What will the next 10 years bring? The future is mobile!
A great post on PocketGamer.biz from Keith Andrew talking about the new CEO of smartphone studio Kwalee – David Darling – and his recent blog. David founded Codemasters so he knows a fair bit about games and games consoles and what games’ players want and what they like.
Darling rightly states that the industry is transitioning from boxed to digital games and it’s not just games that are transitioning but all types of content – see my previous blog post on this very topic, “How digital are you?“.
Here’s my big statement – games consoles have a limited lifespan. They’ve served a great purpose and given millions top quality interactive entertainment in the living room and most of us have grown up with them. I remember well the Atari 2600 my mum and dad got us when we were 10 and but we then moved to pc’s like the Apple 2 fake (yes fake – we grew up in Hong Kong) and all the delights they brought with them. Then the BBC Micro at school and IBM style pc’s at home!
A quick detour via the Nintendo Gameboy – the original (that must have been the original mobile gaming computer, with more than one game and great controls).
Then more consoles – Sony’s PlayStation 1, Microsoft’s Xbox, Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PS3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 – our current console. Yes we missed the SNES and others but pc’s were the gaming platform of choice for me at home then.
Console games – and pc games – have always been a bit pricey though and as David points out that’s one of the problems. They typically cost £40 or more. Compare that to the £0.69 game on a phone – that’s a huge difference and it’s such a difference that it changes how you view the value of games. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not undervaluing games – not at all. I know what goes into making them and particularly making the best ones. It’s just the pricing and models – we need to rethink these.
Now with the AppleTV and the ability to stream games from my iPhone directly to my HD TV in the living room, why do I need a console? Yes consoles now act as media centres and you can watch movies, play music and mess about with social media but I can do all that on my phone and my phone is always with me. And yes everybody has a phone.
That’s the fundamental difference – everyone has a mobile phone and everyone now has access to great, and good priced games. You don’t need a separate games console any more. Some maybe yes – e.g. the more hardcore gamers – but the vast majority no.
Unless of course they come up with some new killer feature that only the consoles have. Like gesture control with Microsoft’s Kinect or the Wii before that.
With mobiles the whole experience buying the game is much much easier, the different app stores we use already and know how they work and don’t have to go anywhere to buy the games! We can also read reviews our friends and peer groups have written for the games, giving critical feedback to the games developers to improve the games. And new levels, new characters, bug fixes and more can easily be pushed out via updates.
Tablets add another dimension to this but for me they’re still mobile devices just different ones. They use the same basic technology as phones (operating systems).
Another great dimension mobile games add is the ability to play a game whilst out and about – e.g. on a train journey – and then continue it on the big screen when you get home from exactly where you left off. This is the concept of content anytime, anywhere and anyhow again and it’s coming. Back in my Sony days, part of the digital services roadmap I put together was all about this. It makes so much sense and it’s what consumers want.
Apple are making great strides in this space – they don’t need a separate console. They’ve got iOS on the iPhone and iPad and then the AppleTV and the actual Apple TV (note the space there) – when it’s released.
Add GPS location tracking, multi-player, game centres where your ranks and scores are stored, cameras (and video cameras), AR (augment reality) plus more mobile innovations and this gets very very exciting.
The future is not about consoles, it’s about mobile.
Lots of people are still referring mobile like it’s a different channel these days – be it for computing, retail, consumption, gaming, distribution or anything. A few years back maybe that was valid but since the birth of the iPhone back in 2007, things have changed and changed radically. Mobile phones are now everywhere and yes pretty much ubiquitous. Not just mobile phones but smartphones with technology and computing power in them that we couldn’t have dreamt of back when mobiles first came out.
The slide below says so much. Think about it. There’s more – and that’s a lot more – computing power in a mobile phone today (2011/2012) than was needed to send a man to the moon back in 1969. That’s in my lifetime. What about the next 40 years? It’s the first time in a long time, that it’s virtually impossible to say where the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years or longer is going to take us. Technology is changing so fast and is having a massive impact on our lives!
A nice video showing the evolution of mobile phones up to today…
So what do we do with all this computing power in our hands (quite literally) 24×7? A lot yes, but no where near as much as we could do. We listen to music, take photos and videos (and edit them and view and play and distribute them); play games, read books (and magazines and newspapers – if you’re so inclined yet – we’re well and truly getting there now; “It’s official the 6 year olds verdict is that digital magazines are better”), find out where you are and get directions to where you want to go (visual or verbal ones); track a run (or bike ride or swim or any physical activity for that matter) and improve your training times and distances; communicate with friends, family and pretty much anyone else (not just by calling them – yes you can do that as well on smartphones); buy and sell shares; take notes; give and write presentations; write (and publish and sell) a book; buy and sell just about anything to anyone anywhere; send cards (and postcards), control your TV; listen to the news of the hour in any country; make music (with drums, pianos and guitars and lots more); find your away around the tube; figure out which London 2012 Olympic events you want to go to and more! The list is huge and it’s growing and it’s fast moving away from just consuming content.
