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Media & Mobile Shine at LAUNCH Silicon Valley Event June 7, 2012

Posted by Bipul Sinha in mobile.
Tags: , , , ,
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Earlier this week I had the opportunity to help judge a session on Media & Mobility at the LAUNCH Silicon Valley Conference in Mountain View. Five companies presented:

  • AppSmyth which provides a mobile loyalty platform for retailers and brands
  • KlickEx, a currency exchange service that helps consumers in markets around the world avoid paying banking fees
  • Moodstocks provides an API and SDKs that brands can use to build image recognition into your apps
  • Notous develops application software for NFC (near field communication and RFID software and hardware integration services.
  • Wiz Communications which describes itself as a “disruptive cloud-based over the top push mobile messaging exchange”

It was an impressive group and while each company had a unique offering, there was one a common theme that many shared:  enabling brands to reach their customers on mobile.

Where we are today in mobile reminds me a lot of the early days of social media when many big brands were struggling to figure it out.   A number of interesting start-ups emerged that helped companies not only understand how to better engage with customers, but also how to mine the information they were getting from them to build better products and experiences.

Fast forward to today and brands are now challenged with how to reach and engage with their customers now that they are spending more and more time on their mobile devices.  It’s an exciting time and space and I look forward to see which players emerge as the leaders.

Until then, congratulations to KlickEx for being named one of the day’s companies “Most Likely to Succeed” and to all of the companies for a job well done.

How to Build the Next Huge Mobile App April 19, 2012

Posted by Bipul Sinha in discovery, distribution, location, mobile.
4 comments

The advent and growth of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and, now, Pinterest has heralded a new era in the Internet where people are connected to one another to share, discover, curate, and collaborate. The mobile applications are fast becoming the primary vehicle to access what I call “connected services” to discover people, information and entertainment. However unlike the intent oriented desktop Internet search, the mobile platform is about discovery. Thus the application developers would have to think differently about getting user attention and engagement.

User Time Slices

I view smart phones as bite-size infotainment consumption devices. Users launch different applications for short spurts during the day to interact live, get updates, transact, share experiences, and generally play. I call these 2-5 minute spurts “time slices” and examples of these time slices include waiting for a coffee, a short break from work, waiting for everyone to gather for a meeting etc. Users typically don’t have any fixed plans for these time slices and they like to discover infotainment through their applications. To build a mass market application, developers should consider two core factors: a unique discovery oriented infotainment experience and a bite-size time slice filler. An application that fits this paradigm would get huge user attention and engagement. Pulse News* is a great example of such an application. It allows users to discover news and information in a bite-size consumption format – you launch your Pulse when you have a few minutes and would like to be in the know.

How do you think about building the next large scale mobile app? I’m all ears.

* Lightspeed Portfolio Company

2011 Consumer Internet Predictions December 3, 2010

Posted by jeremyliew in 2011, advertising, Consumer internet, Ecommerce, ltv, mobile, predictions, social games.
22 comments

Once again Lightspeed is going on the record with some prognostications for what the future holds. Before I try gazing into my crystal ball to see what 2011 will bring for the consumer internet industry, let me first see how I did on last years predictions:

1. Social games overflow out of Facebook

Grade: C+. While the amount of social gaming on other social networks, especially the Asian networks, has significantly increased over the course of the year, the vast majority of social gaming still takes place on Facebook. While Farmville.com now has 6M UU/month, this is still only 10% of the number playing Farmville on Facebook.

2. Brand advertising starts to move online, boosting premium display, video and social media

Grade: A. The recovering economy has really boosted brand ad budgets in 2010, with online ad spend back to setting records again. Automotive and CPG in particular are both seeing significantly increased online budgets. The online video networks are doing terrific business, and even Yahoo is benefiting from increased brand spend, seeing revenue growth for the first time in a while. Many brand advertisers are spending their experimental budgets widely in social media as they attempt to figure out how to promote themselves through Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other platforms. The key driver of this renewed confidence from brand advertisers is better measurement of brand metrics that can show the impact of online advertising beyond clickthrough.

