The first half of the Mobile and Online Games Forum was today and the trek in was well worth it. The conference for the most part has been very good with many thought provoking presentations made by people like Robert Tercek of Multimedia Networks, Matthew Bellows of Floodgate Entertainment, Wade Tinney of Large Animal Games, Eric Zimmerman of GameLab, and Alex St. John, founder of WildTangent. I especially got a kick out of Matthew Bellows's presentation (once it got started - I always love when technical difficulties pop up for the technical people) when he announced to the audience that he'd also be in pictochat during his presentation if anyone had anything to say they could communicate it through there. Alex St. John is also quite a character. I was looking forward to hearing him speak as I remember when he wrote for Maximum PC and he always had pretty good columns. He didn't disappoint as he had quite a bit to say about his companies new technology which in a sense solves many of the problems of marketing and sales for online games - the question of if he can actually turn the internet into a working arcade has yet to be answered though. Basically - you'll buy virtual currency for a fraction of what it would cost to own the game so you can play it in sessions so paying for the game becomes more manageable - but it actually better for the developer then a flat rental system. The problem I for see is that as a customer - If I feel I'm getting ripped off, or that I MIGHT even get ripped off - I wouldn't do it. No one has ever done anything like this before so It really could work. Or it could be a travesty. Given his track record though, I wouldn't bet against him.
Robert, Wade and Eric really helped to put the mobile and online games market in perspective. For someone who hasn't really followed the mobile or online game business market, they pretty much summed up the stop gaps and pitfalls of development for the respective platforms. Very thoughtful presentations and really will take a bit of time to digest. Overall though, it sounds like the mobile games market could use a hand in its business model and the games need to take better advantage of the platform's features ( IE voice, text messages, GPS and for some, camera abilities). Tomorrow should be just as interesting...