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NVIDIA: Room for premium content on Android

People paying more for high-end games "an absolute beacon for developers"

As graphical power continues to increase on smartphones and tablets, developers will find a growing demand for higher budget mobile game offerings amongst a customer base willing to pay for them.

That is according to hardware manufacturer NVIDIA, whose senior corporate manager Bea Longworth spoke to GamesIndustry.biz about its increasing focus on mobile chipsets in an interview published yesterday.

Speaking about the latest Tegra series chipsets for Android phones - which the company believes can soon eclipse the current console generation in terms of graphical power - Longworth was keen to stress that there is room for much more than just cheap and free-to-play titles in the mobile market place.

People are willing to pay a bit more for games which have added goodness on a higher-end platform. That has to be an absolutely beacon for developers

Bea Longworth, NVIDIA

"There's a choice to be made there by developers whether they want they want to go for the mass-market option, create something which caters to the lowest common denominator, can run on a very wide install base but is fairly basic, or whether they want to create something that it is optimised around high-end mobile hardware so potentially reaches a smaller install base but at the same time they can charge a premium for it."

The company has created an app on the Android Marketplace, Tegra Zone, which Longworth says enables users to find content optimised for the latest NVIDIA hardware: "we did find that even though there was a premium on the prices for these games, they have been extremely popular and I think they actually topped the Android Marketplace in the charts in the US.

"So that demonstrates that people are willing to pay a bit more for games which have added goodness on a higher-end platform. That has to be an absolutely beacon for developers, if they see that they can create content that people are willing to pay a premium for then that's very exciting for them.

It is perhaps this "beacon" that drew Ratchet & Clank and Resistance developer Insomniac to form the new mobile focussed division Insomniac Click last week, with chief creative officer Brian Hastings then stressing that there will always be a mix between so-called 'casual' and 'core' games of quality - a point echoed by Longworth.

"There will be always the extremely addictive, basic, Angry Birds-style game where people don't mind having a few adverts on the screen and you play for just five minutes at a time. But there will also increasingly be a segment that it is a more immersive type of mobile gaming, where people are willing to pay a premium to get that better experience and enhanced gameplay."

These statements come in the wake of criticism for Apple's App Store from Chair Entertainment, developer of top-end iPhone title Infinity Blade, as CEO Donald Mustard suggested that the store's charts naturally favour the cheaper "99 cent" games.

"I wish and long for a day when that would change, because it would help encourage developers to not feel like they had to make their app 99 cents," he said. "I think that if we're really going to get applications and games... To create something of the quality of Infinity Blade costs a considerable amount of money. It was almost hard to justify selling it at $5.99, let alone 99 cents."

The full interview with Longworth is available now.

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