview topics that were medial access (Vicky Wu) [54], architecture for con- followed in the each interview. However, the interviewees nected mobile gaming (Frank Fitzek) [18], and fu- were freely allowed to talk about the topics that they considered important themselves. ture of mobile games (John Paul Bichard) [6].

Chapter 1: Introduction

Please note that this report does not reflect Nokia roadmaps or future product releases. This report is a collection of opinions of the people who contributed in this study.


Chapter 2: Users and Games

In this section, we look at who will be the mobile game players and what kind of games are predicted to be popular in year 2010.

Partly this can be due to what kinds of games exist for the platforms, but also it must be noted, that in the case of PC, you already have the device and you just need to buy the game. The same applies to the mobile platform and this may be one of the reasons why mobile games can become popular among women(3). It is commonly said that mobile game players are mostly casual gamers who play the games for a few minutes when waiting for something or being bored. However, a study done by Sorrent and U30 [27] found that many core or hard core gamers (for a definition see e.g. [28]) play mobile games. The study was rather large-scale, more than 700 mobile game players participated the study. They also found that 80% of them had a gaming console at home, more than 60% of them played mobile games at home, many of them played frequently (more than 60% played mobile games more than once per day), and they played for long periods of time on average (15-20 minutes). In another study(4) [19], which was commissioned by Nokia, the average play session length was found to be 28 minutes. In our studies in Nokia Research Center, we have field tested commercial mobile games, and found that particularly the players of online games spend a lot of time playing one play session. The most enthusiastic mobile game players can even spend several hours playing a mobile game. The typical places that are reported in our studies for places where the games are played include home and work. It seems to be common to play mobile games in places like bed before going to sleep, or playing on the couch while watching TV.

The users and how they play

There is quite a lot of research conducted on the mobile game player demographics, but the results vary a lot depending on the group who participated the studies. Typically, the studies show that a considerable partition of the mobile game players are female. One example is the free mobile game portal GameJump's study [9] among its users (50 000 players were involved in the study) where it was reported that in the US 59% of the players were male, and 41 female. The male/female ratio was more geared towards men among the international players (79/21)(2). Juniper Research's [39]report estimates that mobile games business will grow from $3 billion in 2006 to $10.5 billion in 2009 and that growth will be driven by the casual and female players. One comment from our interviews was that in the non-mobile gaming field, more women play PC

Figure 1 An example of a mobile game that is targeted to women. WatAGame's GoSupermodel game

Could be because the game site is not welknown outside the US (3) Also, according to the author's own experiences and observations, women who already have families are often quite busy and cannot necessarily afford to spend several hours in front of computers. There are always distractions in the real life. The mobile gameplay that is not fixed in one location and often supports short playsessions may fit better in that kind of lifestyle. (4) 1800 users participated in the study in six countries



Chapter 2 Users and Games

In 2010, more people will play mobile games. As given by our interviewees about the players of realmentioned earlier, and also noted a few times in our life games using mobile phone as a tool. interviews, women will be important for driving this growth. Recently, there have been signs that some companies particularly aim to target their mobile games to young women (see e.g. Gameloft's comment about targeting women players [29]). One example is Danish game development company WatAGame's goSupermodel (Figure 1), where the players battle it out in the catwalk. We can expect to see more mobile games that are targeted to women in the future. The number of hard-core gamers will also get bigger in the mobile platform when the quality of the games is getting better and the mobile phone as a game development platform will offer more possibilities for creating games that both look good and lots of "deep" content. One of our developer interviewees noted that the company is addressing the needs of hardcore gamers by providing games that have hard-core theme and content but casual game mechanics that are better in the mobile game play situations. One good example of this is the Doom [15] mobile game. In the year 2010, more people than today have been using a mobile phone for their entire life. In Finland, a typical age to get a mobile phone is when children go to school at the age of seven. These kids who have grown up with mobile phones will have Figure 2 Future players of mobile games. The mobile phone can be used as a tool in play. a different, more pervasive(5) relationship with the (5) The word "pervasive" is used here in the sense that the mobile phone. One example of this is using the momobile phone is an important part of every day activities. bile phone as a tool in everyday playing. A Finnish (6) The children used the mobile phone in a special Finntabloid recently reported children playing hide-andish variation of the hide-and-seek game for collaboration seek with using mobile phone as a tool in this game amongst the hidden players, informing the lost players, and revealing someone's location by calling his or her mobile [30](6) . There were also some spontaneous positive


Chapter 2 Users and Games few emerging game styles that may or may not be more popular in year 2010 or later. "Snack games" Snack games are small simple games that are typically played just for a while when the player is bored or waiting for something and then set aside. These games are typically small puzzle games or simple arcade games(9). Most of the today's mobile games can be described as snack games. Even if there will be a lot more diversity in the future, there are no signs that snack gaming would vanish anywhere. This was confirmed Figure 3 Fitting a 3D object into an silhouette in in our interviews. Snack games will be there and Fathammer's SiL game. they may even drive the industry [39]. The mobile phone fits very nicely for snack gaming since it is always available and many players do not care about deeper gaming experiences (and do not even consider themselves as "gamers"). Instead, they are satisfied with more casual gaming experiences. Also, innovation can happen in mobile puzzle games as well. One good example of this is Fathammer's SiL game [49] where the player has to rotate 3D objects to fit into a silhouette.

(7) One of our invited articles defines the first category as "port-

The games that will be popular

Currently, the most popular mobile games are quite casual and many of them are versions of game titles that are developed for PC. For instance, Tetris appears frequently in the list of top ten most sold mobile games [16]. These "snack games" will definitely not vanish from the market, but they are more likely to have optional multi-player functionality. What will change is that there will be more diversity. Like mentioned in the previous section, games that offer deeper gameplay and good graphics will get more common. Some of the experts who we interviewed believed in similar games getting popular in the mobile platform are as popular now in the PC platform. However, the majority of the experts believed that the successful mobile games would be something different, specifically designed for the mobile platform(7). These games could utilize the specific features of the mobile phone: 1. connectivity, 2 "always-with-you", and 3. the context of the player. At the same time, the games need to be designed around the limitations in the mobile environment. The biggest limitations for the game design include today: small screen size and keypad, network latency and traffic pricing, file size limitations, and platform fragmentation (see Section 3)(8). The use situations of the mobile games are also often different than when playing a PC or console game, even if ­ as noted earlier ­ mobile games are often played at home as well. We have listed the following game styles that will be

able games" and the second as "mobile games" [6] (8) The battery life and processing power can be also problems, however, these issues do not usually need to be considered when designing the game. (9) However, it must be noted that a snack game like Tetris can be played by another player like a snack game and by some other player fanatically. In this paper, we refer to a common playing style


Chapter 2 Users and Games

Cross-platform Cross-platform games and entertainment (or polymorphic content) was a big theme in our interviews. One of our invited papers also concentrated in this issue [54]. There are different kinds of cross-platform games. The "mildest" form of a cross-platform game is that the games in different platforms just share the same game license, but the gameplay in different platforms does not have any connection. We can already see these kinds of games utilizing popular game licenses, such as The Sims. These games can have similar stories or gameplay, or they can be complementary. One example of this could be a console game or a movie that is complemented with a mobile game where a small part of the whole story is revealed. For instance, the mobile game could explain something about the main character's past that was never told in the movie. The next step in cross-platform is allowing the players to use two or more platform to access the same game. The ways to play the game with the different platforms are symmetrical (similar) or asymmetrical (different). There are already games that can be played in different platforms, such as an MMORPG "A Tale in the Desert" [4]. However, having the mobile phone as part of the cross-platform functionality is not common yet. Hinterwars is probably the first commercial cross-platform MMOG (Massively Multi-Player Game) [25] including the mobile component. In Hinterwars, the gameplay in the PC and mobile platform are symmetrical (see Figure 4).

Figure 3 Fitting a 3D object into an silhouette in Fathammer's SiL game. If the gameplay of a cross-platform game title is asymmetrical in different platforms and the mobile phone is one of the platforms, most of the gameplay can happen in the mobile platform, the other platform(s), or equally in all the platforms. A typical example of a game where the mobile phone would be the main platform could be a game where some content for the mobile game is created in other platform, for instance, in a web page. Mobile games can also benefit from allowing the players to use the most feasible available platform for communicating with each other, e.g. for writing messages in a game forum. A good example of a game where the PC game could be the main game, and the mobile phone could be used as "a remote control", is an MMORPG (Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Game) where the players can use mobile phone for doing small tasks in the game. Nokia Research Center has conducted two qualitative studies together with SonyNetservices and Gotland University on what kinds of cross-platform access methods could be popular among the current MMORPG players [34][35]. In these studies, 28 players participated in in-depth interviews. It was found that the MMORPG players were very interested in using mobile features that allow them to connect to the communication


Chapter 2 Users and Games Mixed-reality games [26] often use several platforms to create the playing experience. Various platforms can be used for informing about the game, entering the game, playing the game, or observing the game. These games often allow various levels of participation from active players to observers or even nonplayers (who do not necessarily even know that they are part of the game). These kinds of games have this far been mostly successful as promotional games. A good example of that kind of game is Nokia Game that has ran from year 1999 as a promotional game event for Nokia [44]. Location-based games (LBGs) Location-based games have not been a major commercial success this far. A few commercial locationbased games have been launched, such as Botfighters [7] and Mogi Mogi [37]. Geocaching [22], which is a real-world GPS assisted treasure hunt game, is also an example of a location-based playful application that has gained some popularity and rather much publicity. However, the location-based genre is a niche. In our interviews, the response for questions related with the near-future success of location-based games ranged from skepticism to slight optimism. It was also noted that maybe the locationbased games have been too often very goal oriented games and that the popular location-based applications could be more playful. One example of a location-based (proximity based) application is Nokia's Sensor application [47]. The users of the Sensor application can browse other users of the same application who are in the vicinity (i.e. within the Bluetooth range), and see if they can find someone interesting, share files, and more. One enabler for the location-based games to become more popular is the increasing amount of locationtechnology that is available for the consumers with relatively low price. For instance in Finland the prices of GPS modules (such as Navicore) have come down rapidly within the last two years. The companies who are providing just maps today will start to consider what other kinds of applications they could provide for the consumers. One sign of this is Navicore's map application that gives the driver of the car instructions. In addition, the driver can choose which voice he wants to use from several options (among which are some celebrities). However, there are still many problems with the location technologies. For instance, GPS is very suitable for using in a car since being outdoors all the time makes seeing the satellite easier. However, gaming and traffic can be a tricky combination and using a GPS device constantly when walking around in a city can be cumbersome (especially in rough weather conditions, such as heavy rain). Some problems with using GPS for location information have been reported as well, for instance in the vicinity of very high buildings [5]. Other technologies for location tracking exist, but utilizing them is not necessarily that easy either. The mobile operators offer tracking services which are not as accurate as GPS. Using a location service by operator may be expensive and require going through a lot of bureaucracy [36]. One option is to use the CELL-ID for obtaining a rough knowledge of the whereabouts of the player. However, this information is sometimes seen to be

channels of their favorite PC-based MMORPG. Also, using small features that would not affect too much the gameplay in the main platform and would not require too fast interaction were popular, such as trading items or crafting. Features that involved getting notifications from the MMORPG received a mixed feedback. They were considered useful, however, sometimes players were worried about "being borderline gaming all the time" and getting too involved in and addicted to playing. We also studied using the mobile phone to play an MMORPG in a location-based mode. According to our study, these kinds of games would not be popular ­ unless they would be specifically designed to be location-based in the beginning. It is unlikely for the location-based MMORPG mobile game extensions will be popular in year 2010. What is very likely is that some more subtle features, like accessing the communication channels or trading with mobile, will be commonly used with some MMORPGs. The first PC or console games that will use mobile phone to support the game will simply connect to the communication channels of the game. We have seen already a few examples of this, for instance, Habbo Hotel [23], a virtual world created by Sulake, has included a mobile chat client that was used for sending messages in the game. Later Sulake removed this feature from the game since it was not used much. The reason for this was probably that the typical players did not yet have advanced-enough phones to use the feature and the pricing for data traffic was very high in the mobile networks. The time was too early for the feature and now both of these issues are changing.


Chapter 2 Users and Games Mixing the virtual and real ­ pervasive gaming According to the definition that is used in the Integrated Project on Pervasive Gaming (IPerG ) [31] pervasive games are "game experiences that are interwoven with our everyday lives". This means that pervasive games mix with our everyday activities. In the extreme cases this could mean games that are more like a life style than just a game. Pervasive gaming can - but does not necessarily need to mean ­ location-based gaming. Location-based games are a subset of pervasive games. One good example of mixing virtual and real is a game event organized by Nokia Research Center and a collaborative project Sensor Planet [48] is Manhattan Story-Mash Up event (Figure 6) in the Urban Games festival in New York. In this game event, the players were taking pictures of real-life objects in the street and other players were guessing what these objects represent. The second mode of play was web-based, where the players wrote stories around the content. Earlier examples of these kinds of games exist, too, such as, Can You See Me Now, Uncle Roy All Around You, Pac Manhattan, Human Pacman etc. These kinds of games can be particularly successful as promotional game events, for instance, Nokia has used a mixed-reality game "Nokia game" already for years for promoting its phones.

owned by the mobile operator which may cause and user-created content (see Figure 5). problems in commercial applications. Proximity gaming can be a more suitable way for locating players of the same game at the moment, since the technology for doing this is already widely available. Some commercial applications already exist (such as Nokia Sensor that was mentioned earlier). Those who are interested in proximity gaming can read more about it in Tom Söderlund's article in the article appendix of this report [51]. When talking about LBGs, concentrating on accuracy can be a red herring. Accuracy may not be important, and sometimes using exact location information in a game can be even threatening for players who do not want to let the other players to know about their whereabouts. There is always potential for stalking if a very accurate location technology is used. Sometimes it might be interesting for the player just to know that the other player is in the same neighborhood. Some mobile games may be location-based even without the players realizing that they are playing a location-based game. The players may just play a game in a certain location. One example of this could be a mobile-assisted bar quiz. One big problem with commercializing locationbased games is the amount of resources that is needed for customizing the games or applications to different locations. A few solutions exist and the solutions may also show direction to where the location-based games or playful applications will go in the near future. The location can be relative, the location may be not mapped directly to the real world, and the game may utilize existing maps and services Figure 5 An example of a research prototype called Constellations where content is automatically generated to fit new locations. More in www. The Location-based games will probably still stay as a niche in year 2010. However, we will see more location-based games than today.

