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  #1  
Старый 08.07.2004, 19:15
Аватар для Mihalych
Mihalych Mihalych вне форума
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Lightbulb Mobile Game Publishers Review

Mobile Game Publishers Review: (M)forma

As part of the Mobile Game Publishers Review, Mobile Game Developer had an interview with (M)forma's Kimberly Tassin, director of corporate communications. Some of our questions were also answered by Nic Garner, VP of production. -- Exclusive

(M)forma is one of the biggest mobile games publishers out there, which tends to takes active role in many of the industry's events. (M)forma also raised an amazing amount of $44 million recently.


Sure interesting to know what these guys have to say…

Getting to know MFORMA:

Hello, before we start could you please present yourself and your role in MFORMA?
Kimberly: My name is Kimberly Tassin, director of corporate communications.

Describe MFORMA and what you do briefly.
Kimberly: MFORMA is the leading global provider of mobile entertainment in the U.S. and Europe and a leading provider in Asia and South America. Mforma currently provides more than 125 applications to more than 60 leading wireless carriers worldwide.

Where is MFORMA located?

Kimberly: Corporate headquarters are in Kirkland Washington USA. Satellite offices in San Diego, California, London & Cambridge UK, Seoul, Korea, and Shanghai, China.

How can developers contact MFORMA?
Kimberly: Developer contact info is on our web site. www.mforma.com.


General Publishing Questions

What platforms do you cover?
Kimberly: All — J2ME, BREW, Mophun, SMS, MMS, WAP, etc.

Which ones are the most critical?
Kimberly: Java and BREW, XHTML.
Nic: Presently, J2ME and BREW are the most critical.

What devices do you publish to? What devices do you focus on?
Kimberly: All top mobile devices. We currently port to all handsets.
Nic: Primary devices include all Verizon BREW handsets, all Sprint devices, Nokia, series 60, series 40, series 30 and the Motorola Triplets. However, it is important to stress that in our opinion, all devices are key, especially the lower-end and small form factor handsets.
Kimberly: We currently port to 40 different handsets and the list grows just about every month when a carrier launches a new handset.

.What geographical areas do you cover?
Kimberly: Four continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia.

What types of games are you currently publishing?

Kimberly: All genres: arcade, RPG, puzzle, casual, multiplayer, sports, casino, etc.

What types of games are you looking for?

Kimberly: Any kind that are of top quality.
We have games in all genres. Our goal is to provide something for every mobile audience. Though quality is a subjective thing, that is what we are looking for -- games that we know will be hits with users and game reviewers. Games have to have excellent graphics; gameplay has to be smooth and reactive, concept has to be clever and exciting and original, and (in the case of branded titles) has to maintain the integrity of the brand at a very high level.

Which operators and portals do you normally work with?
Kimberly: All leading wireless operators worldwide.
MFORMA currently delivers content to more than 60 operators worldwide. This means just about every one you can think of. A partial list includes: Verizon Wireless, Sprint PCS, T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Nextel, Vodafone, Orange, 02, China Mobile, Telefonica, VIVO, 3, Mobilkom Austria, Mobistar, Radiolinja, Westel, Wind, Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, Telstra, Eurotel, Bell Mobility, Pelephone, Cosmote, Telia Sonera, etc.

What type of promotional activities do you do to market a game? (Web, TV, Events etc)
Kimberly: Routinely engage in co-marketing programs with operators and other partners. These marketing programs include contests, promotions at trade shows and other events, print, web, etc.

Are you taking some developers with you to events?

Kimberly: We have not done this yet. Most of our marketing / promotional programs are tied to and driven by the wireless carrier partner.


Developers Issues

What would you expect from a developer approaching you? (both new developers and experienced ones)
Kimberly: Do to the increasing volume of developer proposals, MFORMA has established a policy that is designed to protect developers and MFORMA from legal liability. MFORMA does not accept unsolicited submissions and MFORMA will not accept submissions directly from developers. Any proposals sent to MFORMA should be submitted through a reputable agent or attorney. Many developer ideas and proposals are similar, and confusion regarding ownership of these ideas and proposals is a subject of litigation all over the world. MFORMA considers its relationships with developers to be very important and wants to protect these relationships for the benefit of the mobile entertainment industry as well as the developer community.

Do you have any special requirements from developers you publish? (Specific devices they must port to, having your/operator logo, etc)

Kimberly: We require all of our titles to be developed in BREW and J2ME. Specific handset reference builds are required initially. These builds must take advantage of all key handset features and exploit networking capabilities if appropriate.

What exact handsets do you refer to?
Kimberly: This varies by carrier. When a developer is used for a specific project it is based on carrier launch schedules and carrier handset choices.
Nic: The basic reference requirement for BREW is the LG VX6000 and Nokia 3589i.
The basic reference requirement for J2ME is the Nokia series 60 (3650, 6600, 7650, 3660 & Ngage) and Nokia series 40 (3100, 3200, 3300, 5100, 6100, 6200, 6230, 6610, 6650, 6800, 7210 & 7250).
The basic reference requirement for Sprint J2ME is the Sanyo 5300 and Samsung A500.

Do you do the QA internally or is it done by a 3rd party? If by a 3rd company, which one? When do you start the QA procedure?
Kimberly: QA is handled internally. QA is an ongoing process that starts with the “First Playable”. Full QA testing begins with the Beta submission of the reference builds.

Do you do localization? To how many languages? What are the primary languages you translate your games to?
Kimberly: We localise all of our titles for the appropriate market. We routinely deliver titles in English, French, Italian, German & Spanish.
Nic: The translations are done by a number of translation houses and the localised builds are completed by (M)FORMA. We have in-country teams in the U.S., UK, China, Korea.

Do you supply devices to developers? On what terms?
Kimberly: When necessary, we will loan devices to developers.

Do you license brands? How do you choose the developer getting the branded project?
Kimberly: Yes, we license brands. Developers are invited to pitch concepts for titles based on licensed brands.

What is the development period you expect from a developer for a normal title?
Nic: As a rule of thumb, three months is ample time to develop a great game. QA testing and bug fix can add between four to six weeks. However, game types vary wildly and each presents its own demands. As such, development and QA times vary accordingly. Naturally, developers want as much time as they can get to develop a product but publishers traditionally want everything yesterday. Achieving a balance between creativity and commercial realism is the key to near perfect production.

Do you have an internal development team that external developers can contact for technical questions?
Kimberly: Yes.

Are most developers approching you "new faces" or experienced ones?
Kimberly: Experienced ones, but new developers are welcomed.

What would you suggest a developer to check before choosing a publisher?
Kimberly: Distribution power, localization/porting capability, creative compatibility, great brands, earning potential.

Do you offer projects to some of your developers or are you expecting them to choose their own projects?
Kimberly: We offer projects.

Do you sometimes match between musicians/artists/programmers and developers?
Kimberly: Only where our internal teams are concerned. We expect external developers to manage their own studios. When it is necessary we will offer help.

Any comments on the developers in the mobile game industry? Common misbeliefs, work habits, etc?
Kimberly: A healthy mix of creativity and commercial realism is the key to a studio’s success.


Revenues

Do you sometimes finance development projects? On what terms?

Kimberly: Yes, we finance developments and our terms are always equitable.

What types of revenue share can developers expect? (In the general case)

Kimberly: Revenue share terms are also equitable and should always be looked at within the context of the publisher’s distribution reach.

Based on your experience, what is the usual lifetime of a leading game? How much money can a leading game expect to earn in that lifetime? (of course this depends on many factors. But in the general case, what should developers expect from a successful title?)
Kimberly: Developers should expect a healthy return on a good title. I might add that the industry is still so young it is hard to say about the lifetime of a leading game. Some of our most popular games are based on older brands and have been more popular than predicted. So popular in some cases that a sequel has been planned (for example, Top Gun Air Combat, based on the hit Tom Cruise movie of 20 years ago, still sells really well and has been around for well over a year.

Do you offer porting projects to external developers? What's the price range and to what devices usually?
Kimberly: Porting opportunities are always available to good development teams. We require ports to all mobile phone devices.
Nic: Generally, platform ports (J2ME to BREW, for example) involve a higher financial outlay than handset ports. There is no financial difference between ports to high and low-end handsets.

Some handset ports are easier to accomplish than others. Some titles are easier to port than others. A particular reference may port to one handset with just a small amount of adjustment whilst a port of the same reference to another handset may involve a day of recoding and a new set of graphics. There’s no reason to price these jobs differently. The development landscape is fragmented enough without complicating it further.

Do you find games published through operators gain more popularity / revenue than games published on independent portals, or the other way around?
Kimberly: At present, operators offer the biggest opportunity.


Vision

What type of games, or what features, do you think will be on demand in the market by the end of 2004 / begining of 2005? (Multiplayer, bluetooth, social games, more PC ports, etc)
Kimberly: Community based games and applications will prove popular.
Nic: Games targeted to women and games/entertainment with a social aspect will prove popular. This covers a range of application types from relatively simple pass-and-play games to massively multiplayer extravaganzas; from chat and dating based applications to real-time community sims.

