THE Apple iPhone is fast becoming a popular gaming platform because of its touch-screen capabilities, motion detection and unique software development kit. Experts attending the eServices conference urged local startup developers to consider developing games for the iPhone. Watch this video report by INQUIRER.net reporter Alex Villafania.
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WIRELESS service provider Smart Communications is expecting growth in the mobile gaming business in the Philippines with stronger sales of Java-enabled mobile phones. The company has already expanded its Game Station WAP service with a series of tournaments for mobile phone gamers. The prizes include PlayStation 3 game consoles and over P100,000 in cash. Gian Conde, Smart Product Assistant for Value Added Service and Data, said gaming is huge in the Philippines, as shown by the popularity of online PC and stand-alone games, as well as handheld devices, such as the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS. The sales of Java-enabled phones that are capable of running games have also increased, largely because of lower cost of handsets. In the past few years, Java-enabled color-screen handsets would cost around P15,000 to P20,000. However, some Java phones now cost less than P10,000, creating a bigger market for Java applications. "Some people use their phones now not just for making calls or SMS but also to entertain themselves. If they are not listening to music, they might be playing some games," Conde said. Conde said Game Station has about 5,000 titles in its library, the majority of which are casual games built only for mobile phones. However, there are titles that are based on popular PC or console game licenses, such as the sports games created by Electronic Arts or Marvel. Some of these are being offered by Game Station. Among these titles are Ironman, Incredible Hulk, NBA Live, Hellboy, Need for Speed, Deal Or No Deal, among others. One of the more popular PC and console games today, Guitar Hero III, also has a mobile phone version.
By Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.NET MANILA, Philippines -- Mobile games distributor MegaMobile is planning to introduce more Java-based mobile games, both licensed and locally developed, as it expands its product portfolio. MegaMobile President Manny Fernando said that apart from their existing titles, the company will also introduce homegrown games. He did not describe what these games are but said that plans are being finalized with their partners. "Expect that we will be seriously capitalizing on this growth segment," Fernando said in an e-mail reply to queries from INQUIRER.net. Fernando said mobile gaming is one of the biggest mobile business segments, next to mobile music. He said all of the mobile service providers have gaming portals that have extensive library of titles. MegaMobile was acquired by IPVG Corp in February this year, under a stock purchase agreement. Currently, the company is providing six mobile games, all of which are related to the massively-multiplayer online games being offered by IPVG's gaming division, e-Games. Three of the mobile games are sub-adventures from RAN Online. These are Swordsman, Karuso's Escape, and Ran Girls Jealousy. The three other games are sub-adventures of Granado Espada Online, which are Girl Fight, Little Red Riding Elementalist and Musketeer's Wrath.
By Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines-- Filipino-owned company Ubersoft Inc. has started offering an advertisement-wrapped mobile game download service called Swoopin. The service allows users to download as many free mobile Java games as they want to their mobile phones via Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) and only pay for the corresponding phone network fees. The ad-wrap feature will become available whenever mobile phone users start playing games. There are also 850 Java games in 14 available categories ranging from racing, action, puzzle, sports, casino, arcade, among others. More games are being added every week. All of the games in the Swoopin website are also available on Swoopin's Facebook and on Swoopin's official wapsite. In an interview, Ubersoft CEO Vince Yamat explained that there will be two to three advertisements showing up before and after a downloaded game is played. However, the ads will only connect to the Swoopin server on the first and fourth attempt to play. Essentially, the game is already been paid for by the advertisements. Yamat said the advertisements will not appearing during gameplay so as not to disturb the mobile phone user's playing experience. "Whenever Swoopin games connect to the Internet the charges will be very minimal. Much of the revenue we generate in this service will come from advertisements. What we realized is that the preferred payment for players is free," Yamat said. Swoopin will target all markets and not just the Philippines. Thus, initial advertisements will come from foreign firms, such as Amazon.com and Best Buy. Yamat said they are already in talks with advertising resellers and distribution channels in the Philippines to promote the service. "There is a huge market for advertising on mobile games in the Philippines. We only need to look for the right channels," he said.