10 Chapter 2 Users and Games There are a few reasons for connected gaming not being more popular today. In the earlier days, there were big usability problems with connected gaming. Most of the users had no idea how to even set up network settings. Nowadays this is not a big problem anymore as many mobile phones come with pre-set network settings or the operators send the settings automatically when the user inserts a new SIM card in his or her phone. However, there are still many problems. One of the biggest one is the pricing of data traffic in mobile networks, as also occasionally cited in our interviews. Most of the operators charge the data transfer by kilobytes, which makes it very difficult for a normal user to estimate how much money is spent when playing. This will change in the future when operators offer more multi-player friendly pricing models (see section 4). In the case of server-based online games, it can be also rather expensive to set up and maintain servers. Latency in the mobile networks is a problem in the games that require fast player-to-player interaction [20]. 3G networks help this a bit, but there will still be latency and disconnections from the network (particularly if the players are moving, e.g. sitting on a train). Even if the network technologies would not advance fast enough to offer a smooth real-time multi-player gaming experience in the mobile networks, there are many ways to design multi-player games that are latency resistant [20]. A good example of a successful connected mobile game is Pathway to Glory (Figure 7), which is a strategy game where the players guide their troops to solve missions in Second World War. The game received particularly good reviews and good publicity (see e.g. [44]).

Figure 6 Manhattan Story Mash-Up event in New York. The pictures taken in the game were posted in a wide-screen in Manhattan.

Figure 7 A good example of a contemporary multi-player online mobile game that has received good reviews: Pathway to Glory.

Our interviews gave some indication that the borders between the digital entertainment and gaming, and also virtual and real may blur more in the near future. An example of this already happening is the alternate reality game connected with the Lost TV series. Connected games (or online games) Connected (online) mobile games have been coming to the market already for several years. However, most of the mobile games are still offline games, even if some of the mobile games use short-range communication technologies, such as Bluetooth or infrared to facilitate locally multi-player games. In Nokia study [19], 45% of the mobile game players reported that they play multi-player mobile games at least once per month.

Community The community is often seen as a very important part of the game, particularly in the case of multi-player games. Human as a species has a strong need for socializing and communities have existed probably as long as the human kind. In Massively Multi-Player Online Game (MMOG) industry, there is a saying "they come for the game but stay for the community" which is very much true. Plenty of literature exists describing the benefits of a game having an active player community (see e.g. [40]).

11 Chapter 2 Users and Games In mobile games, community aspects are important as well. Our interviews revealed three different kinds of opinions: 1. The communities will be a central part of mobile games. The mobile phone is a social device used for communicating. 2. The communities will be important but it is not clear where the mobile game communities will reside. One very potential candidate is the Internet (e.g. a mobile game that is accompanied with a web page(10) ). Some interviewees also suggested that local communities may become important for mobile applications. 3. Communities may not be an important part of mobile games in 2010. The mobile phone has its limitations (e.g. the keypad, screen size, and the maturity of connected gaming) and the success of online mobile games has been still moderate. The opinions that reflected mobile game communities already being important part of mobile gaming already in year 2010 were more common. A few skeptical responses existed. One good example of a community-focused mobile commercial game is Digital Chocolate's MLSN sports league [37], which is an entirely communitybased game where the players manage their sports leagues to compete with others. In the academic domain, a good example of a game that is based on the player community is COUP [11]. In this game, the players compete with each other to climb up in a social hierarchy. Joining the game happens by invitation of another player of the game. Another example of a commercial community-focused approach in today's mobile gaming already is the N-Gage gaming platform [43], which has an active player community around it. As the publisher's role becomes stronger in mobile games industry, it is likely that communities form around certain popular publisher's game titles. Also, as connected gaming and even massively multi-player online gaming (MMOG) becomes more common in the mobile platform, it is very likely that the role of communities grows as well since it has been very central in the PC or console-based MMOGs and connected games.

Figure 8 Sea O'Fortune is a good example of a mobile-based MMOG game world The skeptical responses were based on the limitations of the mobile phone and networks. It was also mentioned that the more casual and older players not being necessarily interested in using a lot of time in order to get involved in game communities. However, often different roles are possible in communities ranging from active participants to observers.

However, some of the mobile phone are already more like multi-media computer and web pages can be browsed equally both with mobile phones and desktop computers.


12 Chapter 2 Users and Games Prosumerism In other media than only the games a common trend seems to be the more active role of the consumer. We call this prosumerism, which means that the user takes a role of a content creator or a hobbyist producer in a service or application. This trend certainly also affects the mobile gaming. However, the mobile phone offers quite limited screen real-estate and input methods for creating content. Some of the content-creation or publishing tools may reside in other platforms. One example could be a game where the player can customize the game character in detail in a web site but plays the game with mobile phone. One very potential mobile technology for creating or publishing content is the mobile phone camera. Use of voice has potential too, however, the use of voice has not been utilized much in mobile games today. Also, we have noticed in when playtesting mobile games that quite often the players prefer to play the mobile games without the sound. Serious games typically need to make the educational purpose very visible for either the founder of the game or the player. The serious games have been often criticized for not being fun. However, it could be the definition of a serious game that makes it so (it needs to be something serious, If it is fun, it is not serious!). The more fun games that can have educational or health benefits are often seen as games that are played just for fun (e.g. dancing or singing games). when participating events. This is already possible because the mobile users can browse Internet gambling sites with their mobile devices. Many of the first mobile gambling games will resemble the ones that are played today in the Internet or at Kiosks. However, some mobile gambling concepts will utilize the "live" aspect. Sometimes the mobile gambling games can be part of a bigger concept where the game is played on different platforms.

The mobile phone is a good platform for serious games. The phone is almost always with the user and it is very accessible and can be aware of its context. The user can always access the phone and engage in learning when he or she has time. In addition, the learning can happen in the right context, for instance, the players could get some additional information about the real locations where they are currently in. In health games the context becomes even more important. A good example of a successful serious game in a portable gaming console is We will see more games where the players can pro- Nintendo DS Brainage [8]. Even this success alone duce or create content (11) . However, these kinds of is likely to encourage some of the mobile developers games will not dominate the market in year 2010. to experiment more in the field of serious gaming. The technology is still a barrier in this area. Seriuos games are related to the bigger topic of persuasive games. Advergames (games that advertise Serious games something) are another form of persuasive games Serious games can be defined as games that, in ad- and they are briefly discussed in the Section 4. dition to being fun, serve some useful purpose, such as education or staying healthy. All games can be Gambling said to be educational or to influence the player to some extent ­ the very core of gameplay is to learn Mobile gambling will gain popularity. The players can gamble with the mobile phone simultaneously to master to play the game.

Lincoln Wallen defined the player created and published content nicely in Nokia's NERD conference in year 2006. He referred to player created content as something where the player creates things from the scratch and player published content where the player uses content provided by the game developer to create content. In the latter case, the content has already value as itself. A good example of this is podcasting (user-published content) and users composing songs themselves (usercreated content).



Chapter 3: Technology

In this section we discuss the technological trends that are related to mobile games. The focus is more in the platform issues, not as much in the mobile network technologies, but it must be noted that both are important.

In the following, we have listed the technology trends that were found in our workshop and interviews. It must be noted again that the new technologies listed in this report do not refer to Nokia road mapping but only to the interview data that was collected in this study. Platform fragmentation

The bigger developers typically have their automated testing platforms for testing mobile games. Camera The mobile-phone camera was already mentioned as an existing technology that will affect what kinds of games will be popular already in the near future. The mobile phone camera is mainly used for three purposes: 1. creating content, 2. interaction, and 3. creating augmented reality. The examples that we give are here are from our research projects, however, it is likely that we will see commercial mobile games using the camera in similar ways already in year 2010. A good example of a current commercial mobile game where the camera is used for game interaction is Final Fantasy: Before Chrisis [17]. Many MUPE [41] games use the mobile phone camera for content creation. One example of this is the Superstar game where the players try to take pictures of the other players without them noticing it. Another example of this a game prototype where the mobile-phone camera was used to create race tracks in a rally game. The mobile-phone camera has been used for interaction in a few research projects. A good example of this is the AR tennis game [24], where the player uses the mobile phone camera to play tennis with another player. A classical example of an augmented-reality game that uses the mobile phone camera is the mosquito game, where mosquitoes (or viruses in another version) are augmented on top of a real world view.

The platform fragmentation is one of the biggest technological issues in mobile game development. The different platform manufacturer's phones vary a lot, most importantly, in software development enThe technological trends are particularly interesting vironments, screen sizes and keypads. The mobile since when a particular technology gets common phones developed by the same platform manufacand accessible via APIs (Application Programming turer vary as well. Porting a mobile game to sevInterfaces) in mobile phones, it can enable new eral platforms can be as expensive as developing the commercially viable mobile gaming styles. A very game itself. good example of this is the mobile phone camera, which is becoming almost like a standard feature in The platform fragmentation, according to our interthe more advanced mobile phones. Not that many views, does not go anywhere by year 2010. Some commercial applications exist yet, however, the use improvements will happen, particularly among the of mobile phone camera is very popular in research same platform manufacturer's phones ­ the bigprojects. In these research projects, the camera is ger manufacturers like Nokia know that this is a typically used for creating content, interacting with real problem for the developers and are working on the game or other players, and creating augmented making their life easier. The bigger game publishers reality. One of our invited papers roadmaps the fu- may also able to agree about some standards in the ture mobile technologies (Sonja Kangas, VTT: The future. Technology Centre of Finland) [32]. Another invited paper by Frank Fitzek of Aalborg University A big driver for the fragmentation is the fact that describes a new kind of network architecture that new devices come frequently in the market and that may even increase the fragmentation in the future. could be used in mobile games [18]. For the bigger mobile game developers the platform fragmentation can also been seen as an asset since it is a huge barrier to entry for the smaller ones.

14 Chapter 3 Technology networks include GPS, operator-provided location tracking, proximity technologies, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and identifying the CELL-ID. Since the location-based games were already discussed earlier in this document we will not go further in detail in here. radio access protocols. In late 2005 and early 2006 during the initial real-world deployments of HSDPA, data throughput rates for individual terminals ranged from 1 to 3 Mbit/s with latency times between 100 and 300. UMTS networks deployed with HSDPA are particularly attractive to operators due to the continued cost savings and projected subscriber Connectivity models which are associated. According to the 3G America's website; UMTS users have grown to 81 The mobile phones will have more options for con- million subscribers globally in less than one year, necting to the mobile internet and the access will with projections of more than ten times that amount be more ubiquitous. The high-end mobile phones by 2011 [1]. already have Wi-Fi connectivity, and it is likely to become more common in low-end mobile phones as 4G network technologies are already in planning but well. The ideal situation from the users point of view will not probably affect that much the market yet would be that the mobile phone could automatically in year 2010. These networks can potentially offer choose the most efficient network available (e.g. 100Mbps data transfer over IP compliant networks. fastest or cheapest) seamlessly. We got indication in 4G networks may also be compiliant with Wi-Fi and our interviews that some multi-player online games WiMax and reduce operator costs. may use streaming technology for gameplay. The operator interoperability can be sometimes a The mobile network technologies are evolving, like problem. This could be the case when a game would in the past and we can expect the speed and the ca- use the operator's presence service to see if quests pacity to grow in the future as well. Currently, in the can be sent to a player who is not currently actively 2G networks the latencies are still rather high, typi- playing a game (to see if he or she is for instance cally ranging from 300ms to one second. There can working). be also occasionally high latency peaks or the users may disconnect from the mobile network (particu- Bluetooth is one of the most commonly used techlarly when commuting). GPRS and EDGE are the nologies currently for connecting multi-player momost deployed 2G technologies. bile gamers. Tom Söderlund's article [51] in our article appendix discusses proximity gaming. 3G UMTS networks improve data rates greatly but latency increases are marginal. In the 3GPP Rel-5, HSDPA promises low latency times using IP based network infrastructure combined with enhanced

Figure 9 A player using the mobile phone camera as a controller when playing tennis against another player Other new interaction technologies Some mobile phones already incorporate 3D motion sensors that can be used for a new kind of game interaction. Technologies that make controlling mobile games easier may gain popularity since that seems to be a problem currently. Location technologies Location-technologies are becoming more common and accessible in mobile phones. Location-based games were already discussed earlier in this report. Examples of such technologies in mobile phones or

15 Chapter 3 Technology Communication between the applications However, the game design nicely involves this and uses the field radio as a metaphor for sending the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) enables flexible messages in order not to break the immersion. game interaction functionality (see e.g. [50]). SIP protocol can be used for handling online game ses- Graphics performance sions, presence, and messaging in text or even data stream. Every player can be identified with a unique The graphics power of the mobile phones has inSIP address. The players can, for instance, invite creased a lot ­ the high-end mobile phones like Noother players who are not logged in the game to play kia N93 already have hardware accelerated graphics with them. Using SIP may become more common in and are capable of showing equivalent graphics as the future since it seems to solve some of the prob- the PlayStation2 gaming console. This will make lems that are related with online gaming and it is al- developing 3D games for mobile more feasible, ready commonly supported in the mobile networks. however, the usability issues for playing 3D games with small displays must be taken into account. VoIP while playing Many mobile game developers and publishers seem to favor 3D games, which showed also in our interSome of the online mobile games are likely to use views. For instance, Gameloft has announced that voice chat simultaneously with gameplay already in the company's goal is to eventually launch all of its year 2010. This is due to the small size keypad that game titles in 3D [2]. needs currently not only to be used for communication but also for controlling the game. Voice com- The developers gain access to the new graphics feamunication with mobile is very natural, and as soon tures through the use of standardized graphics proas this is technically (and commercially) feasible, gramming APIs. An industry collaboration known some of the online mobile games will utilize it. as the Khronos Group has been very successful in specifying high quality APIs with wide acceptToday we can already see some signs about going ance. Examples of these include the OpenVG API to that direction, even if voice communication while for hardware accelerated 2D vector graphics and the playing online mobile game is difficult to implement OpenGL ES for 3D graphics. All major manufacat the moment. In Pathway to Glory [46] mobile turers have either already implemented or are plangame, the players can communicate with each other ning to implement these APIs in their handsets. Anwith recorded short voice messages. The quality of other example of a Khronos group's standard is the the voice messages sent over GPRS cannot compete OpenKODE initiative for native gaming [33]. with the quality of making voice calls. On the Java side, the Java Community Process (JCP) has been equally active, with examples like the JSR-118/MIDP 2.0 for 2D graphics, JSR-184/ M3G for 3D graphics, JSR-239 offering Java bindings for OpenGL ES, and the upcoming JSR-297/ M3G 2.0 which adds support for advanced features, such as programmable shading. All of these standards will have an impact on the mobile games that will be developed in the near future. Software platforms The software platforms for developing mobile games that exist today will be still strong in year 2010. The most popular one currently is Java. Brew is also popular, particularly in the Northern America. Some developers choose to use Symbian for creating a richer gaming experience. In the native side, Windows Mobile is an upcoming competitor, but not that many games for Windows Mobile exist yet. A very promising new software platform for mobile game development is Flash Lite. When Flash Lite becomes more common we will see a lot of porting of old simple web games. In the research, Python has been quite popular. A good Python compiler exists for the S60 Nokia phones and it is used in many research projects.