Also, messaging from one game to another has the potential to enhance the general gaming experience immensely, especially where strategy and team-based games are concerned. Also, Bluetooth’s potential is ripe for exploitation. Detail and complexity is not the only way to go however and the wise developer might consider more simple ways to entertain an audience too.

Of course, there will always be room for more great standalone side scrolling and top down shooters, beat ‘em ups and racing games.

http://www.cfxweb.net/mobile


Последний раз редактировалось Mihalych, 08.07.2004 в 19:44.
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  #2  
Старый 08.07.2004, 19:19
Аватар для Mihalych
Mihalych Mihalych вне форума
Hard Worker
 
Регистрация: 10.04.2004
Адрес: Road|Moscow|Voronezh|Etc..
Компания: Dynamic Pixels
Должность: President
Сообщений: 3,185
По умолчанию Mobile Game Publishers Review: Gameloft

As part of our Mobile Game Publishers Review, we had Anne-Laure Descleves, Gameloft's corporate communications manager, answer our questions. -- Exclusive

Getting to know Gameloft

Hello Anne-Laure, before we start could you please present yourself and your role in Gameloft?
I’m the corporate communications manager at Gameloft; I’m in charge of all communication for the Group (corporate, events, financial communication and product communications, along with PRs).


Describe Gameloft and what you do shortly.

Gameloft is a developer / publisher of games for mobile phones and currently a leader in the field. Gameloft has 300 employees, around 230 in production and the remaining ones are mainly in sales & marketing.

We have started developing java & brew games very early – our first game, Prince of Persia Harem Adventures for Siemens Sl45i has been published on April 2002.


Where is Gameloft located?

We’re international, with strong implementation in America (Sales offices in NY, San Francisco and Montréal, Canada) and Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain) and Asia (China, Hong Kong & Japan).


How can developers contact Gameloft?

If you want to apply for a job, the best is to contact our HR Director through jobs@gameloft.com. If people have developing projects they want to publish, they can address them to publishing@gameloft.com


General Publishing Questions

What platforms do you cover? (java, brew, exen, mophun etc)

As of today, we mainly cover Java, Brew, Symbian and i-mode (DoJa), but we’re open to any open standard when the installed based is large enough for a project to be profitable (like MS Windows Mobile, Palm or Linux).

We do not develop on non open standards like Exen or Mophun.


What devices do you publish to? What devices do you focus on?
We have already published games on over 90 different cell phones. We concentrate on the most popular ones – which are often not the most technologically advanced, to be realistic. We work on devices by major manufacturers (Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sharp, Sony-Ericsson, Siemens, Sagem, LG, Alcatel, Nec, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Sanyo, etc. )


What geographical areas do you cover?

Our games are available in around 50 countries so far, from USA to Malaysia and Poland to Chile.


What types of games are you currently publishing?

We’re covering all genres. We’ve got «video games» genres, like the Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 and Prince of Persia, along with «sports» games like 2004 Real Soccer and Skate & Slam or «casual» games like Chessmaster, Solitaire and Block Breaker.

We believe we’re addressing a large target audience, from traditional vidoe games players, to non-gamers.


What types of games are you looking for?
We’re currently looking to complete our catalogue with all kind of games.


Which operators and portals do you normally work with?
We have signed direct distribution agreements with almost 90 telecom operators so far, which makes us the leading publisher in that field. Our games are online with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange, China Mobile, China Unicom and others..


What type of promotional activities do you do to market a game? (Web, TV, Events etc)
According to the distribution agreements we have with most operators and media, they’re doing the marketing of games (TV, print ads, etc.). But we also have our own portal (www.gameloft.com) that we advertise through print ads mainly.


Developers Issues

Let’s begin by explaining we didn't work with external developers until recently. All our games up until today were developed internally. We’re currently developing everything in-house, from the initial design document, the development, consumer’s focus groups, porting to all devices, localization in 8 main languages, and all tests for all these versions.

We have tried for three years working with third parties, which has not been successful mainly because the market was not mature enough. Consequently, quality standards were not settled, and quality of games were too irregular and globally speaking rather poor. At Gameloft, our priority has always been the consumer’s satisfaction and we have always been very strict on quality.

However, market is changing today and we’re starting to see good games created by external studios. Moreover, this market is diversified, most than in the traditional video game world. A non-specialized publisher as Gameloft has to publish various genres such as casual, action, sports, and others. Therefore, we are increasingly looking for new content and new genres to complete our existing catalogue.

