17112005037.jpgWorld Telemedia Day 2: Enda Carey, iFone

Based in UK, 5 years old. In 50 countries, on 80 operators. License from Atari, Sony, SEGA: Monopoly, Sonic, etc.

Too many handset variants. Slow ROI for publishers. High dev costs. Lack of "real" data from carriers to prioritise. Slow churn. Smaller territories have lots of legacy handsets. Voda introduce a new one every week, old ones aren't getting retired!

Future trends: more personalisation, new business/payment models: subs, rental, one-offs. More game enabled handsets (of course), better game design. Games specific to mobile will come; they have to, to avoid mobile being seen as the poor cousin of the PC. Lots of operators are pushing community management back to publishers... e.g. Vodafone want to own their community of gamers, but have no interest in running the Monopoly community.

Connected features: chat, hi score, leagues/ladders, tournaments, prize giving, adding value to overall experience.

Upcoming features: 3D, LBS, tilt, vibration, better sound and memory. 3D can triple the cost and time-to-market for a publisher; Enda seems sceptical about the use of 3D on limited devices - all sounds very sensible. Standardised interfaces, logins, demos, timeouts, etc.

New peripherals: analogue joysticks for phones, screen magnifiers, touch sensitive screens, TV outs.

How can developers help: establish standards, innovate, understand publishers.

They've never gotten a title launched with more than 30 of the 50 MNOs they work with.

How can handset manufacturers help? Standardise the platform, be more flexible on biz models. Want more sharing of information about the market in distributors: from handset vendors, publishers, etc. There's too many predictions and not enough stats.

So overall message: it's difficult now. It's going to be great.