Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mobile entertainment (3)

Mobile entertainment was on the menu after introductions by the national incumbent telco KPN and the software giant Microsoft. The GNR8 lab, part of the INHolland College, presented the case of a location based game, developed for the local book publisher, Gottmer. Its list of publications is graced with The Discovery of Haarlem (De ontdekking van Haarlem), a book about the history of the city of Haarlem. It is a GPS game.

The choice of the book was made as it offered the opportunity to produce an experience, which is different from the experience of reading a book. In a book you can read about the history of a city and see pictures of places in the city. With a location based game you have the players experience the places by visiting them and augment the experience with a game element.
The Discovery of Haarlem introduces the player to historical sites in the city of historic city of Haarlem, the place where amongst others the painter Frans Hals lived. Around the Grand Market, people will be called and challenged for a game. At a place close to the river Spaarne the player embodies a farmer coming back from the market and he has to bring across the river chicken, maize and meat; the player will have to the three commodities across without the chicken eating the maize.

The game is played with a PDA, guided by a GPS connection. The game was programmed in Flash and C++. This made a rapid development possible, easy to use, applicable on a broad platform and it was graphically attractive. But besides the excitement about the game, the students also experienced the potential problems such as a short battery life and the availability as well as the lack of precision of GPS. Flash turned out to be a disturbing factor in the game.

The (rather traditional) publishing company is eagerly awaiting the project results. On the basis of the results it will set out a publishing policy for the future. But the decision will not only be taken on the basis of the project, but also on the basis of the desk research. Examples and business cases can only be convincing.

The student working on the project had done research in location based games. He had looked into the Node from the Location Based Media Company. Sony is co-publishing the mobile game The Shroud, which offers a role playing game. You can also use your mobile to race someone (virtually or physically) by bike or boat (virtually or physically) as is demonstrated by RealReplay. And the 3G location based game Frequency 1550 by the Waag Foundation in Amsterdam, a mobile game teaching about the history of Amsterdam, has become almost a standard. But location based games are also going virtual as is demonstrated in Raygun and Plundr.

From my own experience as jury member of the Europrix Top talent Award, a European young talent up to 30 years competition, I have seen pass by many a mobile application and location based examples. Just to list a few: Golf Caddy, a detective game The Journey, a historical location based game Annas Geheimnis and the mobile visual object recognizer More for Graz.

While on the subject of mobile entertainment, I picked up a piece of market research. The Dutch mobile consumer spends EUR 68 mln on data services. That is the estimate spent on the mobile data service, according to a report by the Dutch telecom research bureau Telecom.paper. Dutch mobile users spent EUR 65 million on data services in the first quarter of 2007. However, more than 50 percent of Dutch mobile users do not spend anything on mobile data services. Among the consumers that do buy data services, postpaid users spend 30 percent more on data services than prepaid users. Postpaid users also send more messages than prepaid users. These results are based on a survey among 2,000 mobile consumers.

Blog Posting Number: 804

Tags: ,

No comments: