Taking Advantage of the Growth in Mobile Gaming

Recently I gave a presentation at the Gambling Technology Strategies 2011 conference held in London. The topic was on mobile phones.

The mobile phone is the most important device of many people’s lives. I argued that the first decade of the 21st century – The Digital Decade, was about making everything digital and connecting devices using the Internet. This has led to a new digital online lifestyle, and mobile gaming is part of this lifestyle. We have today in our pocket a computer that is just the powerful as the iMac in 2000.

There are few key points made in the slides:

Practically everyone has a mobile phone. In fact, more people would give up cars and TV instead of their phones. Another point is that these phones are more like powerful computers than phone. Apple’s iPhone and many Android based phones are good examples. People are using their phones more as a computer that as a tool for making voice calls. The general trends is that new generations are simply not making phone calls as previous generations.

The fundamental change lies in how the customer experience has changed. In the 90s and early 00s, the focus was on the hardware and voice calls. In recent years this shifted to software. Now with iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7 operating system and application platform the focus is on user experience and increasingly on the context of the user.

With mobile the key is to have high context. This means that great mobile apps are built to make their specific task really easy and relative to the context of the user. For example, FourSquare, the social location game lists all the venues nearby that are popular right-now, or are the user’s favourite, than places nearby. You can search, but the app provides a context, namely nearby venues, that are more likely be what you want.

What I find surprising is that with all these opportunities to add mobile access to the online gaming, many gaming operators have not taken the advantage of the changed lifestyle.