16 Chapter 3 Technology Convergence Convergence of the mobile phone technologies is a strong trend. A good example of convergence is the mobile phone and camera. The high-end mobile phones are becoming more and more like mini computers that can handle various tasks. When more mobile phones enable easy web browinsg, playing browser-based games with a mobile phone will become common. In some cases, the development of accessories and peripherals for the mobile phones may also increase divergence. Peripherals Development of peripherals can be an opportunity for the mobile phone to provide opportunities for a richer audio-visual game experience and better interaction. The other way to go is developing ways to connect mobile phones to already available other devices. A good example of this is TV-out connection that already exists in some mobile phones (for instance, in Nokia's N93 phone). These kinds of connections also enable the users to use generic peripherals for the mobile phone, e.g. data glasses that support external signal input. It should be also noted, however, that the content often needs to be designed to support the new output and input formats. The success of peripherals for the mobile phone, particularly dedicated ones, is not certain. One very important thing that separates the mobile phone from other portable gaming devices the mobile phone is always with the user, even when the he or she would not be planning to play games. It is not certain if the them in addition to a mobile phone. Then on the other hand, if the mobile phone ends up to be the player's only gaming device, then getting sometimes an enhanced gaming experience is desirable. In the following, we have listed a few development paths that could make mobile game peripherals successful already in year 2010: The peripherals are multi-purpose devices Some of the users play games only with their mobile Content that support the use of peripherals exists The usability, coolness-factor, and pricing of peripherals are acceptable The combination of connected gaming and increasing popularity will create a need for enhanced security both in a technical sense and when considering cheating and other typical problems in online games. Another issue that will make security even more important is gambling or trading game items for real money [13]. Such games have not yet been seen in the mobile phones, but this may change in the near future. Steven Davis' paper on mobile game security in our collection of invited articles describes these issues in detail [12]. Protection of the content will become more important as its value gets bigger.

Security The security issues have not had a very big role so far in mobile gaming. The sellers have been naturally interested that when a user buys a game he cannot copy it to other devices. On the other hand, this is a problem for those who change mobile phones and would like to play a mobile game with their new device. However, this problem has not necessarily seen as a big one since a new phone model would need typically a new game version anyway. Also, many of the story-oriented current mobile games do not include that much content and are quickly played trough. However, as quality of mobile games increases and the gaming experiences become more connected, the security issues become more and more important.


Chapter 4: Business

customer, and the best billing mechanism that exists for mobile games.

We got indications in our interviews that the times will be hard for small mobile game developers in the near future. The solution for this is to team up with a bigger publisher or aggregator. The operators are typically not interested in discussing with the small Value Nets players since they have established relationships Our group of interviewees was quite biased in the with the bigger ones already. When the interoperdeveloper side with only a few operator respond- ability increases, the times will become easier for ents. On basis of the interviews it was very clear that the smaller developers publishers again, but this will the game developers in general think that the opera- probably happen after 2010. tors are currently taking too big role in the value net and are actively looking for ways to go around them. The companies who understand the mobile platform There was some confirmation for this in the operator as a unique media will probably have an advantage side as well. However, the operators continue to be over to those who attempt to publish material that is typical provider to offer a starting point for finding familiar from other platforms in the mobile. A good the games and often take care of billing the custom- comparison made by one of our interviewees was that the traditional publishers of TV content are typers. ically not as successful in the Internet as new playIn our interviews, the mobile game publishers pre- ers like Google or Yahoo. dicted that their role will be stronger in the value net. We got some indication about that from the operator Revenue Models side as well. In the near future, there will be operator channels that the publishers can control rather The existing revenue model for mobile games is very independently. Some publishers will have their own, much based on the players paying for a single game. operator independent, portals for selling games. The The subscription-based model is gaining popularity publishers who collaborate with the operators can also in Europe and has been a strong model in Asia take the responsibility of transferring the game to the already for years. The other revenue models that will player directly and then just let the operator know become more common include promotional games, for what the customer needs to be billed. The op- game renting, paying for content, and gifting. Exerators will not vanish anywhere from the value net amples of promotional mobile games exist already within the next few years since they have a strong (e.g. TibiaME [52] launched by T-Mobile). Flash Lite will probably increase the amount of mobile role currently, a trust relationship with the

advergames. The alternate- or mixed-reality games also often tend to use a promotional revenue models. The mobile game players will be more often able to try out the games before buying them. A study [53] commissioned by Nokia revealed that "Try before you buy" is very important for the mobile game player. One comment in our interviews was, though, that "try before you buy" may be problematic if the games are very short anyway. In-game advertisements will provide a revenue stream for some games. This is something that is already emerging in the non-mobile space. A good example of a game where the in-game advertisements play a big role is Funcom's Anarchy Online [3]. Advertising more in games makes sense particularly when considering that young people tend to use as much or even more time playing games than watching TV. Paying for content may become more common in mobile games. For instance, episodic content fits quite nicely for the mobile platform where the play sessions are supposed to be shorter than with a PC or console. Virtual asset trade and real money transactions in games have been an emerging trend in the PC gaming recently. This will also probably have some effect in the mobile gaming, one of our invited papers discusses these issues [13].

18 Chapter 4 Business Distribution Even if a user would be interested in playing a mobile game, it may be difficult to find where to buy the game or the user is not even aware of the games that he or she might be interested in playing. This is one of the biggest problems at the moment in distribution. The situation may become even more confusing for the users when there will be more portals that are selling mobile games. At the same time, the increased advertising and reviews around mobile games will probably help the users to find the good portals for buying the games that they want to play. Most of the mobile games today are distributed over the air (OTA) and this will not change by the year 2010. OTA seems to be a more successful model than selling games in retail for mobile. A study [19] shows that mobile game players are currently interested in downloading games over the Internet (OTI) as well (the popularity of OTI was 35% and OTA 45%). However, this may reflect the high pricing for data transfer currently. When the prices for data transfer go down and the reliability and speed up, the popularity of OTA will increase. Currently OTI usually means downloading games to a PC and transferring them to a mobile phone, however, OTA and OTI will also converge when the mobile phones can be also used as Internet browsers that use Wi-Fi for data transfer (and the more advanced ones already can). Also, the traditional console and PC games business is moving towards OTI. An article in Gamasutra shows that in future games may be distributed more often in the Internet [21]. The issue of who will provide the distribution channels was discussed already earlier. Billing One barrier for new revenue models is the billing models that the operators are providing. According to our interviews, the operators will provide more billing models in the near future. For instance, the users can form groups and the billing can be done for the group instead of an individual. The more flexible billing models will also enable models where the players pay for virtual assets or even trade them with each other. One of our invited articles considers real money transactions (RMT) in games [13]. Billing for the content may happen in a different place where getting the content does. For instance, the mobile game could be bought with a console game in a box but then the content downloaded over the air with, for instance, an access code. Cost for instance, how the mobile TV operates currently in Finland. Marketing and brands Advertising in the print media becomes more common. The new phenomena will be easier to get into the knowledge of the audience faster. A good example of this is Jamba's Crazy Frog. Some of the bigger mobile game developers are building their own, mobile-originated game brands. Brand building can also get easier when the game publishers will have their own distribution channels. According to our interviews, the operators are not always that interested in new brands since they like to play safe. This seems to depend on the operator since not all of them are interested in branded games. While the bigger players from the console and PC games field are entering the business, we will see more familiar brands from there to emerge in the mobile space. Some of the interviewees who were acquiring content said that they are not particularly interested in big licenses. One trend that also emerged in the interviews was that the social networks are used for marketing games.

The cost for developing mobile games will grow while the quality requirements(12) for mobile games increase. We got some indication in our interviews that the cost versus revenue rate is not well-balanced. The players will have more awareness of the mobile The development cost of mobile games is going up game publishers and if they are usually publishing but the revenues are not increasing as quickly. good games or not. Some players will choose the games that they buy based on the publisher. The cost for data-transfer has been a big barrier for mobile online gaming. In the future, many operators will offer flat data transfer fees. Sometimes, the data transfer fees can be included in the service. This is, (12) This refers to the users expecting better graphics etc.

19 Recommendations by friends and trials sent by friends seem to be currently very important for the mobile game players [19]. It is very likely that these kinds of features will be used more frequently in selling the future mobile games camera, will also encourage developing games with new interaction styles and possibly even new mobile game genres. When considering the software platforms for mobile game development, the existing ones will be strong (Java, Brew, and Symbian in Europe), and Flash Lite will gain popularity. The users will have more possibilities for connected gaming as the mobile phones will offer possibilities for using various technologies for data transfer (3G and the next generation, Wi-Fi, etc). The distribution of mobile games is currently a huge problem. This will change at least somewhat by 2010. Utilizing viral distribution and "try before you buy" will be successful. There will be more portals for buying games, provided by the operators, big games publishers, and platform manufacturers. The portals will have better usability and provide more information about the games for the players. The players will have also more knowledge about the portals, games, and mobile game publishers. Some of the players will trust certain publishers to create good-quality mobile games. The publisher's role in the value net becomes stronger, however, the operators will also still be strong in the value net. The roles in the value net get clearer and publishers may take over some of the tasks that have belonged to the operator, such as transferring the game files directly to the player. Some of the publishers will have their own distribution channels and some will work together with operators taking more independently care of their own "channels" inside the operators' portals. Times will be hard for the smaller publishers or developers who don't have their own portals or relationships with the operators or bigger publishers.

Chapter 5: Conclusions

We are not expecting the mobile gaming to change radically from today to year 2010. The mobile games will have a lot more publicity and the players will be more aware of mobile games. An increasing number of people who consider themselves as gamers will be playing mobile games, sometimes this will be a cross-platform experience where the player can access the same game from various platforms including mobile. "Snack" or casual games will be still very important part of the business. Currently these kinds of games generate most of the revenue in mobile games industry. The partition of games that are geared towards more hard-core gaming experiences will grow but not radically. Online gaming will be more popular when the technological and commercial barriers get smaller. The technological advancements in the mobile phone, such as hardware accelerated 3D graphics, will drive the increasing quality of the mobile games. Some technologies that will become more common in mobile games, such as the mobile phone

20 Acknowledgements The following people were invaluable in the many forms of contributions to this report. They helped with participating interviews, commenting and reviewing the reports, and writing articles. The contributors and the company where they were employed at the time of the contribution are listed below in alphabeitical order

Juha Arrasvuori

Nokia Research Center, Finland Tomi Aarnio Nokia Research Center, Finland Raimo Backstrom Nokia Networks, Finland John Paul Bichard Idea Milk, Sweden Greg Costikyan Manifesto Games, USA Steven Davis GlobalSecure Inc, USA Frank Fitzek Aalborg University, Denmark Anton Gauffin Gamelion, Finland Tim Greenhalgh Galaxylife, UK Tim Harrison Vodafone, UK Mikko-Pekka Hanski Idean Resarch, Finland Fernando Herrera Rovio, Finland

Jussi Holopainen Nokia Resarch Center, Finland Teemu Jalava Nokia Research Center, Finland Aki Järvinen Veikkaus (the Finnish National Lottery Company), Finland Sonja Kangas VTT (The Technical Research Center of Finland), Finland Sampo Karjalainen Sulake, Finland Praveen Karoshi Nokia Technology Platforms, India Jani Karlsson Nokia Multimedia, Finland Jaakko Kievari Nokia Multimedia, Finland Vesa-Pekka Kirsi Nokia Multimedia, Finland Jani Kärhämä Fathammer, Finland Panu Mustonen Satama Interactive, Finland Ning Yang Nibble Nokia Research Center, China Mark Ollila Telcogames, UK(13) Seth Pfeiffer Nokia Networks, USA Markus Ramark Nokia Multimedia, Finland Adolfo Rosas Telefonica, Spain

Juha Ruskola Mr Goodliving, Finland Mattias Svahn Swedish Inistitute of Information Science, Sweden Tom Söderlund Blaze, Sweden Mika Tammenkoski Digital Chocolate, Finland Jyrki Usva Sonera, Finland Lincoln Wallen EA Mobile Games, UK Vicky Wu Froghop, USA Serguei Zhitinski Mobos, Russia

If you have contributed but your name was not in the list, please contact [email protected]

(13) Since

Novermber 2006 Nokia Multimedia in Finland


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[20] [21]

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[37] [38] [39]

[40] [41] [42] [43] [44]


[11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

[45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54]



Appendix for the Mobile Games 2010 report, the invited articles Introduction

This Appendix consists of the invited articles for the Mobile Games 2010 report. The articles look at future mobile games from various points of view, ranging from the early history to design and technical aspects. The articles are each authors' opinions on their topics and do not reflect Nokia's road mapping or future product releases in any way. Some of the articles may even contradict each other or the Mobile Games 2010 report; however, since predicting the future is a difficult task, we wanted to show different points of view for the readers. In the first article of this Appendix, Panu Mustonen describes how mobile gaming has evolved from past and predicts what will change in the future. The second article is written by Sonja Kangas, and she looks at the trends in the digital media and how mobile gaming will be like in the future. Kangas also looks at the future technologies in the hybrid media. In the third article, Jean Paul Bichard defines how portable and mobile games are different and looks at what is required to create true mobile games. The fourth and fifth articles are written by Steven Davis. In his first article, he discusses the real money transaction phenomena and the second one concerns the security issues in online games. In the sixth article, written by Tom Söderlund ,concerns proximity gaming. The article is written from the design point of view but also lists technologies that can be used and gives an example of the design, implementation, and testing of a proximity game prototype. The seventh article by Vicky Wu discusses transmedial access, what kinds of strategies can be used in implementing games with transmedial access, and how transmedial access can benefit game developers. (Please note that in the Mobile Games 2010 report the terms "cross-platform access" and "crossplatform games" are used instead of this less commonly used term.) The last article by Frank Fitzek describes a potential architecture for future mobile multi-player games.