3. Direct Response Advertising becomes ever more efficient

Grade: A. According to Adsafe, approximately half of display advertising inventory is now moving through exchanges, Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) and realtime bidding platforms, with another 23% moving through Facebook’s self service ads. These platforms are rapidly commodifying a lot of “low quality” ad inventory, enabling the use of data and targeting to find the best use of this inventory, and thereby creating a very efficient marketplace. Direct response advertisers have benefited the most from this transparency.

4. Finding money and saving money online

Grade: B-. Saving money online has been a real driver of ecommerce growth in 2010. The breakout categories of 2010 are Local Deals (Groupon, Living Social* etc), and Flash Sales (Gilt, RueLaLa, HauteLook, Ideeli etc), and both are squarely aimed at helping consumers save money. Finding money online (principally online lending) has not seen the same level of explosive growth in the US, although in Europe and India there has been real growth in microlending (including “pay day loans”) from companies ranging from Wonga to SKS Finance. I think we’ll see more from the online lending space in 2011, so I may just have been too early on that part of the prediction!

5. Real time web usage outpaces business models

Grade: B-. Twitter continues to grow in usage, overtaking Myspace to become the third largest social network in the world. Foursquare and Gowalla have grown too, but off of much lower bases, such that only 4% of internet users currently use a check-in service. Facebook also joined the Location Based Services (LBS) party this year, enabling Facebook places, which some speculate is getting 30M users already. Last year I speculated that monetization would be hard for these businesses since CPM models have traditionally been hostile to user generated content, and local ad sales is an expensive and difficult proposition. But these companies have innovated new monetization models. Twitter, through its Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts, is not selling media on a CPM basis, but rather selling attention, and the early returns suggest that brands are willing to pay for more attention. Similarly, the check-in services are attracting experimental budgets from national retailers as well as forward thinking small businesses who are eager to attract new customers into their stores, and reward regular customers. While the revenue numbers may not be huge in 2010, there is certainly promise to the business models that are developing on these platforms.

Overall for 2010, I figure a B average, a little worse than last year. But there is always grade inflation when you grade yourself, so let me know what you think. Now, on to my predictions for 2011:

___________________________________

1. Putting fun into ecommerce

In 1995, when Amazon was founded, e-commerce was like the proverbial talking dog. It wasn’t about how well the dog could talk, it was amazing that the dog could talk at all. The first generation of ecommerce sites were focused on functionality, getting the dog to talk better. We got everything from price comparison engines to aggregated user reviews to one-click checkout. These early innovations were focused on optimizing the “workflow” of shopping to get users into the checkout as quickly as possible.

This worked great for most internet users at that time because back then most internet users were men, and in general, men do not like to shop. They treat it like a chore, a necessary evil that would ideally be minimized and optimized to take the least amount of time possible. Then they could get back to doing something they enjoyed, perhaps playing video games, or watching football!

But a few years ago, that changed. There are now (a few) more women online than men. And in general, women tend to enjoy shopping more than men. Certainly more than playing video games, or watching football! If you enjoy shopping, you don’t want your “workflow optimized”. You don’t want to be rushed to the checkout as quickly as possible. Instead, you want to linger, to be delighted, to discover new things, to find great deals. You want shopping to be fun.

The Flash Sales sites and Local Deals sites both make shopping fun by offering deep discounts. This is the mechanism that they use to entice shoppers to buy something, even when they are not looking for anything specific. But discounts are not the only way to make shopping fun.

Sites like Modcloth make shopping fun through discovery. Modcloth highlights women’s clothes from modern, indie and retro designers. Because each item has limited supply, and selections are constantly changing, Modcloth builds an urgency that has users coming back frequently to see what’s new and to make sure that they don’t miss out.

Shoedazzle* makes shopping fun by democratizing the personal stylist experience. After users take a style quiz to assess their profile, they are shown a selection of shoes, bags and accessories that have been specifically chosen to match their taste. Each month they get a new selection of on-trend pieces that fit their profile. JustFab and JewelMint have subsequently launched with similar models.

