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August 18, 2006

Free mobile phone games

Bill Ray at The Register:

Newly launched website is to provide mobile games free of charge.

The service, which went live on Wednesday, makes money from pop-up adverts that appear for a couple of seconds when the game starts and ends.

Select a game on the site and you’ll receive an SMS with a link to the download (if you’re in the US). Otherwise, you can download the game to your PC and install it yourself. No registration is needed, and if you choose to download the games directly, you don’t even have to give out your mobile number.

As the site’s FAQ puts it: “We think mobile games should be like the web and like TV: free and supported by advertising.”

When you load a game it connects to the Internet to download new ads, so it isn’t completely free, but nearly so. I’m not really a fan of playing games on a cell phone, but it seems to be increasingly popular and I’m always in favor of free.

Posted at 7:26 am. Filed under Companies, Freebies, GameJump, Phone gaming, Portable Gaming

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December 17, 2005

Sony PSP a stolid success in North America

The Sony PlayStation Portable may be the Rodney Dangerfield of handheld entertainment since it “gets no respect” compared to the iPod, but it still seems to be a solid, if stolid, hit. Lisa Baertlein at Reuters:

Sony Corp. is on track to double the number of PlayStation Portable video game players sold in North America to around 6 million at the end of its first holiday season this year.

The sharp screen on the paperback-sized video game device has won over movie fans, fortifying a solid debut though not a runaway success along the lines of Apple Computer Inc.’s iPods.

Analysts predict that the PSP’s long-term prospects are good, but where the iPod is praised for its stunning ease of use, some PSP players have told Reuters that games are slow to load on the device and that its left thumb-operated mini joystick can be awkward to master.

“Clearly there is not the intoxication or hysteria that there is with the iPod,” said Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey, who is among those betting on the PSP’s success.

The PSP was launched in N. America in March 2005 and 6 million in the first year isn’t shabby at all. I think the impression that it is merely a handheld gaming device, when in fact it is a general purpose audio and video player as well, detracts from its visibility as an iPod competitor. The retail price of approx. $250 may also be a problem according to the analysts mentioned in the article although, again, that’s in comparison with handheld game machines like the approx. $130 Nintendo DS. There are also complaints that getting your audio and video content on the system could be much easier, but Sony is happy for you to buy movies on the proprietary Universal Media Disc which is becoming more common.

Some reviews:

ZDNet/CNET says audio and video usability could be better.

CNET has minireviews of several games

PC Magazine loves the 4.3″ TFT LCD screen as does most everybody. Dislikes the proprietary Sony media formats and the lack of audio/video features.

See also The Gadgeteer and DesignTechnica.

Posted at 9:27 am. Filed under Apple, Brands, Companies, iPod, Portable Gaming, PSP, PSP, Sony

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November 12, 2005

U.S. video game sales fall 24 pct in October


U.S. retail sales of video games in October fell to $365 million, down 24 percent from a year earlier, when publishers released a slew of blockbuster titles, analysts said on Friday.

Citing figures from market researchers NPD Group, analysts said October console game sales were around $294 million, while sales of handheld games were about $71 million.

Analysts are closely monitoring sales as the industry heads into the holiday season, which accounts for roughly half of its revenue.

It must be hard to predict when half the volume is in one chunk at the end of the year. Actually the numbers say that 2005 is slightly ahead of 2004 at this point, but the analysts are mixed on the end of the year, particularly with new consoles on the way.

Posted at 7:18 pm. Filed under Portable Gaming, Video Games

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