Panu Mustonen Satama - Finland

Mobile Games and Data Traffic Creation From History Greed to Future Need

WAP When mobile gaming started to come to the wish list of handset manufacturers and operators the only possibility was through WAPbased games (excluding mini-scale business around Communicators, Palms and of course the legendary Snake-game). Starting 1999 there was quite buzz around mobile games and companies getting ready to do those mysterious games. There were no WAPphones and the only devices having a WMLbrowser were some PDAs from PSION. This and the lack of proven business models did not prevent venture capitalists investing in new mobile game companies (this was how companies like Springtoys and Riot-E were founded in Finland). At the same time a lot of companies were founded or grown around "mobile internet" ­ so it was not just games. The common denominator behind all these companies and their products was to create data traffic on the new WAP-enabled handsets. In the calculations of those days there were two main sources for greed. The first source was that the WAP-games and content had to use circuit switched data over GSM. The data call rates for the early users were very high, and it was assumed that GSM operators would be willing to share the data traffic income with game companies. The other source was the estimates of data-usage growth as well as the estimated roadmap for new networks and new phones capable of color and real-time gaming.

When designing early WAP-games, the data traffic creation was almost automatic. The networks and phones were slow, so what ever game you designed, it consumed a lot of time (and thus circuit switched data time because always connected). Optimization of data traffic was also thought to be nonsense because the real customers in 2000 were seen to be mobile operators. However, the revenue models based on data revenue share were not in existence ­ the operators were not ready to give away revenue that they thought was the backbone of their business. Earmarking income from certain games was very difficult ­ and looking back to those times, it was also quite disturbing for the operators to give away data traffic figures which saying the least were not always very convincing (or at least they were not in the scope of "hockey stick" figures of all the future estimations). In any case, the WAP-games were bought and licensed to their services because they are always an easy way to show the end-customers what new technology can mean to them. The mobile game companies kept on doing mobile games because there were not many alternatives and of course everybody hoped that some day operators would open up their data revenues. J2ME ENTERING TO THE STAGE In no way were the WAP-games a mistake for the companies or for the mobile games industry. Even though the full monetary potential of them was not achieved, they taught the game companies to make server-based games from the beginning as well as thinking about optimizing time need of the game ­ either towards the operators needs or then to the actual game experience. When J2ME started to raise its head in 2000 it was again time to think what kind of revenue models were needed in


these games. It was understood that the games needed to be very small (40k) to get through the WAP-gateways, and also very simple. The success of ring tones had proven the business of Premium SMS (PSMS) and value-added services, so that was definitely on the other side of income calculations. In the year 2000, operators normally still had their own teams for buying and even contracting games and this fact transferred the data traffic dilemma into the downloadable games. What kind of J2ME games would bring operator data-traffic and thus get the upper hand when fighting on the position on operators' game portfolio and a good visibility on their marketing? At this point, communities were one of the solutions brought in. Even high-score-list sending was thought to be a community function. Other possibilities were new level and equipment downloads (and thus bringing extra revenue source from micro payments) and the mother lode of mobile gaming ­ Multi-player games. At the same time with the downloadable games entering to the mobile entertainment markets, the networks also changed to packed switched data with GPRS which of course brought new operator business models to the field. Now it was not anymore about how long people played, but how to keep them to transfer data in the mobile networks. The sad thing from the games perspective was that even though now the networks were packet based, the data transfer was not real-time, far from it. Latency was a big problem and real-time multi-player games had to wait for 3G. Simple round-based games were brought in 2001 and 2002 to anticipate to the need of multi-player games as well as many multiplayer-platform development companies were founded. The price of game development went up especially when it was compared to the slow intake of J2ME capable handsets in the markets. From the end of 2001 there was also a very important change in the operators' attitude towards mobile entertainment and games. The operators started to run down their own content teams and started to use content aggregators. This changed the rules of the data-traffic game at the same time. The operators understood that their business was in enabling PSMS or WAPbased micro payments (game downloads). Now the game developers were out of the data-traffic revenue game ­ this time for good. From player exploitation to player satisfaction Connected Games in 2010 Now in 2006 we are in the situation of 3G networks being launched around the world and with those networks (and of course with totally new handset generations), the mobile game industry is entering to the actual mobile Internet era. Streaming content has bypassed the games as mobile contents weapon of choice for data-traffic generation, so the mobile game industry does not have to think about revenues (or more importantly operators' revenues) from data. What is the situation of connected mobile games right now? Not very good I think ­ there are just too little good multi-player games in the mobile field and community functions tends to still be just sending high-score lists. Now it would be perfect time to start to think data-traffic with mobile games; not because it is possible money creator but more because it gives more possibilities for mobile games to fight in today's games environment. In the "normal" gaming world connectivity has brought a whole new genres and it has also raised certain game titles to huge success. MMOGs and networked multiplayer games like Counter-Strike have created a generation of gamers who think that networked multi-player gaming is part of normal game experience. At the same time Xbox Live, N-Gage Arena, numerous Counter-Strike servers and similar services have highlighted the importance of community in gaming. The mobile phone is all about communication and as such also about communities ­ this is also something that mobile game developers have been saying for ages. On the other hand, the console game publishers have been dreaming about combining mobile and console gaming by some other way than just by selling title licenses (many times creating games that are quite horrible compared to the original "big screen" title). When combining these different factors, in 2010 we should see at least 5 kinds of connected mobile games: 1. Those with a logical connectivity to the console- or pc-games. This is not just in the technology level but also in the game design and game experience level. Mobile games of this type will not be just smaller screen versions but they will bring in extra elements to the game as whole. For example you can practice some difficult move in an extreme sports game in you mobile and when you are skilled at it enough the mobile sends that data to the server or to the console directly so players character has also up-graded skills in console version. 2. Game communities through mobile phones. Mobile IM, IVR and other normal mobile communications technologies will be used by people to contact each other by just knowing for example each others avatar names from the game. 3. Mobile phones as remote controls to the massive multiplayer games. 4. Network connected games that take into account for example players position in physical world. 5. Connected snack games. For example racing over Bluetooth or 4G networks. Will this mean that the role of the operator is more to be data-pipeline because the big publishers will always charm the gamers with their favorite game titles? No, because on the other hand, the operators know communication and how their customers like to communicate. Bringing in that expertise to the mobile game business will bring them to be "player" again in the game.


Sonja Kangas VTT- Finland

Consumers are spending more time with digital media than ever before. In 2005, the use of television increased and online use continued to rival television as the most-used medium. Video games, containing everything from mobile and wireless to networked console and pc games, have established their role as a merchandising category with cross licensing between movies and video games providing a major source of revenue for movie studios and others. The first defining factor of the current digital media is that the consumption of digital content is channeled through given devices: from iPods to mobile phones and PCs according to the appropriateness of users' needs. Currently, the digital device with its brand and image is a part of the total experience, as Nintendo, Sony and Apple have shown. This also has effects on content. For example Nintendo games can only be played on Nintendo devices and in the spirit of Buzz and EyeToy party games, Sony is integrating more beneficial content, e.g. advertisements, information and music, into video games. This development will have an effect on the entertainment market as well as total gaming experiences in the future. The other defining factor is demographic data (age, location and gender). The assumption that gender would play a central role in the markets for video games has struck a strong chord with game developers. Before the evolution of more social or physical video game types, the generalization of the Internet has partly changed the situation with various online games and chatting communities, and faded out the differences between girls and

boys when looking at the frequency and diversity of use. As a result of social media trend consumers are becoming multi-taskers utilizing several mobile and online channels simultaneously and communication acrobats with their variety of communications devices. Three interesting aspects about current consumer behavior are: 1) leaving traces, 2) media acrobatics' multi-tasking culture and 3) pleasure orientation. It is increasingly relevant to leave its own mark (tags, comments, modifications, patches) to the networked media communities and interlinking with mobile with online communities. Multitasking refers to a way of using several channels, devices and services simultaneously to link with other products and related themes. Media acrobatics refers to the fast reception ability of new technologies, devices and services, as well as an open-minded experimentation mentality and misuse (also known as "creative hackerism"). As a general effect of these, one can say that media use is in transition points. The change affects mobile games and the expansion and creation of new active consumer groups. By the year 2010, mobile media will have developed into an integral part of a total gaming experience. The experience environment will no longer be device-specific but will cross different devices as well as social and physical contexts of use changing the experience into a continuum "everywhere ­ all the time ­ by any device". This development will boost the development of more fragmented games where users can take the game with them on a mobile phone and continue playing on any screen (public screen, at an Internet café, on a cruise ship or in a shopping mall), as well as having a clear role in supplementing and modifying the game content. Toolboxes will be widely available to users.

Mobile devices will have become the controlling device for the total experience as well as acting as a payment channel. Mobile users will use their wallet, wearable or jewel kind of mobile terminals when gliding from one network to another without even acknowledging it. Mobile users will get both selected and edited television and online content on their mobile devices when requested, according to their context and social profiles. The issues taking a strong foothold in the development of novel types of mobile games are: 1) agile methods in project and technology development, 2) utilizing context information in mobile solutions, 3) brand development through co-modification possibilities provided for various fan communities, toolboxes and modification tools, 4) tagging and marker technologies created by both professionals and enthusiasts that enable the social intelligence of the environment. Adaptability and modularity will be key issues when shaping future game experiences. The device, the user, the context of use and the content are mobile. This enables more and more possibilities for users to act as co-creators of content. Web2.0 trends with mash-up from the Internet will quickly become common in the mobile world at the same time when cross media solutions evolve and different media are not considered as separate contexts of use but as one complex entity of different devices and channels. Hybrid media (combining printed with digital media) will be key solutions for flexible marketing of ad hoc and long-lasting games through different channels and various user groups. .


Technology roadmap: Critical paths for networks.


John Paul Bichard ­ IdeaMilk Sweden February 2006

Going Out to Play... The future of gaming in the fluid mobile environment

What will the mobile games be like in 2010? In looking to the near future of mobile gaming, two thoughts spring to mind: firstly that a `game ready' lightweight personal mobile space has already evolved, seemingly unnoticed; secondly, that the term `mobile game' should be re-considered. The term has become generic, referring to any game that can be played on a mobile device, but mobile games could be divided into two categories: the Portable Games and the Mobile Games: Portable Games refer to screen-centric games that are playable on mobile devices but which have not been designed to utilise or engage the characteristics of digital devices in a mobile environment. The portable games typically demand a high degree of player attention. They include: ported arcade, quiz and puzzle games, lightweight or `mobile' versions of game licences and lo-fi extensions to existing console or PC-based games. Whilst the portable games are successful from a commercial point of view they do not typically engage the properties particular to casual and periodic mobile device usage. Mobile Games, as distinct from Portable Games, refer to games that are designed to take into account the player's fluid mobile environment.

These games are designed to coexist with the functions and environments that the player encounters in their everyday life: entertainment channels such as video and music, and functional technologies such as way finding and communication channels. In this environment, the mobile games will take into account shifting attention and player focus, the intimate qualities of the mobile space as well as social aspects of mobile device usage in public spaces. Games that fit into this category include: pervasive, location-based, augmented-reality, generative and adaptive games that take into account the players physical, emotional and psychological presence in a mobile place. At the time of writing there are arguably no games that effectively engage this personal mobile space. A New Type of Mobile Environment Within their everyday environment, the mobile user is able to move fluidly between several connected but different augmented places: consider a typical mobile user, walking or on a bus, listening to mp3's on their phone, immersed in a sensory soundscape. A phone call comes in, the person holds a conversation, still aware of their surroundings but co-existing in a conversational place. The call ends and the music space continues. At most, there is a click of one button on the user's lightweight headset chord during the whole switch from music space to conversational space and back again. There is no sign of a mobile `brick', no visual interface, no complex GUI (Graphical User Interface), no demanding tactile interaction, no graphical window into another world. The interaction is shallow, the engagement deep, and the hardware awareness practically non-existent.