More models keep popping up. Recently launched Birchbox focuses on sending cosmetic samples to its users to help them discover the perfect eyeliner or blush. Pennydrop is a Facebook app that lets users peek at discounted and constantly dropping prices on items and jump in to buy when the price is low enough.

All these sites play to the idea of making shopping fun. I expect to see more applications of these formats, as well as more new formats, all under this overarching theme. A little social shopping anyone?

2. Self-service ad platforms find their ceiling, and brand advertisers seek other avenues

As noted above, about half of display advertising inventory is now moving through exchanges, DSPs and realtime bidding platforms. Yet these platforms are only two to three years old. While perhaps only 10% of online ad revenue is currently flowing through these channels, the trend here is clear. Today, two thirds of online ad spending comes from direct response advertisers, and soon the bulk of these budgets will likely flow through bidded platforms such as these, including Facebook ads. Direct response advertisers move their budgets quickly to follow results, so this could happen within the next year or two.

Brand advertisers are also experimenting with bidded platforms. Each of the big ad agencies have their own trading desks. However, adoption on the brand side will likely be slower and far from complete. Many of the exchanges, DSPs and RTB platforms allow for bidding strategies that are easily optimized for click-through rates, but optimizing for brand metrics is much harder. Brands also care more about content adjacency and brand safe content, and these are harder to guarantee on an exchange type platform, where in some cases, ad impressions are traded several times before finding their final buyer.

In addition, exchanges by definition can only support standard ad units. Many brand campaigns incorporate custom elements, ranging from social media and other earned media components to custom microsites, site takeovers, roadblocks and other high impact units. These are often tied to specific publishers, and bundled into a broader media buy including standard ad units. Premium publishers depend on this sort of creative advertising to maintain the ad rates required to support the creation of high-quality content, and I think it is likely that this symbiosis between brands and premium publishers will continue to capture a large chunk of the brand ad budget. In fact, I expect to see a proliferation in custom ad units from the biggest and most premium publishers as they work to capture a greater share of brand budgets. Non-premium publishers that have reached the scale to become “must buys” are doing exactly the same thing. Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts, and Facebook’s Social Ads and Likes are all great examples of this trend.

3. Competition shifts from user acquisition to user retention

Today many e-commerce and subscription companies are growing very quickly through smart marketing. They are taking advantage of cheap media to cost effectively acquire new customers. As I’ve mentioned above, I think the exchanges will continue to make it easier for direct marketers to reach their customers. Facebook’s self service platform is still a relatively inefficient market, allowing savvy, analytical marketers to quickly and cheaply gain market share. However, in some categories (e.g. Local Deals) Facebook has quickly become efficient and there is already a “market price” for a new Local Deals subscriber. As more marketers take the plunge into Facebook’s platform, more categories will become efficient, just as Google became an efficient market over time for almost all keywords. Once this happens there will be a market clearing price for new customer acquisition across almost all categories, and smart marketing will no longer be as much of a differentiator.

On what basis then will winners pull away from the rest? Companies who are able to derive the highest lifetime value (LTV) from their users will squeeze out their competitors with a lower lifetime value. How can you improve LTV? There are three key factors:

  • average revenue per user
  • gross margin
  • average lifetime.

The e-commerce and subscription based companies that pull away from their competitors in 2011 will find a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors on one or more of these dimensions.

4. Social games chase hardcore gamers

Notwithstanding Disney buying Playdom* this year and EA buying Playfish last year, Zynga is still the market leader in social gaming. Their enormous installed user base gives them a real advantage in customer acquisition cost over their competitors; their ability to cross-sell installs to their new games at zero cost allows them to get a new game to scale with much lower marketing spend then smaller competitors.

To combat Zynga’s might, the other social game publishers have to focus on games with a very high LTV. High enough that the publisher can afford to rely on paid customer acquisition alone to build a user base, and still make money. Kabam (once know as Watercooler) pioneered this approach with Kingdoms of Camelot, a relatively hardcore social game that is reputed to be doing low to mid single digit millions in monthly revenue from  about 750k Daily Acitve Users (DAUs) – a monetization rate that is dramatically higher than the norm for social games. Other publishers have taken note, and I would expect more games aimed at the hardcore gamer market to emerge over 2011.

