An estimated 55,000 telecomms industry professionals came together for 3GSM World Congress last week in Barcelona, where for the first time the event hosted a Mobile and Entertainment Content Zone, along with round-table discussions in the Mobile Entertainment Summit.
Out sister site, MobileIndustry.biz was on hand to cover all the news and speak with leading players in the rapidly changing mobile gaming market. Here, we present a summary of the key announcements during the week, and issues that are expected to drive the market over the next year and beyond.
During a round-table entitled Mobile Games: Casual or Compelling?, RealNetworks' Gunnar Larson called on the industry to address what he sees as three essential issues holding back mobile gaming from reaching the mainstream.
Echoing concerns that are relevant to the mobile market as a whole, not just gaming, the EMEA executive called out the quality of mobile games and content, retail and pricing structure, and the on-going adoption of new technology as areas vital to market growth.
Pricing and the retail experience is also at the forefront of David Gosen's mind, with the I-Play boss revealing that the company intends to introduce bundle packages to the mobile market.
Already a familiar concept in videogame retailing, I-Play will package games, wallpapers, ringtones, movie clips and more - with the first offering built around a release in The Fast and Furious franchise and due in the US later this year.
I-Play was also the winner of the prestigious Best Made for Mobile Game Award at the 12th Annual GSM Association Global Mobile Awards, for racing title The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo.
THQ Wireless revealed it had snapped up the rights to produce mobile games based on the Lego Batman license in 2007, in a year that will also see releases such as the Disney/Pixar collaboration Ratatouille, Worms Crazy Golf and new entries in the Stuntman and WWE franchises.
Glu Mobile used the event to detail a strengthened relationship with Codemasters. The publisher will create titles based on some of the Britsoft company's key brands including TOCA Race Driver, Operation Flashpoint, Colin McRae Rally and LMA Manager.
German start-up company LBXGames announced a number of titles, technology and partners at 3GSM, as the company looks to establish a presence in the mobile online multiplayer market.
MobileIndustry.biz also caught up with Gameloft's vice president of publishing Gonzague de Vallois, to discuss the risks of licensed titles, plans for 2007 and his thoughts on the key technology drivers for the future of mobile gaming. The full interview can be read here.