Now consider someone sitting on the bus playing a portable game: hands gripping the device, thumbs flicking around, eyes focused on the screen, the user connected directly to a constantly changing, compelling visual window. The engagement is high, the interaction high, focus high and awareness of surroundings low. The difference between the two is significant. Mobile games can benefit from the transparency typified by audio/phone use compared to the demands of portable game play. The ease of use, the lightness that allows multi-tasking whilst delivering an engaging experience is typified by this switch from music enhanced everyday life to conversation and back again. Should mobile games of the future drop the visuals in favour of the audio-only interaction? Of course not, but dialogue- or audiobased games that seamlessly drop in and out of the players mobile life offer an elegant alternative approach. As phones become increasingly loaded with functionality, embedded devices and services, the most effective and fundamental functions of the phone are still the circuitry and interfaces that enable conversation. This is overlooked in portable game design. The mobile phone is, by default, very efficient at enabling conversation, at storing and processing sound files and streaming data. Audio-centric mobile games would appear to be an effective model which is yet to be fully explored. Over the next 5 years, remote-server-based systems that generate and stream location aware content, respond to shallow and erratic player interaction and allow verbal or audio communication to merge with other everyday activities, will be realised. Such games will blend seamlessly with the players other tasks and functions: opening up their perceived personal boundaries and adding new depths.

and immersive experiences to their mobile life. What about visuals? There are distinct issues with screen-centric devices in the personal mobile context. Engaging or deep visual and tactile interaction as typified by portable game devices (PSP, Gameboy) demands single-focus activity in an environment that requires multiple levels of awareness. Try finishing a racing game on a PSP whilst crossing a busy road - good luck! Visual interaction can only be effective in the fluid mobile environment once graphic content and GUIs can be seamlessly overlaid on the user's visual field, either via heads up displays or through more invasive biological methods. This form of augmentation can be seen as a complimentary or additive visual enhancement rather than a distracting or exclusive visual engagement. Whether effective technologies can be developed to enable this over the next 5 years remains uncertain. Video projection glasses are becoming less cumbersome, the jury is still out as to whether consumers will want to use direct retinal projection devices and there will be ethical concerns over biological solutions such as implanted feeds that interrupt or augment the flow of information to the visual cortex directly. These functions will require refined models for visually enhancing their environment, situating gameplay in the everyday and building forms of interaction that allow users to fade visual assets in and out of their surrounding experience at will. .


The Future... Tomorrow! How are these games to be developed? How is the fluid mobile environment to be fully utilised? Current research and art initiatives into pervasive and mobile gaming are establishing a strong lead. The current EU-funded IPerG pervasive game project is taking the lead in exploring both augmented reality and mobile gaming spaces with results expected over the next two years. Other initiatives, such as the cross-disciplinary Backseat Playground project at the Interactive Institute in Sweden, look to lightweight but immersive interaction through an audio centric model, linking game events to everyday objects. However, in order to fully realise the potential of this sector, relevant design, development and distribution models need to be established. Just as budget airlines have established their own niche in the airline sector, independent films in the film industry and graphic novels in the publishing industry, so mobile games need their own discrete sector. A new sector will require strong commercial and organisational models and an overhaul of game development practices and creative processes. These changes include but are not limited to: new types of mobile games and their associated design and development, heterogeneous creative teams, new models of distribution, realistic end-user cost models and mobile-sensitive forms of interaction. In order to co-exist with the portable and traditional digital game sectors, the mobile game industry needs to (re-)invent itself: drawing on the best aspects of existing game development, design and research whilst establishing new, purposed and distinct practices of its own. Only then, will we see games that can truly be termed `Mobile Games'.

Steven B. Davis, CEO, IT GlobalSecure Inc.

Virtual Worlds, Real Money

One of the most controversial and interesting phenomena in online gaming is the rise of Real Money Transaction (RMT). RMT sit at the intersection of the real world and online games. Game players use real money to acquire virtual game assets ­ often in defiance of a game's Terms of Service. Game players handle these transactions through informal peer-to-peer exchanges, traditional open auctions and classified ad services, or through dedicated game auction & currency exchange services. Game players want these assets because they make the game more fun for them: rare & powerful items or highly advanced characters or even large amounts of game currency. Basically, these players want these items because they do not have the time or the skill or the patience to acquire these assets through traditional game play. There is a common quotation about playing World of Warcraft "begins at level 60" that reflects this situation. There is a legitimate argument that RMT's popularity is more a reflection of poor game design than an indication of the criminality of players. Some game companies and members of the industry have argued rather vehemently that RMT is an abomination that ruins games. To date, RMT has not been shown to be the cause of loss of players or destruction of a game's economy. Game companies do have

an underlying concern related to the recognition of real value for virtual assets. They may be concerned about security and reliability issues related to these virtual assets. After all, if the assets have a real, financial value and there is a loss (due to a natural incident like a fire or a hacker), the game operator may be held accountable. This could force additional costs on the game developer to ensure that the game is more secure and reliable than the developer had planned. Stopping hacking and cheating would be more important to ensure that the integrity of the game and player's assets within it. The concern about liability for the integrity of a game's data may be the single largest factor driving game companies fight against legitimization of RMT. This argument is on shaky ground as recent cases in China have accepted the "real money value" of virtual assets ("More attention paid to virtual property protection", Xinhua, 6 April, 2006) If virtual assets in games have real value, there may also be tax implications (for gains on sales). Also, criminals could use game assets and asset transfers to launder money. Finally, game developers need to be very careful to ensure that they are not construed as operating a casino. Gambling consists of three elements: something that is put at risk (the wager or bet), an element of risk (since these game's typically include a random element in the appearance of different treasures, combat, and encounters), and something that can be won (where denying the value of virtual assets becomes clear). Game operators have tried to avoid these risks by declaring the worthlessness of virtual assets and claiming full ownership for them in their terms of service. The problem for these game developers and their supporters is that players

do value their virtual assets. So much so that they steal them from each other and will pay real money to short cut the game by buying virtual assets or characters. These games typically do give players a direct mechanism to exchange goods via simply giving them to each other or trading them in-game with other players or with game operated stores. Game developers also encourage the in-game economy by having skills in-game for crafting (making virtual items), operating a virtual economy with virtual currency, rewarding players for the completion of missions or quests with virtual cash or assets, and by imposing scarcity on different goods. Money is a good motivator in games as well as in the real world. The very same factors that the games use to reward long-term play (rare items and powerful characters) also create the incentive to pay to take short cuts. Players may not have the time or inclination to work as hard as the game developers would like them to in order to achieve these exotic items and senior skills. Thus, RMT arises. Players trade in goods and currency through external markets including auctions, like eBay, and dedicated services, like IGE. Players also sell characters that they have developed. While this began as an amateur effort by players, it has turned into a business. It started with anecdotes about college students quitting school to make a living by playing Everquest and has grown into organized companies "gold farming" ­ playing a game professionally to earn an income ­ and "outsourced play" where players hire other players, mostly in third world countries, to play their characters for them while they sleep to accelerate their seniority in the game.


RMT and the "grey market" in game assets may have spawned major, and potentially organized criminal activity. In Korea, over 1 million National ID numbers were compromised and more than 170,000 of these IDs were used to set up fake accounts for NCSoft's Lineage game as intermediary accounts for gold farmers ("China Lock out 170,000 Lineage Accounts", Korea IT News, 14 March 2006). NCSoft is considering using mobile phones as part of an improved authentication scheme to protect against fraud. In Asia, most players play their online games at Internet cafés. From a security perspective, these public terminals are an invitation to attackers. By moving player authentication to an individual's mobile phone, and perhaps using identification, authentication, and payment services through the handset, game operators will be able to battle these forms of identity fraud (It is worth noting that while Korea is moving away from the use of its National ID numbers for online transactions, China has taken the opposite view to ensure parental protection and fight game addiction.) Moving the games themselves to mobile phones may also be appealing. Casual games are the most rapidly growing segment of the market and, given identification and payment concerns, mobile platforms may be increasingly appealing to developers and operations. Going Forward In the US and Europe, online gaming business models are dominated by subscription-based gaming. In Asia a free-to-play, pay-for-virtual assets models is growing rapidly in popularity. Interestingly, this Asian model doesn't have the same issue with RMT because the game itself is based on actual sales of items by the game operator. Since there is no supply limit and the assets are available at a fixed price to anyone, the secondary RMT market disappears. While the RMT black market continues for most online games, several have embraced this market. Sony has set up a RMT server for Everquest 2 and several smaller games have fairly open policies towards these exchanges. Through these services, players can exchange in-game assets and characters for cash. The total market value of this secondary market is currently estimated to be $800 Million Dollars (US) annually. The fact that the secondary market in online games may be as much as 20% of the size of the total online gaming market raises an interesting question ­ what is the real potential for these virtual businesses and how should game developers exploit them? By legitimizing the interchange between game assets and the real economy, they can tap an additional revenue stream. By taking a modest commission, the game company could directly grow their revenues ­ and they are in the best position to provide the integrity and security needed to foster these efforts. Also, by consciously incorporating support for player businesses, games may increase their popularity and open up new forms of game play. Today, "gold farmers" are considered a nuisance at best, and disruptive to a game, at worst. Game designers can make it more profitable for commercially minded players to carry out activities that increase other player's satisfaction with the game or reduce the cost to operate the game developer's entertainment service. No one questions paying someone to wear a Mickey Mouse costume at Disneyland or waiters at a restaurant or even Game Masters helping smooth game play. The concern over RMT does not reflect a substantial problem for the online games industry. It mainly is a sign of the industry's immaturity. This cultural disagreement can be addressed through game mechanisms that eliminate the value of RMT or embracing RMT as another layer of interactive entertainment. Virtual worlds provide entertainment through a combination of virtual products and services. The cost of building, maintaining, and operating these systems is growing rapidly, just as the costs of computer games are growing. Online game developers have the opportunity to explore new strategies to work with their customers to expand this entertainment medium in ways that are only beginning to be understood.

Steven B. Davis, CEO, IT GlobalSecure Inc.

Security Issues in Online Game Design

While the growth of online gaming on PCs, consoles, and handsets is widely seen to be the future of the industry, if not its savior, there is a rapidly growing dark-side of piracy, cheating, and griefing. While there are security tools that can help, and in many cases, help a lot, part of the issue is the basic environment ­ these are games played on networks facilitated by computers. This may seem obvious, but it is a given circumstance that is ignored surprisingly often by game developers. The problem is seen clearly when problems arise ­ trivia games are inherently vulnerable to being cataloged; twitch-based games, to macros and automation; skill-based games, to strategy assistants; and poker and other multi-player competitive games, to collusion. Several categories of traditional games never made it to computers ­ basic word & spelling games and math puzzles fell by the wayside due to their obvious vulnerabilities ­ they simply were not suitable for the medium except in limited "solitaire" style games. Now that computer gaming has moved online, several styles of play that were successful in single-player and face-to-face computer gaming, are probably impractical for serious, commercial game projects. This is not due to a "fun" factor, but rather the nature of most online play. Players are widely distributed around the world, relatively anonymous, and


have access to powerful computing tools and control over the gaming platform. Game businesses are also changing. They are no longer making money by simply selling and distributing games, but rather by offering game services by subscription; promoting products with community, contests, and promotions; and even by gambling. Mobile gaming is particularly vulnerable ­ the phones are growing in power quickly, but security of the wide range of platforms is problematic. Even 3G networks do not offer the speed and responsiveness needed to support server-based gaming ­ a situation further aggravated by metered billing models. Pricing for data traffic and latency considerations make moving as much of the game play to the player's platform as possible. The state of the art in attacking games is grave. Malware is a major issue of traditional PCs and will move onto mobile devices as they become more powerful and viable gaming platforms. What is worse, while most malicious applications are being installed in spite of their owner's wishes, "game malware" or cheating software is desired by the platform owner. Viruses and worms, the other familiar forms of malicious code are not wanted by the computer's user and inadvertently installed via mail or other application or self-installing through weaknesses in operating system security. They are there to either damage the machine, steal valuable data, or launch attacks on other user's computers. Game malware, on the other hand, is carefully installed by the platform user, himself. Because the user is the one who wants this code available to give him an advantage, all of the traditional security measures are irrelevant. After all, the computer tends to trust the user to install applications. While anti-virus and anti-intrusion applications attempt to warn a user that they are doing something foolish, an anti-game malware program must stop a player from doing something to a platform that he himself, owns. This radically changes the way that these malicious applications are fought and makes the security task much more difficult. Virtualization tools and rootkits, both of which get "underneath" the operating system, mean that defensive software will be running at an even greater disadvantage. It is worth noting that within a week of the public announcement of the Sony-BMG Rootkit in the fall of 2005, hackers had used its design to hide their programs from World of Warcraft's Warden Security application. Game security is a fairly unique problem ­ malicious game players want to participate in the game, but cheat and circumvent the game's security. The "Insider Problem" has always been one of the greatest security challenges. Standard security tools simply don't work in this environment. Encryption and digital signatures, even if applicable, assume that the data being encrypted or signed is legitimate ­ something that cannot be guaranteed with a malevolent player consciously using malicious code. Anti-virus type tools are also substantially weakened when the platform owner wants the malicious code to work. Online game developers need to wake up to this truth. It is not that all of the players are trying to cheat or subvert their game, but some are. These malicious players are anonymous and difficult to hold accountable. The few cheaters and hackers can devastate a game for the many honest players and cause real damage to a game business. Virtually every game with an online component has had public problems with cheaters and hackers. This is even true for many single-player online games, not just multi-player games. Even something as simple as high score rankings can be a target for cheaters seeking to spoof their status as a game player. The breakdown of these basic community services can damage even the simplest of online gaming experiences. The security problem is not simply an issue for "the security guy", but needs to be a central part of a game's design. The default solution, server-based gaming, is far from perfect. While it does address a number of problems, it has several limitations. The biggest challenge is that it is so easy... by moving all of the state and game play to a server, all kinds of security problems apparently disappear. The key problem is "apparently". First, for performance and convenience reasons, many games wind up storing more game state and doing more processing on the client-side than they initially thought. This opens up these systems to all of the hacking attacks and other problems that they thought they were avoiding by using a server-based design. Second, because many server-based designs are actually implemented as a singleplayer game with remote players, they do insufficient validation of inputs from the remote clients. This can come in two major forms: lack of data validation ­ where the client provides input actions that are not legitimate under the game and time validation ­ where the client provides input actions at invalid times, usually too many actions too fast. Finally, as these games become more serious business and there are economic concerns of the player involved (everything from real-money transactions to contests and gambling); players do not trust the game provider to be fair. This is an issue that this design approach does not address at all. There are several popular game design archetypes that are not really suitable for widely distributed online play: reflex games, games with optimal strategies, and puzzle games. Reflex/Speed-based Games ­ Many action games that have migrated from PCs or consoles are closely tied to the actual physical performance of the player. Acting faster in real-life is reflected in superior game performance. Unfortunately, these games are ripe for automation. Bots, macros, and external applications can enhance performance through the game client and it is also possible to bypass the game client with an independent application to talk to the server directly. Optimal Strategy Games ­ This scenario is really a variant on the first case. If an automated application can reliably choose a strategy that is better than most human players and do it faster, the game has a serious problem. Games like Chess or Poker as well as many computer games are vulnerable to this design weakness. Note, this is a design problem ­ if the game has optimal or superior strategic choices that can be determined independent of the actions of other players, then most designers would consider this a flawed design. Puzzle Games ­ Solitaire card games, jigsaw puzzles, and most recently, Sudoku, are all games that work fine as single player experiences. This is also true of many computer games that have the weaknesses noted above. Once the game is online, linked by a community with high scores or multi-player play, the vulnerability of these games becomes apparent. Most can be analyzed off-line to determine an optimal strategy that can "beat the clock". Trivia games are a closely related category..


