Mobile gaming (cont’d)
So what will people be playing on these new high-powered smartphones? Shah admitted that if he knew the answer to this question things would be a lot better off for his company. However, the current best-selling mobile phone games are puzzle titles like Scrabble or Tetris, or maybe an old school first person shooter like Doom. "I'm not going to play World of Warcraft on my phone," Shah told us. However, as phones become more powerful, more game genres should open up for phones.
Even with the "learning experience" of the N-Gage console, Shah told us that Nokia is committed to the mobile phone game market. At GDC on Monday the company announced plans for the Forum Nokia Pro Games Zone which will supply game developers with the tools and support needed to make games for Nokia's current and upcoming smartphone designs. As Shah told us, they want game developers to concentrate on making games and not having to deal with other phone features, "You develop the game; we will do the rest," he told us. Nokia also announced the release of a new SDK for game developers at GDC on Monday and showed off some new phone interfaces for games during a keynote speech.
While the initial N-Gage didn't excite gamers or developers, Nokia is now concentrating its efforts on making its current and next-generation smartphone designs a solid choice for the mobile phone game market, and Shah seems confident that the company is now on the right track. "Nokia has the expertise to handle it," he told FiringSquad. Time will tell if he is correct.
Discover DISCover again
Some of you may remember DISCover as a company that like Infinium Labs, tried and failed to release a PC-oriented game console that would making installing and playing PC games as easy as those on a game console. Unlike Infinium Labs however, DISCover didn't stop from trying to make PC games easier to install and play; they just decided to do it another way. During GDC on Tuesday I met up with DISCover's vice-president of marketing Mike McCullough to go over their current and future software products.
DISCover has decided to concentrate on making games more accessible via a My Games tab in the Windows Media Center OS. Windows MCE doesn't have a native My Games tab so DISCover created one with their software tools. Their efforts are being licensed by people like Hewlett Packard and Sony for use in their own Windows Media PCs. It's a growing market, according to McCullough who told us that currently 43 percent of all PCs being sold in the US have the Media Center version of Windows.
So what does having the My Games selection add? According to DISCover, with their technology you can install and play games much faster than you could with just using the regular Windows XP OS. No more having to click on tons of tabs and selections while installing a game. DISCover has special scripts written for each game that tells the Media Center PC how to install the game automatically. All you need to do is to type in the CD key to play. The interface for managing your PC games on your hard drive is much easier with DISCover's software. McCullough showed us a My Games interface with a Windows Media Center-based laptop. The menus and labels were all clear and easy to click on and handle, versus the sometimes confusing way Windows XP handles how games are displayed on the typical Start menu. McCullough admitted it was a time-consuming process to write each and every script. That means that they have concentrated on making scripts for the top 150 games for the PC in the last couple of years.