Consequently, our position on the third party topic has just changed recently and we’re now actively seeking for external development projects.

From our experience in the issue, I’ll also develop the kind of problems we have when looking for original projects:
Projects vs. existing game catalogue: Some developers propose to us projects when we have very similar concepts in our catalogue or concepts that we strongly believe won’t reach a large, international audience (which is our objective today). We don’t doubt niche genres can become profitable; it’s simply not our strategy at the moment.
Technological complexity: Our market offers strong technological potential for games, like 3D projects, geo-localization, online gaming, 3G downloading and so on. These new technologies are obviously promising and we’re all excited about the games and gameplay we’ll be able to implement using them. However, today almost all of these technologies are work-in-progress. Both business and technology concerns have not been solved and starting now creating a 3D MMORPG on cell phones is unrealistic if you want the project to be earning and running on a large scale.
However, we remain reluctant today with third parties porting our games. Our main issue is the delivery time. According to our experience, we sometimes have to wait for three to four months for ports of games, whereas our clients demand us very strict deadlines. We cannot afford taking the risk of having any delays in the delivery process. That’s why we’re porting every game internally today.


What would you expect from a developer approaching you? (both new developers and experienced ones)
We demand the developer to be very strict on quality, whatever the kind of game he’s developing. There are many good games of all genres on the market today which could be used as a reference.


Do you have any special requirements from developers you publish? (specific devices they must port to, having your/operator logo, etc)
No, nothing special.


Do you do the QA internally or is it done by a 3rd party? If by a 3rd company, which one? When do you start the QA procedure?

Internally.


Do you do localization? To how many languages? What are the primary languages you translate your games to?
Internally, to English, Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese.


Do you supply devices to developers? On what terms?
We’re trying to avoid this since we’re already lack phones. However, phone access should not be an issue.


Do you license brands? How do you choose the developer getting the branded project?
We’re looking for creations projects independent from brands.


What is the development period you expect from a developer for a normal title?
A creation should take around 6 months.


Do you have an internal development team that external developers can contact for technical questions?
Yes, definitively. Third parties have access to our in-house producer and he/she can refer to anybody internally to help solve out the questions.


Are most developers approaching you "new faces" or experienced ones?
Well, most of them already have experience in development like on Palm, PDAs and GBA. More and more also have experience in developing in J2ME or Symbian.

What would you suggest a developer to check before choosing a publisher?
I’ll invite him to check the publisher capacity to publish the game on most channels, with efficient sales force whose job is dedicated to push games. I’ll also invite him to check the publisher’s financial strength.


Do you offer projects to some of your developers or are you expecting them to choose their own projects?
We offer them projects but if they have existing experience on specific or exotic market where we still lack some, their advice will be more than welcome.

Any comments on the developers in the mobile game industry? Common misbelieves, work habits, etc?
What is not so well known yet:
There are enormous constraints in mobile development. First of all, the size of an application which cannot weight over 150k (otherwise it cannot be downloaded over the air).

These constraints do not - and must not - prevent developers from doing quality and modern gameplay. Our games may look old-fashion at first sight, but they’re not while being played.

It’s a market where international game potential and largest audience potential is key. Publisher and operators are looking for traditional games and brands.

Brands will be key.

Even if 1 game for 1 cell phone is easy to develop, don’t believe we’re back to the eighties where any genius alone in its garage could create the new PacMan. It’s already a complex industry with big players. Marketing support from media and operators are essential to offer game visibility.
Revenues

[ all the our original questions were answered in the following paragraph ]

Let’s say that we have a good idea of how much a development costs, and our financial objective is to reach to a win-win relationship with our partners, in order to built long term relationships. Regarding the lifetime of a game, it’s hard to answer since we do not have lots of return on experience. Our best-selling game as of today is still “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” that we launched 2 years go. Still, let’s not generalize right now. The market is still at the begining, people only now start to get equipped with new phones.

Regarding the best channels, it’s obviously the operators today, and from time to time, local media channels can complete the operators. All depends on their marketing dynamics and willingness.

Vision

What type of games, or what features, do you think will be on demand in the market by the end of 2004 / begining of 2005? (Multiplayer, bluetooth, social games, more PC ports, etc)
All kind of games, from “girls-dedicated" - to war games. This market has strong potential for all genres.

Regarding the technology, multiplayer remains a very complex issue today and we don’t see it getting better in the coming months.

http://www.cfxweb.net/mobile

Последний раз редактировалось Mihalych, 08.07.2004 в 19:43.
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