A motivated player or group of players can attack the game in two ways: they can cooperate to rapidly research and determine answers to unknown questions and they can build a catalog of question/answer pairs. Such a strategy can rapidly deplete even a large question set making the game either prohibitively expensive to maintain (basically growing the question set faster than players can attack it) or rapidly collapse under collusion and online research. Solutions What is left for game designers in the face of these problems? Gratifyingly, the social element that makes online gaming so exciting and popular can provide tools to thwart many attacks. Games without Optimal Strategies ­ RockPaper-Scissors ­ Games that are designed so that every choice has a counter-choice and every tactic, a viable response, are likely to be resistant to machine based strategies. With careful design, a game creator can build game mechanics that do not have clear biases towards a limited set of strategic choices. Automated tools can play no better than humans and, hopefully, there is no effective algorithm to "psychologize" an opponent. Collusion Resistant Games ­ Game designers for online games need to consider collusion as a serious concern. Today, it is virtually trivial to establish an outside, undetectable communication channel with a partner. A traditional solution is to rapidly change sets of players so that partners have few opportunities to work together. Other options include designing games so that collusion / collaborative play is a feature and supported by the game mechanics or remove it from the game entirely. An example of this would be to change online poker so that players draw their private cards from separate decks so that knowledge of other players' hidden cards would not provide an advantage. Rich Inter-player Interaction ­ Diplomacy Games ­ simple game mechanics can be combined with inter-player interaction to deliver a game play experience that is hard to automate. The most famous such game would be the old Avalon Hill game, Diplomacy. The inter-player negotiations and possibilities for deception make for a game that will likely be secure against automation until artificial intelligence gets much, much better. High Variability Games ­ card games and collectible card games ­ One of the advantages of card games as a game mechanic is that the situation can vary greatly from game to game and play to play. The same set of cards can be wonderful or worthless. This degree of variability can make these games resistant to easy automation. Game designers do need to proceed with caution as the apparent complexity of the game system may hide underlying optimal or dominant strategies. Wireless game developers often act like console developers who have put their trust in hardware security provided by the platform. Unfortunately, virtually every hardware security system has been defeated ­ including game consoles. While early wireless platforms were so limited that it was impractical to attack them, the same power that makes these handheld devices promising gaming systems also makes them credible targets for attack. Online game designers should not solely consider security as the driving factor in their design. It is an important consideration and a constraint that needs to be addressed consciously. Clever combinations of game systems and business models can be used to obviate what would otherwise be a serious security weakness. Secure game mechanisms do not have to look like "Rock-Paper-Scissors". Graphics have gotten so powerful, that game designers have had to return to good game design to deliver a successful game. Online gaming is only in its infancy. While security challenges are new and important, hopefully, they will server to unlock the creation of new and exciting forms of game play that truly exploit the power of network and social gaming.

Tom Söderlund, Blaze - Sweden

Proximity Gaming - New forms of wireless network gaming

Proximity gaming, i.e. close-range wireless network gaming, is coming fast and hard with new devices such as mobile phones, the Sony PSP, and the Nintendo DS. This opens up new gaming possibilities, and the combination of proximity gaming and mobility is particularly exciting. Imagine the kind of ad hoc multiplayer games where people suddenly enter each other's games simply because they're in range. This article discusses proximity gaming from a game design perspective, including new types of network games, pseudo-persistent game worlds, and electronic rumors. The technology will just be mentioned briefly, societal and privacy issues will get little or no attention. Introduction Definition The definition of proximity gaming used in this document is close-range wireless network gaming. The word "proximity" implies closeness to something, which excludes online multiplayer gaming such as massively multiplayer games (MMOGs). Proximity gaming is not the same as locationbased gaming, since location-based requires that the game is aware of the player's absolute or relative position, while proximity gaming only requires knowing that something is close, and possibly the distance. The proximity of what is an interesting question, and as this article will reveal, this could include other


players of a certain game, a device, or a person not actively participating in the game. Simpler close-range multiplayer games that utilizes Bluetooth or Wireless LAN is included in the proximity gaming definition, but such games use the wireless communication just as a replacement to a fixed connection or network. Instead, this article focuses on innovative design concepts based on wireless communication, concepts that cannot be implemented in a fixed network. A wireless network is assumed, not because it would be the only way to incorporate proximity into a game, but because wireless communication technology is becoming widespread and thus the most feasible way of implementing it. One could imagine proximity gaming using different kinds of sensor devices, but that requires exotic technology and therefore lose its commercial appeal. Why proximity gaming is interesting Entering a multiplayer game is normally a formal procedure. The player defines her character, selects which game server to join (or sets up a new game), decides who to play with etc before entering the game. The wirelesses of proximity gaming allows for ad hoc multiplayer games, where people suddenly enter each other's games simply because they're in range. The Japanese Lovegety was a simple yet powerful demonstration of a proximity service: a device that beeps when a potential partner was nearby, based on a set of preferences (Iwatani, 1998). The ad hoc-ness in turn unleashes several interesting game design aspects, for example that clusters of proximity gaming devices create the illusion of a persistent world game, or viral aspects such as "electronic rumors" that are transmitted to nearby players. Proximity gaming is also considered an interesting area for the latest handheld game devices. When Sony presented the PlayStation Portable (PSP) during Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2004 (Ackerman, 2004), proximity gaming was mentioned as an interesting field of next-generation multiplayer gaming. Wireless LAN (802.11) 802.11, also called "Wi-Fi", is a set of standards for wireless local area networks developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The 802.11 family contains several protocols where the most popular one is 802.11b, which features a maximum data rate of 11 Mbit/s, a range of up to 100 meters, and operates in the 2.4 GHz band. (, 2005) Wireless LAN offers high bandwidth, but consumes a lot of energy. Wireless LAN is today a common technology in PCs, but is also becoming popular in PDAs. Wireless LAN is also used in two powerful handheld gaming systems: the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS. Cell ID positioning Cell ID positioning can also be used to accomplish proximity gaming, but is different from Bluetooth and wireless LAN since it's not a communication technology. Instead, it's a rather crude method of locating people, and can be used to find out whether people are in proximity of each other. A mobile network consists of thousands of antennas, or cells, and a mobile phone (device) is always connected to one of these cells. Both the mobile network and the device are always aware of the ID number of the cell the phone is currently in. By matching devices that are reporting the same cell ID, you find devices that are in proximity of one another. In practice, this is slightly trickier. Acquiring this information from the mobile network requires a relationship with a mobile carrier, or preferably several if the game is supposed to work across multiple networks. From the device, the cell ID can only be extracted with low-level software, such as native C++ code on a Nokia 7650 Symbian phone (the miniGPS application from Psiloc does just that) (, 2005). Just having the cell ID locally on the device is no good for a proximity service, so it must be paired with other player's cell ID using an online service of some kind, transmitting the data over a GPRS or 3G network. RFID Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a method of retrieving ID codes over shortrange radio. An RFID tag is a small object, such as an adhesive sticker, that can be attached to or incorporated into a product. RFID tags contain antennas to enable them to receive and respond to radio-frequency queries from an RFID transceiver. Because of its static, passive nature, it's difficult to use RFID as the basis for a multiplayer game. Instead, RFID could be used for incorporating items or passive players into a proximity game. Other wireless networking technologies Some devices have used their own proprietary wireless communication system. The Cybiko device used its own radio technology, and so does the new Nintendo DS (although the latter also features wireless LAN communication).


Proximity gaming is not tied to a specific technology, but can be implemented an different styles on different devices. Wireless networking technologies Bluetooth Bluetooth is an open specification that enables short-range wireless connections between telephones, computers and other devices and thereby simplifies communication and synchronization between devices. Bluetooth wireless technology uses a globally available frequency band (2.4GHz) and can transmit data up to 2.1 Mbit/s on distances from 10-100 meter. (, 2005, and, 2005). Compared to wireless LAN, Bluetooth offers lower bandwidth but is a cheaper technology and consumes little energy. Bluetooth had a slow start but can now be found in most midand high-end mobile phones, and is also used in three handheld gaming systems: the Gizmondo, the Nokia N-Gage, and Tapwave Zodiac.


Devices Mobile phones Mobile phones may not be the most powerful gaming device, but what they lack in performance they make up in volume: mobile phones are an everyman's device, and for many people the first game console they come across. The modern mobile phones often have color screens, multimedia features, and decent game controls. But first and foremost, a phone is a communication device and it's almost taken for granted that a new phone has GPRS/ 3G and possibly Bluetooth connectivity. Cybiko The Cybiko was introduced in 1999 as an entertainment PDA for teenagers. It featured a 160x100 grayscale screen and a proprietary wireless communication system that enabled messaging and gaming in 19.2 kB/s over a range of 50-100 m. It was a totally proprietary system, but since it was so early in the market, it gathered quite a big group of buyers and developers. Gizmondo The Gizmondo from Tiger Telematics is packed with technology: GPRS and Bluetooth connectivity, a camera, and a GPS receiver. It sports a 320x240 screen and NVIDIA hardware acceleration (, 2005). Unfortunately, after the Gizmondo bankruptcy there will be little development support for this device. Nintendo DS The Nintendo DS ("Dual-Screen") is rather odd-looking with its twin 256x192 pixel LCD screens, where one of them is a touch screen. The DS supports both wireless LAN and a proprietary radio communication protocol. (, 2005) Nokia N-Gage Nokia N-Gage and the follow-up N-Gage QD is based on Nokia's Series 60 platform and is essentially the same device as a Nokia 7650/3650 mobile phone. It got a bad reputation due to some poor design choices but is still a powerful device. The device has a 176x208 screen and Bluetooth and GPRS connectivity. (Forum Nokia website, 2005) Sony PSP The PlayStation Portable (PSP) is the highestperforming handheld gaming device to date, with performance almost equal to the PlayStation 2. The screen is large, 480x272 pixels and the device has wireless LAN communication. Tapwave Zodiac The Zodiac is a Palm OS-powered game device available in the US, UK, Singapore, and Korea. It has a large 480x320 screen, a graphics accelerator from ATI, and features Bluetooth connectivity. (, 2005) Game design aspects Given the basic concept of proximity gaming, there are several design choices to be made when designing a proximity game. The following chapter discusses a few design patterns to consider. Formal vs. ad hoc game sessions Traditional multiplayer games follow a formal structure. A player starts up her game application, enters the multiplayer mode. She designs her character, either loads up a saved character or creates a new one. The player creates a new game, thereby defining what game rules should apply to the game session. Other players can then join the game, thus accepting the stated rules of the game. When enough players have joined the game and all players have set themselves as "ready", the game session begins.

An ad hoc game session in a proximity game is where players automatically join the same game session when their devices are within range of each other. A single-player game seamlessly becomes a multiplayer game, and then returns to single-player mode when the connection is broken. Game characters are defined beforehand. Game rules are either fixed, or negotiated between the devices when merging two game sessions.


Connection and disconnection as game event Mutual consent In a traditional multiplayer game, all players normally agree to take part in the game and know the game rules that apply. In a proximity game, the total opposite can be true. One player can actually "invade" another player's game without permission. An example could be to stop by and leave a virtual "graffiti tag" in another player's game, a sort of social invasion. If players can move around with the proximity gaming devices, players will constantly connect and disconnect from each other. These events can be used in the game design itself, as an indication of a player entering or leaving a certain range. A simple application can play a sound or show an animation when another player was nearby. More advanced games could change gameplay mode when someone connects, e.g. change from observation mode to battle mode. Anonymity Distributed game world In a proximity game, the game world can be distributed across the participating players' devices. With ad hoc game sessions, the game world could then grow or shrink as new players join or leave the game.

Multiplayer games can be designed to allow anonymous players, where players create an avatar, an alter ego, and masking their true identity. Combining this with ad hoc game sessions, this allows for games where you could suddenly start playing with a stranger. The only thing you would know for certain is that the other player is close enough to be in range. In a setting where there are many people and where appropriate devices are widespread, it can be an exciting part of the game trying to figure out whom you are playing with in real life.

Imagine a game where each player has her own pirate ship. Before encountering any other player, the ship floats by itself in sea, and the player can walk around with her character on the ship. When another player is in proximity, another pirate ship appears on the screen. The two players can battle, but also board each other's ships. Every new player means a new ship on the screen, and so the game arena grows with each player. The ship becomes an analogy for the device itself. One example of a distributed game world is the game "Pac-Man Must Die!" developed by the Viktoria Institute in Sweden. Players stand close to each other and play the game on wireless PDA's. In the game, the players control ghosts and try to avoid being captured by Pac-Man. The game arena is distributed across the players' devices, and a player can capture Pac-Man by moving away from the other players when Pac-Man is on the screen. (, 2005) A problem appears when the players disconnect when one player is on another player's "ship". What should happen; should the player return to her own ship, or just vanish into thin air?


