Live at MECCA 2006: State of the Industry Report

After some myth-busting statements from the Wonderbread-wielding opening speaker, VP of business development and planning for Sprint Nextel Paul Reddick, a five-member panel gathered amid onstage breadcrumbs to discuss the state of the mobile entertainment industry. Among them were CEO of Glu Mobile Greg Ballard. He lauded the quality of today’s mobile games as compared to those from a year ago, and said he feels that giving customers the opportunity to download a free demo of a game is a key part of Glu’s success. When asked about increased competition, Ballard was outwardly confident. “We have a very simple philosophy—we don’t worry about anyone else except our own execution,” he said. “Don’t assume just because [a mobile game company] didn’t do well that it’s not a profitable business—because there are a lot of us doing very well.” Although Ballard gives credit to the carriers while commenting on the push for enhanced gaming quality, when the topic turned to carriers inhibiting mobile gaming growth, founder of Multimedia Networks Rob Tercek launched a vigorous attack on the carriers. He lambasted them for forcing game companies to develop games playable on the carrier’s entire fleet of handsets—many not designed with game play in mind. “They’re terrible phones that deliver a lousy gaming experience,” he remarked passionately. “Game publishers are forced to validate it. The consumer is getting screwed because they’re being lied to.” Ballard continued to champion the carriers, however, when asked to state his preference for on-deck content versus off-deck content. “Carriers are by and large some of the largest advertisers in the world. We need to capitalize on their reach,” he said. “If we can focus on making the on-deck experience as good as it can be, it’s a no-brainer.” -Nathan

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