Breakthroughs – and they are breakthroughs in how simple (that word again – “How simple should it be? Insanely simple”) the technology works – like Siri are changing how we use them and what we use them for. Equally impressive is Microsoft’s Kinect. Voice control and gesture control are the future!
Apple’s strap line for Siri – above – says it all. Imagine all technology with this level of intuitive control – it’s coming and soon.
I digress slightly – back to mobile…
Another slide (this one and the one above are from the McKinsey June 2012 web presentation on “Understanding consumer behaviour” – well worth a read) that illustrates the growth of traffic (lets call it data or usage) for mobile and desktop computing over the last 4 years. So during the time since the iPhone’s been around – and look at the trend, mobile is growing…
Now this is my point – mobile is growing but it’s becoming the normal way we (as consumers and more and more as businesses) interact with content (that word again – and there is a risk that we could over consume it – “Content over consumption coming soon”). It’s no longer another or a different channel. More and more of our time with technology and content is spent on our smartphones and yes while mobile – and by that I mean when not at a desk. We need to think differently about how we embrace a mobile world – both in the workplace and at home – and how we interact with it.
Business strategies need to change and make sure mobile it’s part of the core business – both for your teams and your customers. Along with mobile comes digital – another word that means so many different things to different people. But it’s the same – it’s another channel and distribution method that’s fast becoming the norm – and it’s not just marketing. One for another blog post.
On a similar thread see this post from The Guardian this week…
It asks, why mobile for business and has some good points. But I think it misses a critical point – mobile is not an option. This is happening now. It’s more what strategy should you take to get on-board with mobile and how to best make it an integral part of what you do.
And another post this week by Rene Ritchie…
This one I really like. Apple brought the computer and the power that brings with it, to the phone. They fundamentally changed what phones were and how people – consumers (pretty much everyone I know – any age) use their mobiles (and what they now expect from them). Rene’s last line is poignant and carries a very simple message…
All back to Apple’s drive for simplicity. Yes I am an Apple fan and love what they’ve done with technology generally, but for mobile they changed the way phones were perceived and used and now everything is becoming about mobile.
The Orange T-Mobile strap line from their merger last year fits very well and this is what mobile is now and the key is understanding consumer behaviour…
The final push. The training’s all done, the kit’s all ready and it’s just waiting now. This time tomorrow I will be somewhere near the finish line – positive thinking! And all the hard work training over the last 5 months paid off – fingers crossed (still thinking positively but hedging my bets). And over £2,000 raised for Whizz-Kidz through my friends and family and beyond, far and wide. It really is amazing and means so much to me and of course Whizz-Kidz and the children they look after – a huge huge thank you to everyone!
Even after tomorrow it’s not too late too donate and if you’re waiting to see if I finish – that’s all good. The Just Giving page will still be up and running and taking donations. And of course you can still donate today. Every £1 and any loose change you donate makes a massive difference here.
Just go to www.justgiving.com/jasonnoble1 to donate or even send a text from your mobile – it couldn’t be easier…
Whizz-Kidz have some 500 runners running tomorrow and are aiming to raise over £1.5 million – that’s an amazing sum of money that all goes to help the work they do and allow the children they help to live more active lives. Being part of this is a real privilege as I’ve said before.
To help raise money for these guys and the great work they doing helping disabled children be as mobile as they can and basically just be kids. This is where your help is needed and every penny they get in donations goes to help these children.
This is a link to Whizz-Kidz TV advert…
Funny but with a very strong point that’s easy to see why the work they do is so important for the children. Things we all take for granted, that these guys can’t do without the help from Whizz-Kidz and these amazing wheelchairs.
Please dig deep and give as much as you can to help (my Just Giving Page).
Don’t forget, all the marathon training is to help support the great work that the guys at Whizz-Kidz do, helping disabled children become more mobile. The clip below from their web-site gives some details on the work they do – please have a read:
These guys have several hundred runners in the London Marathon raising money for them and it is their biggest fund raising event of the year. They also really help support the runners whilst fund raising with marathon training sessions, regular newsletters and getting people involved in other activities (e.g. Christmas carols). Some pics below from the Christmas carols at Fulham Broadway shopping centre last weekend. We went along after the carols at the Royal Albert Hall and sung some more for another couple of hours. The guys from Whizz-Kidz were there from 10am until 7pm with their running volunteers coming along for 2 hour sessions throughout the day and we raised almost £1,400.
The little Nobles and Nic also helped out with mum and dad coming along for a little bit as well.
So could what be any easier? Donating. With the wonders of modern technology – and the services from Just Giving all you need to do is send a quick text message (care of a cool new service set up with Vodafone) from your mobile with the amount you would like to donate to 70070 and the code VCKN89. You receive a text message receipt from them and can even tick a box to allow Whizz-Kidz to get back Gift Aid from HMRC.
Don’t buy that extra 1/2 pint at the pub – please send a quick text message and help make a real difference to these children’s lives.