Persistency between sessions - pseudo-persistent game worlds Viral behavior and electronic rumors New types of network games Putting the pieces together, this chapter explores how proximity gaming can be used to create new game concepts. . Matchmaking With the Lovegety as basis, it's easy to imagine match-making games and services. Create a profile, and the device will notify you when someone matching the profile is nearby. The Lovegety was a pretty simple device, and a game could involve more roleplaying elements and allowing the player to create a more detailed profile. Such services rely on a large community, and therefore the mobile phone is a suitable platform. Sports wherever she went. The game objective was to get one's own virtual frog out of the shopping mall as quick as possible. (, 2005) Sports and other physical games are excellent applications of proximity gaming. With the players moving around, proximity is a way to detect other players and possibly parts of a physical game arena. It's easy to imagine an orienteering game, where players would have to move around and find navigation points powered by Bluetooth transmitters or similar. But other forms of electronic sports are also feasible, including ball sports (with a virtual ball). The case study on "Proxiball" later in this article demonstrates how a sports game can be implemented.

Proximity gaming, especially in its ad hoc sense, is an ideal ground for viral game behavior. Messages and virtual items can travel between players. Players could "infect" other players that are within range. Information within the game can be viral, too. If in-game information, such as the state of the game world or the high score list is synchronized between players upon connection, information spreads from player to player. But as in the classic "whisper game", no player will hold the absolute truth, and the quality of the information is weakened as the distance to the source increases. The more connections each player makes, the more pieces of the puzzle she will have and thus the closer to the truth she will be. That in turn can foster social gameplay. Involving non-players One extraordinary aspect of viral gameplay is to involve non-players in the game. Given that the game device can detect and in some sense identify a nearby person, other people can act as "props" in a proximity game. Non-players can be tagged by players, possibly carrying a virtual infection or a virtual piece of information. The non-players could either be totally unaware of the game in progress, or they could be manipulated by players as part of the gameplay, e.g. coaxed to walk in a certain direction. Two students at the Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS) used this game design element to design a game for shopping malls. The game called "Frog Race" enabled players to use Bluetooth devices to scout for nearby persons that were carrying Bluetooth-enabled phones. When a suitable person was found, the player can attach a virtual "frog" to the person. The frog will then follow the non-player

In the case of a distributed game world, the state of the local game worlds can be saved between game sessions. When a player visits another player's pirate ship again, she finds a sword that was left there on her previous visit. Given enough players, the illusion of a persistent-world game could be created. This "pseudo-persistent game world" would act as a persistent world as in massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), but in fact it creates lots of fragments of a world. The persistency is maintained through synchronization between two players at a time. This will lead to inconsistencies in the game world data, and these discrepancies must be dealt with in the game design.


Pervasive games In a pervasive game, a game that blends with the player's real world, the game device would rather take the role of a "tool" in a real world setting, than being the scene for the game itself. Such a game benefits from the viral aspects of proximity gaming, for example to send secret pieces of information between agents. An example would be a game about a viral outbreak. The virtual virus spreads from person to person as soon as they are within range. Even non-players could be carrying the virus. The players have the "tools" (i.e. game software) necessary to track and destroy the virus. But since the virus spreads in the real world, the players have to find the people carrying the virus and maybe ask former "patients" about their whereabouts in order to track the source of the virus. Case study: Proxiball This chapter describes how a simple demonstration application on proximity gaming was designed, implemented, and tested with a focus group of players. Design Proxiball was designed to be a small demonstration of a proximity sports game. The basic concept was "virtual rugby", a team-based game where the objective was to deliver a virtual ball to a virtual goal. There was no ambition to create a commercial product of this concept, merely to use it as a research platform for other proximity gaming concepts. The interface was designed to be extremely simple and quick to use, since this is a physical sports game where players can spend limited time looking at a screen. Each participant has a device of her own, and another two devices are used as goal cages. There are two teams; blue and red, without restrictions on the team size. The game interface shows the player in the centre, with nearby team members in the bottom half of the screen and nearby opponents in the top half of the screen. Selecting another player and pressing the fire button passes the ball, or try to steal the ball if it was held by the selected opponent. The devices acting as goal cages are running the software in a special mode, where it counts the number of times it has received the virtual ball (i.e. when someone has scored a goal). The goal cages automatically give the ball to a member of its own team after a goal. had to be rewritten to do the communication in a serial, "one-step-at-a-time" manner. Testing For testing the first version of Proxiball, four people from the author's office were selected. With two additional phones as goal cages, a total of six phones were used. The goal phones were put on tables roughly 50 meters away from each other.

Screenshots from Proxiball. Implementation As test platform, Nokia Series 60 phones were chosen. The game application was implemented in Java (J2ME) and Bluetooth was used as communication protocol. The Bluetooth programming interface is event driven and supports events for when a new device is found. However, it does not have an event for when a connection to a device is lost. Since Proxiball relied on both events, custom code was added to create a "memory" of nearby devices and to trigger events when a device lost connection. Testing turned out to be a big problem, since the actual Bluetooth implementation on the mobile phones turned out to act quite differently compared to the emulation on PC. The hardware implementation only supports one connection at a time, so the game's communication layer

A phone used as the Red Team's goal. The four players gathered in the centre, right between the two goal cages, and the game started. As the application started up on each phone, the virtual ball flicked from screen to screen when the phones synchronized their connections. When it finally stabilized, the ball ended up in the phone of a surprised member of the red team. He ran to the blue goal and scored a quick goal be


fore anyone else could react. The blue goal played a sound effect of a fanfare. 1-0. The ball was handed to a blue team member who now was nearby. He started moving towards the red goal, but suddenly the ball was snatched by the red player and another goal was made! 2-0. personal space in a game. But changes are on the horizon, and these two elements are tied to each other, pulling the other forward. Pervasive computing is no longer a vision ­ it is already here. People carry around plenty of small computer-powered devices: mobile phones, PDA's, digital cameras and music players. The next logical step is to get all these devices to work together. "Connectivity" will be the predominant feature of many consumer devices; not only mobile phones and handheld devices, but also music players and toys. These devices will connect with each other for improved integration, but also with other peoples' devices to exchange information, as well as for pure entertainment value. A recent example is Konami's music toy Otoizm, which remixes your portable music, and also shares music with other Otoizm users that happen to be nearby (, 2006). In short, people will grow more accustomed to sharing information, and interacting with nearby people in a connected manner. Their definition of privacy will be reshaped and redefined. As that happens, game designers will feel more confident in adding proximity gaming features to their games. And wireless gaming will never be the same again. References Ackerman, Kyle (2004), "Sony on Hardware: PlayStation 2 Add-Ons and the PSP", Frictionless Insight,, "Wireless gets more personal",, last visited 2005., "Bluetooth Wireless technology", tech_articles/Bluetooth.shtml, last visited 2005. Forum Nokia website, "Nokia N-Gage Technical Specs",, last visited 2005., "iPodmagotchi", http://, last visited 2006., "Gizmondo inside: specifications",, last visited 2005. Iwatani, Yukari (1998), "Love: Japanese Style", Wired, culture/0,1284,12899,00.html, "Nintendo DS Technical Specifications", techspecds, last visited 2005., "miniGPS", http://www.psiloc. com/index.html?id=155, last visited 2005., "Frog Race" is a master thesis project at the Stockholm University carried out by Jenny Niemi and Susanna Sawano, supervised by Annika Waern and Petra Sundström at SICS, projects.php, last visited 2005., "Zodiac product specifications", specs.html, last visited 2005., "IEEE 802.11", http://, last visited 2005., "Pac-Man Must Die!", developed by Alexander Jaako, Annelie Lundén and Staffan Lönn at the Viktoria Insitute in Sweden, collgames/, last visited 2005.

It feels good to be on the winning team. Here are some comments from the testers: "Interesting concept, but the fun doesn't last very long. It feels a bit weird running around with an invisible ball. It's awkward to run around while staring at the screen." "Well, it's certainly a new twist to a mobile game. With some improved usability and more stable communication, this could well become a fun sport." Future outlook: proximity gaming in 2010 Will proximity-based games be a new game genre of its own, dominating the video game shelves in five years? No, proximity gaming ­ compared to massively multiplayer games and pervasive games ­ will not be coined a game genre in its own right. Instead, elements of proximity gaming will seep into the design of mobile and handheld games, little by little. Two things hamper the development of proximity gaming applications: penetration of game devices that can communicate with each other, and social acceptance of "invading" other peoples'

Blue player moving in to the goal area. Now, the blue players grouped and started running in a wide arc around the office, quickly passing the ball back and forth. They approached the red goal, now guarded by both red players. Intense button-jabbing followed as the blue players tried to score a goal and the red players tried stealing the ball. Suddenly, the fanfare sounded from the red goal phone. 2-1.


Vicky Wu, Froghop - USA

Mobile Devices and the "Traditional" Gamer

Abstract While mobile gaming has become incredibly popular around the world, there are some obstacles to be faced in the future. There are several reasons for this, primarily the fact that today's mobile gaming experience is a casual activity designed to pass the time. Neither the platforms, nor the games lend themselves to extended periods of gaming . The current users of mobile games are not gamers per se, but rather casual users with little commitment to the game itself. With so many companies fighting over the small amount of casual time, the market must lure a new audience in order to continue growing. Instead of simply converting PC and console games into mobile experiences, a stepping stone approach will help open mobile entertainment to the moredemanding gamer market. In this paper we will examine the importance and impact traditional gamers will have on the mobile gaming industry, how the concept of transmedial access advances mobile gaming in an evolutionary (rather than revolutionary) manner, and the and the path it will lead the mobile games to. What's in it for the Traditional Gamer? Mobile phones, as well as the mobile games industry, have come a long way in recent years. However, the majority view of mobile games is that they are only for casual gamers. With cellphones being "mass market" devices, the focus has been to leverage the platform pe-

netration to convert non-gamers into casual mobile-games players. But these back-pocket devices that we never leave home without can also be a valuable platform for existing gamers. The question is: what type of mobile gaming applications can entice the traditional gamer market? Before delving into this question, it is worth mentioning the distinction being made in this paper when referencing "traditional" gamers and "casual" gamers. A traditional gamer refers to those who play various videogames (PC or console) and generally exhibit hardcore gaming behavior and purchase patterns. Being a traditional gamer does not exclude them from enjoying casual-style games. Casual gamers gravitate towards games with shorter learning curves ­ the kind you can just pick up and play. The biggest misperception is that casual gamers only play for short bursts of time; they in fact often have hardcore playing habits, but their purchase patterns are different. Casual gamers' price/value perception of games separates casual gamers from traditional gamers. Because purchase patterns are important to an industry's sustenance and growth, traditional gamers are key for propelling mobile games forward. Traditional gamers are willing to embrace new game-related content, and are willing to pay for products they believe will enrich their gaming experience. There have been numerous efforts geared towards attracting the traditional videogame player to mobile games, such as licensing traditional game IP Although many traditional game players do enjoy playing mobile games in their downtime, anecdotal evidence suggests that traditional gamers continue to perceive mobile games as pale imitations of console games. Current mobile game offerings appeal to a small per

centage of the traditional gamer demographic. If the mobile games are viewed as a lesser version of an original, it will be harder to justify a large number of recurring mobile game downloads. Despite the amazing developments that have occurred in mobile gaming, most advancements have been developed through a tunneled vision. Building upon existing ideas and paradigms, many game developers still view the phone as just a miniature console. Shrink-wrapping a console or PC game isn't the only way ­ nor is it always the best way ­ to appeal to the traditional videogame player. Learning to repurpose content to appropriately fit devices is the biggest hurdle that game developers face today. Leveraging Mobile and Fixed experiences together Portability and connectivity are the unique strengths of mobile devices. While almost everyone seems to grasp that mobile phones are meant for capturing short bursts of activity "anytime, anywhere" because of its portability, very few seem to recognize the power behind the "connected" part. Still working within the confines of existing paradigms, latency and other technical limitations are being blamed for the lack of connected games; mobile games remain as isolated pass-the-time experiences. It's very difficult to build depth and user loyalty within the casual commute time. However, creating options for players to keep your content with them as they move from device to device can open opportunities for additional content. Portability and connectivity combined offers endless potential that stationary applications can't: connecting gamers to their community or an overarching story.

