Telefonica plots mobile gaming push

Telefonica’s Digital division aims to tap a mobile gaming market tipped to be worth £4.3 billion (€5.2 billion) in 2011, through a collaboration with EA Mobile, the wireless arm of games publisher Electronic Arts.
The operator plans to offer access to games across multiple devices and platforms, and will leverage the relationship in promotions using EA Mobile’s existing catalog of content. Subscribers in the UK will be the first to gain access to the service, which is available free for the first three months.
Matthew Key, chairman and chief of Telefonica Digital, says the deal puts the telco at the “epicenter of mobile gaming.” He notes games top app download lists, and says the new service helps the operator to forge “a much deeper connection with our customers – another significant step in becoming a true aggregator of experiences.”
Telefonica aims to capitalize on predictions of strong growth in the mobile gaming market. IHS Screen Digest forecasts the market will be worth almost £8 billion by 2015, fuelled by growth in 3G connectivity, and gaming on smartphones and tablets. Jack Kent, mobile media analyst at the firm, says mobile games are the largest content category on all major app stores, and predicts the appeal will only increase as consumers embrace “new forms of content and business models.” Kent expects growth to come from free games “monetized by micro-transactions – such as in-app purchases.”