5. Year of the tablet

Smartphones transformed the mobile internet. Apps will drive $5bn in revenue in 2010. Mary Meeker presents some great insight into the future growth potential of mobile in her Web 2.0 Summit presentation, Ten Questions Internet Execs Should Ask and Answer.

The same thing will happen with tablets. While the iPad has the tablet market largely to itself this year, that will change dramatically in 2011 and beyond, just as Apple’s iPhone had the truly web-capable smartphone market to itself in 2008, but is now a minority as competition emerged from Android, WinMo7 and the modern Blackberry.

The key difference between these new platforms and the PC web isn’t mobility (although that is part of it), but rather that these devices are always on and always with you. However, use cases differ between the phone and the tablet.

Phones are with you all the time, in particular when you are out of the house and out of the office. The most popular genres of app fit well with this “on the go” usecase. Local information, “snacky” entertainment, music, games have all been killer apps on smartphones. Some web incumbents made the transition well, including Yelp, Flixster*and Pandora. Many new companies also gained ground on the phone through this disruption.

Tablets tend to live in the living room. They lend themselves more to leisure than PCs, and to more protracted content consumption than phones. Killer apps might include, video, music, games, and “reading”, broadly defined. Again, some web incumbents will make the transition well, but once again I expect to see new companies gain ground through this disruption.

What do you think will happen in 2011? This time next year ,I’ll look back to see how accurate I was. In the interim, stay tuned for more Lightspeed predictions in other tech sectors over the next few days.

_________________________

* A Lightspeed Portfolio company

2010 Mobile Predictions December 14, 2009

Posted by jseid in 2010, mobile, predictions.
7 comments

We continue to be excited about the mobile sector and the opportunities for entrepreneurs to build large companies. The industry has seen the smartphone universe expand dramatically and now no smartphone is complete without an app store. New business models like mobile advertising, which were touted in 2005 and 2006 but failed to live up to early expectations now seem to be blossoming. That said, we believe we’re still in the early innings with many more innovations to come.

Here are our predictions for the mobile sector for 2010:

1. Virtual goods means real revenue in mobile

We’ve all seen the rise of the virtual-goods economy in the online world. Like its impact on the online world, virtual goods is poised to have profound positive impact on mobile-app startups for several reasons. First, unlike the subscription fee or one-time purchase business model, virtual goods can help eliminate the friction to adoption. The cost to the consumer to try the app can be $0 yet the app developer still has a way to make money by selling virtual goods.

Second, the virtual-goods business model has proven to be a very scalable one. It has helped to create multiple public companies valued in the billion-dollar plus range including DeNA (in mobile) and TenCent (in the online world). Finally, it’s not mutually exclusive with the existing purchase, subscription and advertising business models. Certainly widespread adoption of virtual goods in mobile will take time and, depending on the platform, various issues will have to be worked through. But this business model’s entrance into the mobile arena bodes well for the entire ecosystem.

2. Still waiting for “off-deck” to (really) happen

Well, in some ways it has happened—almost. Certainly, the iPhone App Store is a great step forward for the industry. But, compared to the success of the iPhone App Store, the rest of the industry’s major players—Android, Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Windows and RIM (NSDQ: RIMM)—have a lot of catching up to do. Those app stores are not quite functioning at where they need to be to give iPhone’s App Store a run for its money.

The most cynical in the industry may actually say the iPhone App Store is not truly “off-deck,” it’s just a different deck. But however you want to slice it, we’re still a long way off from mobile-app developers being able to create true direct-to-consumer offerings like their cousins in the web world.

3. Nokia or RIM buys Palm (and the next round of big battles begin)

Palm built a slick OS but it is in a tough spot as a standalone company. It’s not RIM and Nokia, big handset guys with material smartphone market share, and that creates a tough spot for Palm (NSDQ: PALM).
Apple’s iPhone not only created a great consumer experience but it created a great platform for developers. This platform allows developers to create compelling mobile apps, to reach the consumer without going through a carrier, and to bill the consumer leveraging the iTunes merchant
relationship. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) set off the virtuous cycles that feeds both the growth in the installed iPhones (and iPod Touches) and the growth in apps (and developers).

