My week in mobile: Gaming Trends, Apple and Samsung figures and Rim- the end?

So I’ve spent the last few days trawling the gaming conferences in London, a period that we think should be christened London Play Week. Between ICE ‘Totally Gaming’, the Mobile Games Forum and the Social Games and Virtual Goods Forum, there were 450-plus exhibitors plying their goods and services. These were not to be confused with the British Toy Fair, which was also going on this week. But these aren’t toys, this is serious.

The view from above at ICE

Top Gaming Trends for 2012

At ICE, the word was mobile. And no wonder. We’ve got reports coming out our ears saying that, after a bumper Christmas, clicks are up, and, so are budgets.
News that the US Department of Justice might change its interpretation of illegal gambling has encouraged several big players in UK gaming market to look to the States for opportunities and partners in the cash gambling space. We want to know how a hybrid model might work, combining the massive reach of social games with the targeting required for cash players.
The challenge now for many gaming brands isn’t user acquisitions – FREE £10 TRIAL!!! is easy – but lies with conversion and monetisation. With the right investment in the right promotions, the cost of acquisition is fully repaid – in user loyalty.
Ross Sleight, Somo’s Chief Strategy Officer, headed over to speak on a panel at the Mobile Gaming Forum. Ruffling feathers as usual, he stuck to his guns on the importance of tablet growth. And the figures speak for themselves, with Android cornering a fair share of the market and Kindle Fire putting on an impressive New Year show. This is a massive growth area, a relaxed, creative device perfect for entertainment and gaming. The FT reported this morning that American tablet owners watch 50 hours of longform video on their device every month. So watch this space.

Other winners this week…

Where @Sleighty also lays his support is with the Windows Phone, with reports this week that the Nokia Lumia running the Microsoft OS has crept towards 1 million sales. If the phone market is a democracy, then they are the new third party. They probably won’t get into power, but they make a change from just the two. Despite a slump, we’re excited to see the next collaboration on the horizon. Apple released growth figures that were frankly mind-blowing. Not to be outdone in what is a close race; today’s Samsung figures are also impressive.

And the not so…

After a bad few months at RIM, this week they hired a new CEO, hell bent on much of the same. RIM still has two audiences – corporate and teens – and Thorston Heins has said they will concentrate on consumers. Nielsen reported that in the US in Q3 last year, teens sent and received a whopping 3417 texts each per month. Although RIM may be struggling, they still have a valuable, and generally hard to reach audience here. Their Playbook is a classic example of a brand following a trend rather than recognising who their advocates are. They are loved by many for their commitment to the Qwerty keyboard. So can, or rather will RIM make money out of text-based communications for the young? Otherwise, we reckon Facebook, with its legions of fans among the same audience, could help them make a go of it…
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