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GCDC: Leipzig Goes Mobile

"The mobile market will be worth $10.4 billion dollars by 2010..."

In this guest editorial, Nokia's global head of industry marketing, Kamar Shah, discusses what his company hopes to achieve at Leipzig, why mobile publishers are gaining a bigger presence at both trade and consumer shows, and why the mobile industry must work together to overcome the problems it continues to face.

This morning, the Leipzig GC Developer Conference kicked off with a keynote speech from Stormfront Studios CEO Don Daglow. It was inspirational, as all opening keynote speeches should be. It showed that there is so much potential, that this is still a growing industry - and that there's still much to learn.

This is Nokia's third year at Leipzig, and every year has gotten better. Better for the business, better for developers, and better for Nokia as we've evolved within the games industry. Leipzig is a great platform to share your tools, your SDKs and your strategies with core people in the industry - the people that are making games.

There have been times in the past where you could go to a mobile event every week in Europe, but what we have found is that you have to establish which are the core events. GCDC is very focused on core developers, and on driving business, especially for the German market, which is growing all the time.

Later on this week we've got the Leipzig Games Convention, which is a consumer show, and which takes place at a time where all of the publishers and platform holders are ready to show their Christmas line-up to the gaming public. We don't have a huge consumer show for games in Europe; although there have been some in the past, it's been very difficult for them to sustain momentum. But this is a great venue, and the show has been a very successful event.

At Nokia, we're never going to attend an event just for the sake of it. An event is a marketing tool, and from a business perspective, it must be seen as a tool to achieve your objectives. Our first objective here at Leipzig is to show the evolution of the N-Gage, and to demonstrate the platform as it is now.

The keynote speech I delivered this morning. 'Mobile - the multimedia computer', was designed to be inspirational. I decided to focus on what mobile gaming actually is, why we are describing the phone handset as a multimedia computer, how the device has evolved and what it means to be able to carry that device around in your pocket.

So, how does that relate to mobile gaming? The mobile market will be worth US$ 10.4 billion by 2010, which is of course a huge amount of money, but there are still hurdles to overcome. As Nokia, we want to approach those hurdles by working together with the rest of the industry.

That's why we're here - to show people that we need to expand the market by offering different distribution models, by opening the market to more people. We also want to show people how we enhance the consumer experience - how consumers can discover, buy, play and manage their games, and then share them and enjoy the community aspect through N-Gage Arena.

Thirdly, and this is really core with regard to Leipzig, we want to show people our developer offering. That's why we're planning to deliver a lecture on our APIs, our tools, our development environment and our SDK, which we're launching in the final part of this year. Our presence at Leipzig gives developers the opportunity to get their hands on this developer offering, and to take the first steps towards trying their hands at making games for N-Gage.

Overall, our main objective at Leipzig, on a global level, is to present our developer strategy with regard to the N-Gage experience, on what we're describing as multimedia computers. It's not just about coming here to preach Nokia's story. Mobile gaming is already a huge platform, and it's going to get even bigger; it's constantly evolving.

And as it evolves, the presence of mobile gaming at games industry events is getting bigger and bigger, unquestionably. On Wednesday, we'll go into the Leipzig Games Convention, which is a consumer show rather than a trade show. Attendees will be able to see for themselves the amount of mobile devices on the stands of the big publishers. True, they may only have a small section of those stands devoted to mobile gaming, but seeing as this is a consumer event, that's still hugely significant.

As for future plans with regard to Nokia's presence at games industry events, we still have a lot of thinking to do. Nokia's always enjoyed success at E3 - we've gone there for key meetings with operators, developers and publishers, in which we demonstrate our platforms, our distribution models and so on, and the show has been very beneficial for us.

I don't know what's going to happen now that E3 is evolving into a smaller show. We've just received that information, so we need to go back and digest it, and then take a look at the best ways to meet our objectives. This week, our focus is on the events taking place in Leipzig, which provide a great venue for us to communicate Nokia's message to both developers and consumers - and many opportunities for us to further secure our foothold in the mobile gaming market.

Kamar Shar is Nokia's global head of industry marketing.

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