By INQUIRER.net MAKATI CITY, Philippines – Online game publisher IP E-Game Ventures Inc (e-Games), mobile application developer Megamobile and 3D animation studio BeeHive digital launched new mobile Java games for the Philippine market. IP E-Game Ventures is an online gaming subsidiary of publicly listed IPVG Corp., while Megamobile is a mobile application developer affiliated with IPVG Corp. In a statement, E-Games said it is releasing three mobile games for its 3D massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) RAN Online and another three mobile games for Granado Espada, another MMORPG from famed legendary game producer Hakkyu Kim. E-Games said these new mobile games were created exclusively for the Philippine market. Manny Fernando, Megamobile president, said in a statement that e-Games will be one of the first online gaming publishers to bring their gaming titles on a mobile phone. Fernando said the popularity of e-Games titles are “perfect for the players who can't get enough of RAN Online and Granado Espada.” Compared to the online game versions, the mobile games were designed to be more of a “casual and fun single player game,” e-Games said. The mobile games can run on Java-enabled phones. They can be downloaded via WAP or SMS. To date, games that are going to be available are Karuso’s Escape, RAN Girls’ Jealousy, Swordsman, Little Red Riding Elementalist, Musketeer's Wrath and GE Girls' Fight. “These exclusively developed mobile games will keep our current players entertained and wanting for more. But more importantly it’ll reach to new players who have yet to experience the incredible virtual worlds of RAN Online and Granado Espada. Our mobile games will provide them a glimpse on how utterly fun our titles are,” Ed Pasion, e-Games vice president for marketing, said in a statement.
By Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines -- Major game development firm Gameloft is looking to open an office in the Philippines that is focused on developing games for the handheld and mobile platforms. In an interview with hackenslash, Vincent Ricot, who is serving as the Philippines studio manager, said the Philippines office will initially serve as a support location for mostly 3D animation development for Gameloft's programming branches. He said the company aims to hire around 50 animators until the end of the year. "We have a lot of projects to do, especially with the number of console games being ported to the mobile phone and handheld platforms," he said. Ricot said the local office will go beyond animation work and start game development from conception to programming. He said company's direction is to develop games for the current generation of consoles, particularly the Nintendo Wii. "There's a lot of development opportunities for the company now and the office here can benefit from it," Ricot said. Ricot said the Philippines was chosen due to its large pool of 2D artists who could be trained to do 3D animation. The local operations will support Gameloft's programming work in Vietnam, China and India. The French game developer is one of the biggest firms developing for the mobile market segment. It has over 90 games in its portfolio, some of which are ports of popular franchises, such as the Tom Clancy series of Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon, Asphalt racing games, Prince of Persia, as well as game versions of popular TV shows Grey's Anatomy, Heroes and Desperate Housewives.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net UPDATE: Editor's note: Added video taken by INQUIRER.net technology reporter Erwin Oliva. A FILIPINO startup has announced its entry in the free, advertising-based mobile game market in the country, as it offered at least 800 Java-based downloadable games for free to local subscribers, its chief executive officer told hackenslash Monday. Ubersoft Inc. CEO Vince Yamat said the company was betting on the increasing demand for free mobile phone games that are currently offered at premium prices of about P30 to P50 per game by local service providers. "This is something disruptive," said Yamat, as he pointed out that mobile phone games contribute a significant amount to the total revenues of mobile phone networks. With mobile phone browsing cost going down, the Filipino-owned company believes that advertising-supported games will attract not only subscribers but advertisers wanting to target local mobile phone users. To date, Ubersoft has several international advertisers on board, according to Yamat. The free, downloadable mobile games are accessible via the startup company's Swoopin WAP (wireless application protocol) site. Handsets should be able to run Java-based games to download the licensed titles from the startup. "So our service is really web-based, although it uses WAP," Yamat said. Asked how big the market was for Java-based games in the country, Yamat said the figures for the mobile games were not yet clear because they were often lumped with other value-added services. But he is convinced that this unexplored service in the country will soon fly. Among the games offered are Mobile Aquarium, Rollercoaster Rush, Origami Tulip, Arcade Pool, and Top Gun: Air Combat, plus different versions and difficulty levels of Sudoku, origami, and poker games. Players of these games only need to pay for mobile connection cost while downloading an unlimited number of games. Downloaded games are stored on the phone. Yamat said a similar service was also launched in Japan.
