Mobile game publisher Glu Mobile aims to eliminate the boredom that plagues the taxi driver while he waits for a fare or the commuter during those interminable minutes before the train.
We are running right now in Spain an outdoor campaign on big billboards on city buses with the slogan, 'I love to wait', said Patrick Mork, marketing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Glu, which rolls out some 20 to 25 games per year at a development cost between $100,000 and $350,000 each.
It's kind of cynical because nobody loves to wait for the bus or the tube, but the point we are trying to communicate is those annoying bits of the day where you really don't know what to do -- you're sitting waiting for a bus that's 15 minutes late again -- are the perfect time to play games, Mork told Reuters.
Thanks to shorter development times in comparison with publishers of console games, Glu can offer customers more content based on locally popular board games or sports such as cricket, which can be played for a few minutes on the go.
Not everybody is going to want to play a shoot-'em-up on their handset. You got to offer somebody a kind of snack of the video games industry as opposed to a 12-course meal, he said on the sidelines of the Games Convention in Leipzig.
Mobile games don't compete at all with the wider video games industry. If anything we complement it, help (it) grow.
California-based Glu has recently cut deals to distribute Konami mobile games, including Pro Evolution Soccer, as well as develop titles such as Age of Empires III and Call of Duty 4. It competes with Electronic Arts Inc. and Europe's Gameloft.
Apart from their lower risk associated with launching more new titles, mobile games can stay current for users longer, since customers can discover games for the first time by either upgrading their handset or their price plan or changing carriers.
Growth could be enormous, given that only about 5 percent of the people who own the normal Java-enabled mobile phones actually download games for a few dollars each. Some industry analysts estimate the market could be worth as much as $11 billion by 2010.
Mobile games are distributed mainly through (telecoms) operator portals ... Why not have mobile games available via Bluetooth at kiosks and train stations or at every single retail store of every single operator? he said.
Developing hit games for the mobile phone is complicated, however, by the evolutionary speed of the industry and by a lack of reliable market data, since telecoms operators are often loath to provide game firms anything more than basic information on consumer tastes or demand.
One of the things that our industry doesn't have, which we're desperately calling out, for is transparency, Mork said.
The global mobile gaming industry is currently in a shake-out, which should continue because some small rivals have been living from hand to mouth and have been unable to reinvest, he said.
Glu is considering whether to enter the market for erotic mobile games such as a form of 'sexy poker' to combat rival offerings in which a gamer blows away space invaders to reveal a less than scantily clad beauty.
Erotic content is a huge topic for us (as an industry). More or less every German operator keeps telling you 'you have to do erotic games', said Sabine Hahn, central Europe territory manager for Glu.
Mork added that while his company targets all 18 to 34 year olds, not just men, this slice of the market is too significant to completely ignore.
We're obviously constantly analyzing and looking at all the segments in detail and seeing if we have the right offering. We currently don't really have an offering in erotic games ... We're looking at the numbers and trying to understand what the needs are, he said, adding that a decision should come relatively soon.
-- Additional reporting by Niclas Mika