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Blizzard building up mobile roles, but what to come of it?

May 9, 2007
Some buzz around the mobile industry about certain game companies, including Blizzard Entertainment (World Of Warcraft, Diablo & Starcraft fame), that are building up or creating mobile divisions to their companies.
The big question is, are they setting up & trying to munge down their PC & console franchises into mobile versions or maybe, just maybe, will we finally start to see true converged Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Gaming. By converged I mean the actual PC or console franchise being enhanced by adding mobile device functionality to specific aspects of the game.
It’s quite one thing to get your wonderful brand that has been designed for the powerful game centric PC or console platforms and then try and bastardise the poor thing into submission by designing a poor Java cousin of it’s original self to fit into a low-end mobile device world. Versus making a functional extension of the game into the mobile realm by allowing access to specific game functionality that would suite the mobile interface. 
For instance:
  • Communicating – the ability to participate in the game world conversations either via text or voice & video using the mobile device.
  • Remote viewing – ability to view a game world event on the mobile device. Like watching a battle, seeing a virtual show etc. A company a couple years ago demonstrated to me the ability to use the 3G mobile video to show remote viewing of the virtual environment to see if anything required your attention.
  • Alerts – or about being alerted either via SMS/MMS/EMAIL or voice, video call to events in the online game world. or being notified when a deadline to enter a time delayed mission may be nearing. I have played a few games that use e-mail in clever ways to alert if your game world assets became under threat.
  • Skill enhancing/practising – Being able to practise or hone specific skills or perform those monotonous tasks for your character or their game  world assets.
  • Planning – research in other game characters or their game world assets, the game world environment for battle plans, mission availabilities or general strategy.
  • Trading – get involved in auctions or your game world shop management, search for specific items and barter for them.

The secret with PC & console online game developers moving into the mobile environment is to embrace mobile’s strengths that it brings to their existing franchises as well as what they can gain from new development opportunities within the platform.

I await with breathless anticipation…


Posted by Shane Williamson.
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