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Mobile carriers urge developers to innovate more

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference, a panel of representatives from leading mobile carriers have urged developers to focus on producing better quality titles rather than expanding their portfolios.

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference, a panel of representatives from leading mobile carriers have urged developers to focus on producing better quality titles rather than expanding their portfolios.

Sprint Nextel's general manager, Jason Ford, said that his company rejects around 30 games per month "because many so many of them are offering the same gameplay over and over again."

"Lots of these games just aren't fun, offering wretched controls. Many of them are mediocre at best."

Sprint Nextel currently has more than 100 mobile games on offer - but Ford does not believe that an extensive catalogue equals higher profits.

"I've often wondered what would happen [to our sales] if we took down everything but 25 games," he said.

"If we took it down to 50 games, I honestly believe that my sales as a whole would be the same."

Ford went on to say that mobile gamers have higher expections when it comes to branded games - "So the publisher needs to make it a very good experience in order to satisfy the consumer."

Virgin Mobile's Ken Ruck said that the focus should be on aiming the right games at the right audience - namely teen and pre-teen mobile phone users. " We have to keep our titles relevant to that demographic. I want our games to be relevant to the overall Virgin brand experience," he said.

"Game creators need to target age-relevant games. Some of these retro arcade games are older than the consumers who are expected to buy them."

Tim Harrison, head of games at Vodafone, conceded that publishers also need to work harder to promote mobile gaming. "We can't just rely on the deck. We need to target the consumer in other ways, such as demos," he said.

"There's no question that more people listen to music and watch TV than play games. But I think we need to rise to that challenge. We need to prove that it's not a niche product."

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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