Gamasutra just recently put up notes from a unique lecture given at this year's Game Developer's Conference
. David Collier, president of the Japanese group Pikkle KK, offered up a Tokyo-focused vision of the future of MMOs
. For millions of players in Asia, a series of casual flash games played mutliplayer via cellphones are all the MMO they need or want. Collier explained the sheer appeal of these titles, which cross age- and gender-boundaries; some 40% of male teens are playing one of these titles, called Mobile Game Town
The Flash Lite format is part of the reason behind these services' success. Quick, simple downloads allow for instant action, and the portability of the Flash experience ensures there is minimal need to tweak titles for specific platforms. These games are also very lucrative
, offering easy access to customers for advertisers. Collier's comments on the future of the medium are fascinating, as bigger players
and high-profile developers
step into the ring.
Simply from a design standpoint, it's fascinating to think about the new 'kinds' of games that can be played. We've previously discussed the half real-world/half virtual title Parallel Kingdom
; in this piece Collier mentions the highly popular Kunitori
, which tracks your movements across Japan and allows players to interact in a virtualized local gamespace.
What we're excited about is the possibility that one day Alternate Reality Games
and Massively Multiplayer Games will fully mesh. Experiences you have on your desktop might continue into the real world via your mobile. Though such a title was a plot point for a network television episode
, we're unaware of any successful titles here in the states that currently operate under that model. For this blogger, at least, the potential of fragging your friends in Union Square or talking to a quest NPC in Central Park is invigorating.