Gamers from the traditional game sector are still a huge, untapped, and underserved market. Rather than pigeon-holing mobile gaming, it is important to strip away any pre-conceived idea of what mobile gaming should be. The concept of transmedial access, where the focus is taken off of game translation and onto native game applications, is an emerging alternative in the mobile games arena. Transmedial access leverages different mediums (such as mobile phones) and determines what type of game content can be better experienced on the phone than other available mediums. Transmedial access should not be confused with what is currently labeled as "cross-platform" games, where a particular game is developed for the console, PC, and mobile. Cross-platform games are generally not connected among each device, and are essentially the same game slightly tweaked for varying control mechanisms. The game experience provided should not emphasize that they are interacting with a super-powerful or sub-par device; they should feel like they are being offered the opportunity to interact with the game through the best medium for that purpose. How to Apply a Transmedial Strategy As the computer game and mobile device markets continue to grow, interest in the intersection of those applications are on the rise. Players are starting to look for multi-platform capabilities to effectively stay on top of their game; developers want different ways to draw the player in and keep them connected. The mobile device is a perfect medium to serve as an additional access route for existing games that traditional gamers are already paying to play. By providing these gamers with a means to remotely access part of a meta-game, the mobile gaming market can secure a large


group of consistent, enthusiastic users. The same level of enthusiasm is also shared among those who favor multiplayer games, either in cooperation or in competition with others. Leveraging the existing gamer market to introduce new products will help promote the acceptance of online mobile gaming, and additional mobile gaming applications. There are three general principles in transmedial access where the use of the mobile phone can be applied in countless creative ways: As a communication device: relaying & responding to time-sensitive data and dialogue. Whether it's coordinating an MMO raid or managing a tournament in an RTS game, receiving notification of game updates or server status, the phone is the perfect device to help gamers stay in the loop with their community, and in-the-know for game-critical data. As a portable joystick: allowing players realtime ability to affect character advancement, housekeeping issues, and other virtual world status. You want that Singing Runcible Sword from the in-game auctioneer ­ but you can't stay home all day to make sure no one outbids you. Transmedial access can help players who like to interact with the in-game auctions by providing real-time access to the auctions whenever they want, giving cell phone alerts when an auction is about to expire or a higher bid is entered, and ­ importantly ­ allowing immediate responses to change. organize their inventories, set up the order of their quests. As a mobile mini-games: creating pocket-sized experience extensions (such as mini-games), where accomplishments can be uploaded and translated into virtual world value. With a mobile applet, players can spend their time away from the computer designing the aesthetic and functional aspects of custom-made game items. In addition to being an interesting diversion in itself, the design applet transfers the designs into the game, giving characters not only items optimized for their own uses, but also items that personalize their avatar and make it more their own. Pocket universes are contained scenarios ­ one mini-quest or one type of task ­ that, when completed, reap a reward in the meta game environment. These custom-created mobile mini-games add a few twists for high-end titles that the hardcore gamers welcome can take on the road with them. Instead of being isolated casual games, players can navigate a few hazards to gain a new decorative garment, practice mixing potions in order to raise their alchemy skill, or even just bop some monsters for a bit of XP. With the above three principles of transmedial design and utility, the mobile and stationary platforms complement each other by providing experiences that are different, yet best run on its respective device. Without the commitment of booting up the computer, free moments on a commute to work can now be used to continue a character's virtual progress and to advance a story. A transmedial strategy can also be utilized to create persistent narratives, add variety to player challenges, collectibles, and quest formation, or provide in-game reward mechanisms that are then accessible through a mobile device. When access is never farther away than a back pocket, we have reached a state not only of persistent worlds, but also of persistent access. Why is transmedial access important to the industry? Isolated mobile gaming applications provide flexibility but don't offer enough experiential depth; this limits immersion, accomplishment, and loyalty factors, cornering mobile-only experiences as mere diversions. But many traditional persistent and multiplayer games that offer depth and intricacies require a significant, concentrated, stationary commitment, which then leads to customer attraction and retention issues. If fixed and mobile was leveraged different types of entry points to your IP and community, one device could help the other, leading to a harmonious business equation. Gamers don't have a problem paying for something they find valuable. Remote email-checking devices often come with hefty price plans, but ask most business people whether they find that service worthwhile, and most do. We already are used to leveraging mobile tools to help us stay connected to clients, colleagues, and information for quick decision-making. We understand the value of mobile access to increase productivity, and therefore are willing to pay for it. In fact, without those tools, we'd actually miss it. With a single-platform offering, the gamer experience is also incomplete. Whether in a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, or with multiplayer games and tournaments, peer actions and event changes have cumulative effects that are consequential to individuals, whether or not they are available...similar to real life. But unlike real life where we have plenty of tools to help us juggle multiple responsibilities, access into virtual worlds is through a single access point; active participation requires a significant stationary commitment. Even the most dedicated users have difficulty keeping up with the dynamic information. To remain active and included, users need ways to better communicate, cooperate and coordinate in an effective manner. Playing games is a choice of what one does for fun. Both mobile and traditional games need to take into consideration the lifestyle and gameplay habits of their demographic, and how each device can contribute to customer attraction and retention. It is not only an indicator of business viability, it is ultimately an indicator of whether the game is fun. Satisfied gamers means bottom line benefits for game developers. Combining fixed and mobile draws the player deeper into their game and community, which in turn benefits both the traditional and mobile games industry. Value-add Leads to Mass Market Transmedial access allows gamers the same type of convenience to access game statistics, additional game content, and game community, focusing on connected and often times asymmetric experiences. If the mobile strategy highlights the strength of mobile phones instead of its limitations, gamers will find their mobile device to be an indispensable part of their gaming experience. There will be more than one type of successful mobile gaming application, but transmedial applications have the opportunity of helping traditional gamers become comfortable with the concept of relying on their mobile phone for entertainment. This expands the user base substantially. A transmedial strategy can be applied to both hardcore and casual games. But until you create a genuine value-add to the demographic that not only wants to try new tools for game-


enhancement, but is willing to pay for it and tell their friends about it, mobile games will have difficulty reaching its full potential. The traditional gaming market is comprised of game enthusiasts, eager to embrace new products and services that can bring value into their gameplay experiences. Just as new technology becomes mainstream technology through the momentum of enthusiasts, transmedial access will propel traditional gamers ­ and subsequently the casual gamers ­ to look at their mobile phone as an entertainment device.

Frank Fitzek, Allborg University - Denmark

Mobile Gaming 2010 Cooperative Mobile Gaming

Abstract --- This articled presents a way in which mobile gamers may access the cellular communication system in the future. Cooperation among terminals is advocated here in contrast to the existing communication method, where the base station communicates with dedicated communication links to the end terminals. By using the inbuilt short range communication with high data rates, terminals form cooperation clusters. In addition to that each terminal uses the cellular communication link with low data rates to form high virtual data rates for the cluster. Furthermore, the cooperative access yields reduced energy consumption per terminal and reduced costs for the customer. The forming process of the cooperative cluster is motivated by technical as well as social reasons. Introduction and Motivation Quality of service is the enabler to ensure financially successful wireless and mobile communication systems. One of the most promising services is mobile gaming, especially multiplayer games which are of special interest to the players. To port the multiplayer games to the mobile world, there are some problems that have to be addressed to enable mobile gaming for multiplayer games. As with any mobile end system, the mobile gaming consoles are limited in the wireless data rate, maximum allowed costs, and energy

consumption. While the wireless data rate can be increased for each individual terminal at larger costs in terms of complexity and energy consumption, the energy consumption is the critical issue at present and it will become even more important in the future. The energy consumption determines the stand by time of the gaming console and therefore the degree of freedom in a mobile world. In order to overcome the described problems of energy consumption, costs and complexity we are motivated to look at novel communication architectures. In [1] we have already outlined first novel architectures for gaming services to access cellular networks. It was assumed that each player has a mobile gaming console with two types of wireless connection. The first connection is the state of the art cellular link (offering low data rates, large delays at high prices, but full coverage) and the second one is a short range communication (high data rates and low delays and no or very low additional costs). In the paper it was advocated to form gaming clusters, such that they can be found at any LAN location and play with friends in the proximity of the user using the short range communication. The cellular connection was only used to manage the game (game initiation, authentication, score submissions, map or digital item downloading etc.). Therefore, the proposed architecture was particularly well suited for games that have offline software distribution, but require a registration (authentication) each time the game is played. This kind of architecture was especially interesting for network and service providers. The network providers could increase their financial efficiency (money per bit) as most of the traffic is transported over the short range and not over the cellular connection so the service providers would get a small benefit each time the game was initi-

ated. This architecture could easily be mapped to school children playing on the school yard (but it is not limited to that scenario). On the other side this architecture did not support the gaming with players which are not in the proximity of the short range communication, but may be placed somewhere else in the communication network playing on a central server. As multiplayer games seem to be the most attractive forms of gaming (currently, five million players daily access World of Warcraf t), the proposed architecture needs to be revised and we will present a novel more refined architecture. Cooperative Access As shown in Figure 1, we envision the following architecture (in close relationship to the one given in [1]): Players are able to access the gaming server via the wireless or the wired connection. As an example the game played can be a first-person shooter (FPS) game such as Halflife or a massively multi-player roleplaying game (MMORPG) such as World of Warcraft. While the players join the firstperson shooter game with its character for a limited time, the MMORPG foresees to build the character over a long time, which can be a year. Thus, players are highly interested in having certain access to the game that will not loose their improved and trained characters. Those who have a fixed connection are referred to as Fixed Players and those who are connected in a wireless fashion are called Mobile Players. All players are connected to one of the gaming servers hosted by Provider A, B or C. We assume the fixed players will not discover any problems as they have a power supply and huge backbone capacity (e.g. flat


rate) and hereafter we focus only on the mobile gamers. In case of user E1 and E2, the players need a gaming console with a cellular connection offering huge bandwidth and small delays similar to the fixed connection. Even though the gaming traffic is small compared to video streaming, there are given periods where a lot of action takes place and high data rates are required. This will lead to short delays. To achieve the required characteristics, the gaming console has to be high complex (ending up in a high priced entity) and investing a lot of energy and money. Therefore we advocate the usage of cooperative access (e.g. formed by User A, B, C and D). Once again we come back to the idea of a gaming console with two kinds of connection, the short range and the cellular (or centralized). In case the players have grouped (occasionally or because of the later explained advantage) they can establish multiple links to the overlay network. In contrast to the single reception case, the terminals will not receive the full information, but receive only partial information in the first step. The cluster needs to coordinate this kind of cooperative access with disjunctive information and exchange the retrieved information over the short range communication link. The partial information per terminal is different for all terminals. To retrieve the full information, the terminals exchange the received data over the short range communication. The received information can be distinguished into three types: i.) common part: gaming maps, general information, high scores, etc. ii.) dedicated information: only for a given terminal

Figure 1: Architecture for Multi Player Gaming with Cooperative Access


iii.) derived information: additional information for a given player or set of players. By using this sort of information in addition with the common information, new information can be derived. This seems promising as all players within a cooperation cluster may be located near by even in the virtual world and information may be coded differentially. In the Figure 2 the merging process of three individual gaming streams into one cooperative stream is shown. After the gaming server knows about the clustering, it will take the streams and start to rearrange the information. First of all the common information is extracted and put in the front followed by the dedicated information. Obviously the common part is now only transmitted once per cooperative cluster and not multiple times, so this is already a first gain by the cooperative clusters. Advanced gaming servers may search for compression possibilities to get the derived information. Nevertheless, after the new cooperative packet is generated, some mapping is needed to determine where to send the information. Assume that all terminals have a fixed bandwidth (same packet size P1, P2, and P3), so there is an optimal sending strategy to reduce the later exchange over the short range communication link, but that is out of scope of this paper. What we can also see by this example is that an inherent multiplexing is given (Player 1 is receiving data for the whole group and player 3 is offers some data for player 2). This may be seen as misusage of the foreign capacity, but roles may change and as we have explained earlier, the gaming group has one common goal (which is to win the game). These advantages will encourage players to group together motivated by technical and financial reasons. In addition to that, mobile gamers may even form grouping because of social reasons or reasons related to the type of game. Social Grouping: Often players meet to perform together in so called clans (some sort of gaming team). The real life communication helps to play more efficient or to plan future steps, even though more advanced games offer voice support to communicate among the players. Therefore this technically driven architecture will have its feedback to the social life. The advantage for the manufacture is that low and high complexity terminals are needed. While the high complex terminals are used by a small number of users, the mass market will use the cooperative terminals. It has to be noted here that also the high complex terminals may use cooperation to achieve the cooperative gains such as less energy consumption and shared costs while playing.

Figure 2: Merging process of three individual gaming packets into one cooperation packet

To sum up, the cooperative communication has the following advantages: Less Complex Cellular Access: Compared to a stand alone air interface, the cooperative one will be less complex and low cost end terminals are the result. Less Energy Consumption: By cooperative access, it has been shown in [2], that the power can be reduced dramatically. This statement holds as long as the short range communication is using less energy per transmitted bit than the cellular approach. For most technologies this is true such as in the case of GPRS data from the base station that will be exchanged with Bluetooth among the cooperative users and more examples can be found. If we foresee new technologies for short range communication such as IEEE802.15.3a, the energy per bit becomes even smaller. Shared Reduced Service Costs: As the cooperative group retrieves nearly the same amount of information as the stand alone player, the costs can be split among the players. Even the network provider will see this as an advantage as this approach breaks new ground of customers.

Business Model In contrast to the architecture proposed in [1], the envisioned cooperative architecture assumes that all terminals are directly connected to the cellular system and therefore the billing can be arranged by the network provider. Furthermore, the gaming provider will also bill for its services. There are two billing approaches, namely the separate and the transparent billing. Separate Billing: With separate billing the customer has a contract with the network provider and one or multiple separate contract(s) with one or multiple game service provider(s). The cellular provider charges the customer


for the use of the cellular connection. Transparent Billing: With transparent billing, the cellular billing entity is used for both, the billing for the cellular connection as well as for the billing for the gaming service. The two main advantages of the transparent billing approach are that (1) the customer deals only with one company (i.e. the billing for the gaming service is transparent to the customer), and (2) the customer's SIM card can be used for reliable billing. Therefore, the transparent billing approach may be viewed as customer friendly. Note that for transparent billing, communication between the cellular billing entity and the game service provider is necessary to establish the price of the service (this however is transparent to the customer). We note that both the transparent billing approach as well as the separate billing approach is inspired by the successful service model of NTT DoCoMo [3]. NTT DoCoMo takes responsibility for the network infrastructure. The services for the platform are provided partially by NTT DoCoMo and partially by selected partners. The idea of the business model is that NTT DoCoMo receives the traffic revenue and the service providers receive their transaction revenue. In case the providers are using NTT DoCoMo's value-added services, such as billing, NTT DoCoMo also receives the revenue from the transactions (similar to our transparent billing approach). In relationship to the cooperative gaming, the billing does not require any additional changes as long as all cooperating consoles share the bill equally. In case of heterogeneous billing some small changes are required to offer the needed flexibility. Conclusion: Cooperative gaming architecture will enable a new way of gaming by overcoming the known problems in the wireless domain as there are the energy constraints and the related costs. Also cooperation is based on technical reasons, it maps perfectly to the needs and wishes of players how they enter the gaming zones, which is in so called clans. Cooperation offers advantages for players, manufactures, network providers and service providers. References: [1] F.H.P. Fitzek and G. Schulte and M. Reisslein. System Architecture for Billing of Multi-Player Games in a Wireless Environment using GSM/UMTS and WLAN Services. 2002. in Proceedings of the First Workshop on Network and System Support for Games (NetGames 2002), pages 58-64. Braunschweig, Germany. [2] Frank H. P. Fitzek and and Marcos Katz. Cooperation in Wireless Networks: Principles and Applications, Springer, ISBN14020-4710-X, 2006 [3] K. Satoh. NTT DoCoMo activities in and beyond IMT2000. Presentation at 11th Time-Market Symposium, Sky Garden, SonyCenter Berlin, Germany, Sept. 2001.


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