By Relly Carpio INQUIRER.net GUILDTXT is an SMS-based service that game clan masters in the various Level Up! games may use as a management tool. "We decided on a soft launch for this new service. It is available and is already being used by the clan masters of our games," said JC Medina, new media director of Level Up! Launched two weeks ago, Guildtxt uses SMS group sending so one message can instantly be sent to many members. "This makes the handling of announcements to clan members more economical," Medina said. The reality is that clan members are not all online at the same time and announcements in clan forums or even on the guild page in-game are easily ignored. This leads to problems with managing the whole clan before a major activity such as before a clan or territorial war. "With this new service, clan masters can text all the members of the clan for only P2.50. The clan members receive the message if they are registered to the clan's Guildtxt group," Medina said.
By Relly Carpio INQUIRER.net LAST week saw the latest addition to the anthology of Kratos the God of War. Subscribers to MyGlobe's WAP site Download Station received the announcement last week that one of Sony Entertainment's most successful third-person adventure game is now available for download for mobile phones. God of War: Betrayal follows the exploits of Kratos, the Last Spartan, in his quest for glory. The game is a 2D scroller which includes certain famous aspects of the original game. Kratos' Athena's Blades and Medusa's Gaze with the trademark "purchase power-up" at the end of each level are included in the game. Two monster types, the basic zombie and the minotaur. are used as mobs. The game has five levels and has a sixth End Boss level. The God of War series, composed of two titles, were exclusively available for Sony's Playstation 2 (PS2) series. Its ingenious use of the PS2 graphics engine endeared it to users of the console who were still waiting for a game that pushed the PS2 to its limits. God of War was touted to be one of these. The extremely entertaining storyline of the Kratos "The Last Spartan" in the series was also a factor in the game's popularity with PS2 aficionados. The game is produced by Sony Online Entertainment and developed by Javaground using the Javaground Solution.
By Alex Villafania, hackenslash Reporter INQUIRER.net PHILIPPINE mobile game developer Anino Mobile recently became one of the only five companies to be sponsored for the upcoming Game Connection Europe (), a business networking event for the video game industry. Anino Mobile was accepted into Game Connection's Level Up program (not to be confused with the Philippine online game publisher Level Up!), which aims to help promising developers from different countries meet up with other game developers, publishers, distributors, investors and other entrepreneurs in the video game business. In an interview, Anino Games director for Business Development Jeremiah Chow said the event will help bring the company closer to its goal of becoming a premier game development studio in Southeast Asia. Chow, who will be the only one attending the event in behalf of Anino Mobile, will focus on looking for publishers for their games, introducing their company to other publishers and other developers, and discussing trends in the game development business. Anino Mobile, which is a subsidiary of game development firm Anino Entertainment, will be joined by four game companies from the US, France and Croatia. These are AGE Studio, Arkedo, Big Rooster and Ocean Media LLC. About 40 companies from 17 countries applied for the Level Up program, which was implemented only this year. The five winning companies will receive free access to all the forums during the three-day event. The attendance fee for the event is valued at 3,000 euros (P190,000). The winners will still pay for their airfare and hotel accommodation. This is the first time that the Philippines will be represented in the Game Connection convention. The event will be held in Lyon, France from Dec. 4 to 6 and will be attended by developers from at least 35 countries.