Tokyo Game Show: A War On Java BREWing
We talked to a number of new and established Japanese companies and they were pessimistic about the BREW platform. The general consensus from most developers was that BREW is a bind: without a market, they won’t invest the three or four months it takes to develop a BREW games app. But without the app, where’s the market. Then we had a fascinating chat with the CEO of HelloNet, a Korean BREW contents developer, about their real-time multiplayer network games that are set to roll out here soon. Our interview with Sammy Networks yielded an interesting comment on who to watch for the next mobile gaming market boom in Asia. You better grab a coffee and sit back to enjoy a whole new kind of 3G -Games, Geeks and Girls- video show.
By December HelloNet Co. Ltd. of Busan, Korea, will launch a Massive Multi-Player (interactive) BREW based game in Japan making use of KDDI’s CDMA 1X speed, Chief Executive Officer Lee Hwan Joon told WWJ at last week’s Tokyo Game Show. With something like 5 million downloads, Lee – to put it bluntly – said any company with a decent C language programmer and KDDI’s telephone number has the keys to the house. As he said this, an emulator was busy running Virtual Soccer Manager, Dark Horse (HelloNet’s uberself in the Japanese space?), Snow Pang, My Angel, All In One Dialog, and other games.
We asked Lee if Qualcomm is actively helping. He smiled. We asked if KDDI-sans were amendable. He smiled again. He’s all smiles, in fact. With Korean carriers ready willing and able to boost apps (KTF, for example, already has more than 50 BREW-enabled handsets) perhaps the Japanese should be heading north to unlock BREW’s potential. SK Telecom, for example, is forging ahead with EVDO and, according to the company, has raised its ARPU to $22 per sub on the faster network from about $7 per month on IXRTT.
On the other hand, JAVA is still fresh. We discovered two newcomers who have gone from zero to success, in one case from nothing to 600,000 downloads in four months flat, do the math. And, as you will see in our video program later this month, for those who can cut costs with JAVA and not corners, there’s still a treasure trove in them there phones.
Perhaps they, as in the game industry, were just trying harder, but check out the metrics for Tokyo Game Show, held September 26-28 at the Nippon Convention Center, Makuhari Messe, round the bay from Tokyo. More exhibitors: 111 compared to 85 last year and 53 in 2001. More booths: 1,426 compared to 1,407 last year and 1,373 the year before. More titles: 508:393:339 and more visitors: 150,000+: 134,000: 129,000.
In the keitai space, well we counted 75 new games for mobile phones. What initially stood out here was the fact that NTT DoCoMo had aggregated favored developers into its own booth and claimed 38 new game titles for JAVA across its handset spread.
Play Station isn’t flying off the shelves. JAVA games are. One market research outfit predicts that the global market for wireless gaming services will swell to $41 billion by 2007 compared to $561 million last year. One of the developers we interviewed asked us to introduce him to U.S. games developers!
With the hot fire of kimchi burning in the nether regions of game developer’s creative cubicles, it’s quite possible that BREW is the new frontier, not another problem.
— The Editors.