Legacy software at Nokia and RIM and the lack of deep OS software expertise at other handset vendors meant Palm had a chance to create its own virtuous cycle. Until Android pulled the rug out and ran off with the momentum.

In the world of mobile operating systems, Palm has created a real asset. For large OEMs like Nokia and RIM that have solid hardware and massive distribution but legacy software, Palm may be an asset they can’t live without.

4. The enterprise moves past using mobile data for just email

RIM did a great thing for industry in driving mobile data into the enterprise. This was no easy task since the enterprise is complicated. It not only involves catering to the needs of the end user but also getting IT comfortable that you are conforming to and not breaking their network and security architecture. Mobile email now has a healthy adoption rate in the enterprise and the good news is that people believe in the productivity benefits and are looking for the next set of applications to mobilize (the bad news about mobile email adoption is that response-time expectations have shrunk to hours and there’s no such thing anymore as an “out of office” auto response for why you can’t read email).

Other smartphone platforms beyond RIM, such as the iPhone, have also seen interesting levels of adoption, and we expect that to grow. With a rich and growing smartphone base in the enterprise and a positive experience around the benefits of mobile data from both end users and IT, we expect 2010 will create an opportunity for a new generation hot mobile apps and technologies—this time focused on the enterprise.

In 2010, mobile innovations will branch out into new categories, while also benefiting as the recipient of long-awaited applications. Both these trends will create new methods for monetization in the U.S. and beyond, and ultimately, promise another important and profitable year for the category.

Skyfire Launches v1.0 of Mobile Browser May 28, 2009

Posted by jseid in mobile.
Tags: ,
2 comments

In the device form factor wars, the mobile phone has emerged as the unquestioned winner.  It’s always on and always on you.  There are more mobile phone users than PC users and the market is not close to saturation.

(more…)

Mobile Predictions For 2009 December 9, 2008

Posted by jseid in 2009, mobile, predictions.
6 comments

Despite the troubles in the economy, the mobile industry is as dynamic as it has ever been.  The changing landscape creates significant opportunities for entrepreneurs and should deliver exciting products and services to the consumer.

Here are our predictions for what’s to come in mobile in 2009:

1. The iPhone’s impact is not directly due to iPhone usage.

With all the buzz around the iPhone and its great stats, people might question this. However, I think 2009 will show that it’s not iPhone usage that will have the greatest impact on mobile but the wave of iPhone/appstore-like offerings being created by Apple’s competitors. Apple showed the device manfuacturers that sell the vast majority of the world’s phones how to rethink the phone from the ground up to make sense for data and apps and that will be the iPhone’s biggest impact on the industry in 2009.

A number of other large players like Google/HTC, RIM, Samsung, LG and Nokia are each coming to market with multiple offerings that have large high-res touch screens and in several important cases app stores that facilitate mobile content discovery and payments. The number of iPhone-like products by the end of 2009 should outnumber the iPhone. Despite the down economy and people watching their pocketbooks, expect the growth of these more expensive smart phones to be a real bright spot for the mobile industry. Choice and competition is a great thing for consumers.

2. 3G networks break.

Well, what else would you expect with all those iPhones and iPhone-like phones out there? These networks were designed for voice not for data and the stress placed on these networks with this new generation of phones will be significant. Areas that will continue to see innovation will include the access part of the network which will make use of intelligent smaller cells and which will leverage wifi where possible. The backhaul portion of the network will also be ripe for innovation. In a year where telecom spending is likely to go down, we would expect spending on key stress points like backhaul to continue to grow.

