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The future of Mobile Gaming — Interview With David Kainer

The future of mobile gaming is being formed by exciting new technologies that allow multiplayer gaming. This article is an interview that shows a discussion between a mobile industry blog and the Managing Director of Viva La Mobile. It highlights the current state of the mobile gaming market and looks to the future trend of multiplayer mobile gaming.

Job interviewer: Hi David, thanks for spending some time to talk to us. We have been having a thrilling time with Super Challenge Bobble Multiplayer and can’t wait for Viva to drop another hit! But before we go on, can you please tell the readers a little bit about Viva La Mobile and what you guys do over there?

David: Happy to chat and extremely happy to hear you enjoyed Challenge Bobble Multiplayer.

So a little background first. Viva La Mobile is a mobile games developer and publisher located in Quarterly report i always co-founded in 2003. We have a great deal of experience designing and creating mobile games of all kinds, but our specialty is multiplayer. We pioneered real-time multiplayer on mobiles with the features available on 3G networks and mobile phones. Early on in our history we do not target the ‘low hanging fruit’ end of the market and try to provide something different to mobile gamers. I have always wanted to maintain Viva La Mobile’s position as an innovator rather than a follower. This can be risky in the mobile games industry but it is certainly more pleasurable for product development.

Job interviewer: I have a love/hate relationship with the iphone. I love it because it’s unbelievably cool, obviously, I hate it because it’s not available in Australia and the lack of 3G makes me wonder what Apple were smoking. The facts about the iphone that makes winning contests so fun? Is there a great difference between regular mobile games and iphone games? How do you think the iphone will impact the Foreign mobile games market when it finally arrives?

David: To be honest I have not really made much effort to look into games on the iphone, probably because I don’t have one! My view, though, is that the iphone is little regarding green beautiful high end phone with games to suit. This is just like Nokia’s new N-Gage allowed mobile phones. The games might be great but at the end of the day it is a small area of the overall market. And once the iphone arrives it will definitely capture a share of the market and probably lift the image of mobile phone games in the eyes of consumers which is a positive thing. In the end we want to target it as yet another phone amongst the hundreds we already try to reach. As for the lack of 3G, I am still banging my head in wonder, though I hear it’s coming quickly.

Job interviewer: There’s no disputing that Viva La Mobile are the authority on Multiplayer Mobile Games. Will multiplayer mobile games function as the future? Will every single mobile game have multiplayer functionality?

David: Multiplayer on mobile has enormous growth potential and I think as the 3G market grows you will find advanced multiplayer games being played in greater and greater numbers due to the faster connection and the tendency of 3G users to essentially ‘use’ the features of their phones. However I don’t believe that every mobile game will have multiplayer functionality — its not all game needs it. I think it is important that a multiplayer game be manufactured for multiple players in the first place, rather than simply tacking on a multiplayer mode to a game that is obviously designed as single player.

There will be great single player games that simply aren’t approving to playing against opponents. But when you have a great game that lets you directly defeat your friends or other players from around the globe it takes the competitive and social facets of gaming up a straight. Mobile phones are a great medium for multiplayer games because they are designed for connection and global interaction. At Viva La Mobile we have always maintained that it is more pleasurable to play with someone else than to play with yourself.

Job interviewer: I’m a sucker for big-branded mobile games like Iron Man; however I’m often disappointed by the poor gameplay and raced level design. It seems each of these games, especially movie tie-ins, are raced to production with the idea that customers will pay for anything with a brand attached. Viva La Mobile has been on both sides of this argument, with branded games like Super Challenge Bobble and non-branded games like Badlands. How important is a brand when it comes to making a game that sells? Are branded games the future? Will there be any room for the little guy?

David: You’re just right about the movie tie-ins. We continually see big branded titles with second rate action being raced to the carrier units with the premiss that customers will pay for anything with a brand attached. And the sad thing is they often times do. It’s caused some real problems as consumers aren’t dummies and the poor affordable being offered by some of these big brands is keeping the growth of the industry flat. I think the major sales channels (carrier decks) may be guilty here too as they will push anything with a big brand to the the top of deck at the expense of unbranded titles that may have awesome game-play innovation within. Innovation is not being paid and the little guy is finding the going tough. The internet effect is that more innovative companies are turning away from the carrier units and this is probably where the long run future of the industry lies.

When Viva La Mobile licensed Challenge Bobble for multiplayer we did so for just two significant reasons: It is a well realised games brand with a proven history of success, and it is built on solid enslaving game-play. It has been a popular game wherever we launch it, but our non-branded multiplayer titles have likewise held their own. A title like Badlands has prevailed long term on the merits of its real-time multiplayer innovation — there simply isn’t anything else out there that is comparable to it. So innovative un-branded mobile games can succeed without a brand, but take a lot longer and require a viral buzz.

Job interviewer: Aside from Viva’s great selection of games, do you play mobile games yourself? If so, what’s your favourite title right now and why? What elements do you think make up a great mobile game?

David: Part of our business involves the distribution of mobile games from other developers to channels in the Asia-Pacific market, so i do get to play a lot of games as they come in and sometimes I get a little enslaved by them and discover myself playing them on the bus in the morning. I am a sucker for RPGs and Strategy games so in recent years I have been getting into Townsmen 4. It is a great little city building or Management game (Sim City style except with Monks) that is simply well designed for mobile and really enslaving. Townsmen is good for short bursts of play which is good for mobile. It also doesn’t act as a PC game and put more on the screen than is possible.

The best mobile games recognise that the platform is small in screen and graphics power, yet wonderfully linked to potentially billions of people wirelessly. This, of course, is why we believe multiplayer games have such a strong future.

Job interviewer: Finally, what is Viva La Mobile going to serve the Foreign mobile market with this year? The gamers are eager and they can’t wait!

David: There will be a great deal of activity at Viva La Mobile next one fourth. In the first half of 08 we kicked off our Multiplayer Tourneys for Prizes effort with several carriers around the world with great success. For the second half of 08 i will be bringing out a new multiplayer product range that aims to shake in the mobile games market a whole lot. Let’s just say that i will be aiming to please millions of mobile gamers who are demanding something better than badly built movie-branded games and we want to reward people for playing and competing with your games.

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