This year’s GDC 2013 was the fullest and busiest I have seen it in the many years ARM has been at the show. The sessions and expo were buzzing, and the panel we took part in – The Future of Mobile Gaming - was completely full. The panel session brought together a selection of key gaming industry influencers to talk about their opinions on the future of mobile gaming. With over 250 attendees this full capacity session brought together Baudouin Corman (Gameloft), David Helgason (Unity), Dr Chris Doran (Geomerics), Niccolo De Masi (Glu), Jasper Smith (PlayJam), Michael Ludden (Samsung Developers) and Nizar Romdhane (ARM).
A panel of this size and calibre brought to the GDC audience offered the chance for the game developer community to quiz these influencers on what’s next in gaming.
The panel got off to a fine start with a debate on the importance of AAA gaming in the mobile space. This brought out a range of opinions from AAA being the main path for mobile and the mobile experience, with many believing that consumers are looking for bigger and better experiences from gaming on their mobile devices, and that AAA is key in creating the ‘wow’ factor for the next generation mobile devices.
Consumers will need high-end content like AAA quality games to drive the use of higher performance mobile devices. The alternative opinion was that with innovation being applied to casual gaming, the expectation is that we will move away from the current categories of games with an even larger number of gaming categories – with elements of regional aspects being built into the gaming experience. David from Unity talked about how short the half-life of games were at only 2 years compared to films which are 5-10 years.
Next the audience questioned the panel on what they thought would be the key advancements in the mechanics of game play and peripherals. Many in the panel acknowledged that the mechanics of the mobile devices and the challenges they presented for a range of games, in particular, single shooter games, where to have the full experience improvements need to be made in the mechanics. Several in the panel were clear that they thought specific peripherals would need to be designed to enable the experience to be enhanced for mobile devices. They expect to see more innovation in the peripheral space.
Distribution and promotion trends were highlighted in several of the questions put forward to the panel – with expectations being that app stores would see some convergence, however the distribution is expected to remain digital. One of the key challenges with this model is smaller titles and developers being able to get their applications noted, with agreement that for a $1-2M development cost you would be looking at a comparable cost for marketing and promotion. So they expect to see more experimentation on the payment methods.
The panel was asked about their opinion on OS momentum – issues were raised about development of key mobile OS’s; however the agreement was that the improvement of third party development tools aids developers considerably. The expected strongest and biggest winners in the market are the companies that pan across all four screen types.
Here is my interview with several of the panel members conducted minutes after the discussion:
Special thanks to the Panelists:
- Baudouin Corman, VP of Publishing, Americas, Gameloft
- Jason Della Rocca, Co-founder of Execution Labs (Moderator)
- Niccolo De Masi, President and CEO, Glu Mobile
- Chris Doran, Founder & COO, Geomerics
- David Helgason, Co-Founder & CEO, Unity Technologies
- Michael Ludden, Senior Manager, Samsung Developers
- Nizar Romdhane, Director of Ecosystem, Media Processing Division, ARM
- Jasper Smith, Founder and CEO, PlayJam Inc