3. Mobile app/wap business models are put through the crucible.

There have been a number of mobile app/wap startups funded over the last few years and 2009 will be the crucible test for their business models. I can’t predict which business model will win but I can predict that the winners will be the companies that have the capability to rapidly evolve and test different business models in order to move down the learning curve as quickly as possible. Unlike in the web world, mobile startups will have to think creatively about their business models given the complex ecosystem of carriers and phone vendors and will also have to understand from day one how their business model maps to geographies outside of the US.

All this change will create a lot of opportunity for the right mobile startups.

US teens send 7.5x more text messages than they make calls September 30, 2008

Posted by jeremyliew in mobile, sms, teens, text.
4 comments

Neilsen Mobile recently reported on US 2008 Q2 mobile phone usage. They find that the number of calls made per month averages 204 across all users but does not vary all that much with age between 13-54:

On the other hand, as stereotypes would suggest, teens drive by far the highest number of text messages per month. Although the average across all users is 357, there is very high variability:

When looking at the ratio of texts to calls, the difference is even more marked. Teens (13-17) text 7.5x more often than they call whereas seniors (65+) call 7x more often than they text:

As an aside, the overall ratio of texts to calls is about 1.75:1 and has been greater than 1:1 since q4 of 2007.

Which companies do readers see as making the most interesting use of SMS?

Increasing mobile web usage and increasing web page size are on a collision course May 5, 2008

Posted by jeremyliew in Internet, mobile.
Tags: ,
9 comments

iPhone users browse the web on their phones far more than the users of other phones. According to the NY Times, over Christmas 2007, Google got more traffic from iPhones than from any other type of phone, despite the iPhone’s small market share:

The data is striking because the iPhone, an Apple product, accounts for just 2 percent of smartphones worldwide, according to IDC, a market research firm. Phones powered by Symbian make up 63 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, while those powered by Microsoft’s Windows Mobile have 11 percent and those running the BlackBerry system have 10 percent.

Info World notes:

The key to the iPhone’s success is the fact that it provides a unified, full browser experience, said Neil MacDonald, a Gartner analyst. By comparison, Windows Mobile is a fractured platform, with separate PDA and smartphone versions, as well as a version of the browser that doesn’t support full HTML.

But at the same time we have an increase in full web browsing on the phone, web pages are getting bigger. Much bigger. The average web page tripled in size since 2003. Why? WebsiteOptimization.com says:

Web 2.0 technologies such as Ajax certainly contribute to the increase in the number of objects per page, as well as the growth in JavaScript file size. Dynamically generated sites from content management systems are typically not as optimized as hand-tuned sites, and often carry over site-wide CSS, JavaScript, and page components to every page on a site.

As broadband becomes more widespread web designers have created more elaborate designs, assuming that a large proportion of their audience is on broadband, or ignoring dial-up users entirely.

Even iPhone users will acknowledge that visiting big web pages, especially those incorporating rich user interactions, can be a frustrating experience. Yet most pundits agree that web usage is only going to increase on mobile devices, despite the triple constraints of slower connections, slower processors and smaller form factors.

I’d be curious to hear what readers think will happen as these two trends collide.

Freemium service models – paying for convenience in games February 20, 2008

Posted by jeremyliew in asynchronous gaming, business models, digital goods, freemium, mobile, subscription, virtual goods.
4 comments

Last week I noted that free-to-play games will become increasingly dominant. I’ve also noted in the past several use cases for the digital goods business models that will be one of the primary monetization mechanisms for free-to-play games. Selling increased functionality can result in user dissatisfaction if players perceive that the only way that they can “win” is to buy more powerful in game functionality. This can be managed through the use of a dual currency system, as Matt Mihaly noted in a guest post.

One other monetization mechanism that free-to-play games can offer is services. Some games, especially real time strategy games, can be somewhat inconvenient to play because they require constant monitoring and occasionally require actions to be taken in game at a certain time. Gameplay can inconveniently interfere with other activities, like work and sleep.

Travian is a good example of this. In Travian each action takes a certain amount of time, and there is no way to “queue up” orders (e.g. if you want to upgrade your mine after you’ve finished upgrading your farm field), or to “schedule” orders to be carried out at a certain time (e.g. if you want to time a raid on another village to be coordinated with another attack). Instead, Travian requires a player to be in the game at a specific time to give an order.

Offering a player the ability to queue up orders or schedule orders as a premium service is a non controversial way to monetize users. Players who do not want to play can be just as effective as players who are willing to pay (they just need to be able to get online at the right times to give their orders). Players who pay for the service are paying simply for convenience, not for additional in game power.

Managerzone‘s mobile premium service is another example of such a service. As I noted previously, the mobile service gives a player certain alerts and allows a player to take a number of actions in the game from their mobile phone, without having to log on to the website from a computer. This makes the game much more convenient to play, but again doesn’t disadvantage a player who choses not to pay for the mobile service since they can still do everything from the website. It looks like Blizzard may also be considering a mobile version of World of Warcraft.

I’d be interested to hear from readers of other examples of games monetizing premium services.

Games 2.0: SMS offers an interesting channel for asynchronous MMOGs February 1, 2008

Posted by jeremyliew in asynchronous gaming, games, games 2.0, gaming, mmorpg, mobile, social games, social gaming.
2 comments

I think asynchronous games are an interesting emerging trend as casual games meet multiplayer games to create social gaming opportunities. Many social games are taking off in Facebook as its platform allows social games to grow virally among groups of friends. These are largely text and asynchronous by nature.

One of the challenges in the mobile world has always been getting distribution, whether distribution of an app or placement in a mobile carriers deck. Increasingly, however, apps like Twitter and Facebook are taking advantage of SMS as the mechanism for lightweight text-based interactions (sometimes with a primary interaction mode through the PC). SMS has near universal availability, no distribution challenges (beyond getting an SMS shortcode), and the highest use rate among mobile phone users after calling:

Cell phone uses beyond calls

Given many social games’ text based, asynchronous nature, it will be interesting to see whether they can extend their reach via SMS into the mobile arena in the same way. This obviously allows a greater opportunity for subscription and premium digital goods revenue as consumers are more accustomed to paying for phone services than they are for web services. It also allows simplifies billing. WAP is another option.

Managerzone is one game that offers phone based services so that eager players can constantly stay in touch with what is happening “in game”. See a list of some of their WAP and SMS services as taken from their website below:

There are a number of mobile services that you can use to stay in touch and improve your game here at ManagerZone. This is a perfect complement for anybody that cannot always be in front of the computer or would like to immediately receive information as it is available.

Cost/Billing

You can subscribe to these services via our packages or you can simply pay as you go via money that you put in your account (see my home and your account). We offer both WAP services and SMS services (text messaging) and with our text messaging you can choose to receive the message via SMS to your mobile phone or via email to your mobile phone or computer. You thus simply enter your mobile phone number or your email address for your mobile phone.

Wap spy

This service immediately improves your manager skills. Well, the fact that you can check up on your opponent simply makes it one notch easier to know what to expect. You can follow their tactics and get recommendations as to whom to watch out for. You also get the formation of your opponent and of course some insight about the goalies strengths and weaknesses.

League standings

With a click you can see the updated standings in your league or other leages around the world and in your country. You can also directly from the standings click on a team to get more info about that team such as who the manager is and what kind of stadium they have. You can also easily challenge anybody via this page. All the things you do here is also updating the web and will be visible there the next time you log on via the web.

Youth and financial service

Would you like to increase the number of junior players your team has this week. Do you need to check up on your finances to make sure you have enough for that great player you want to bid on? Did your expenses come in as expected or do you need to make some changes? With this service you have total control of your finances all the time anywhere.
You can also check your financial situation up to 3 weeks back in time. Just like you can via the web.

Match statistics

In addition to the result you get to see all the details of the game. Who controlled the ball, who had the most free kicks and scoring chances. Do your own analysis straight from your mobile phone.
You can also read the full text review of the game from this page. There is nothing you want to know about the game that you don’t get from the wap function.

The functions above are just a few that you find in the WAP function. Other features include::

# Read all news
# Player watch
# Bidding on players
# Challenge and accepts friendlies
# Full training report
# Search for team and user info
# and much more……