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Q&A: JT Klepp, CEO, MoConDi

MoConDi recently released Fantasy Date, a WAP-based interactive fictional mobile video dating game, and Games on Deck talked to MoConDi CEO, JT Klepp about the company, the title, and what the future holds.

Mathew Kumar

May 12, 2008

6 Min Read

 MoConDi recently released Fantasy Date, a WAP-based interactive fictional mobile video dating game, and Games on Deck talked to MoConDi CEO, JT Klepp about the company, the title, and what the future holds.

Games On Deck: Tell us about MoConDi- the company, its history.

JT Klepp: MoConDi launched in 2003 as a service provider in the mobile content space. We have been pioneers in the industry, being the first to launch a games portal for Java games (midletcentral.com - came through an acquisition we made early), and were the first to establish an open platform for content providers to reach the mobile user when we launched in February 2003. We also launched what was arguable Western Europe's most successful games portal for 3G together with H3G Italy, reaching over a 10% service penetration (which even peaked at 35% off a successful marketing campaign).

GOD: Do you develop titles in house, or with external developers?

JTK: We used to develop games (acquired Overloaded in 2006). However, we realized that the games production space was too competitive for us, and it was furthermore tough to both be a service provider and a games producer in a small company. Licenses were becoming expensive, and unless you specialized in a games niche, which we did not, making it as a small brand would require more investments than we were willing to put in.

GOD: Tell us about Fantasy Date.

JTK: Fantasy Date is really much more than a game, it is an interactive experience. We have purposely created a story with fictional characters that is designed to engage and entertain the user, where the focus is on the dialog and the characters, as opposed to perhaps focusing on the looks of the characters.

A key element is also the ability to engage with the game itself. In January, we will launch www.myfantasydate.tv which allows people to submit videos of themselves as Fantasy Date characters, and actually compete to become the next Fantasy Date character.

So the concept spans entertainment, gaming, community/interaction and dating. This is why you will find this under the Chat and Dating site on Sprint, as opposed to video content or games.

GOD: Can you talk a little about how it works, technologically?

JTK: With regards for Fantasy Date, we have used a 3rd party company for the game server, and we have produced the video clips ourselves (partnering with a production company for the actual shooting of course).

Technically the game logic is on a server, and it is wap/xhtml based. Videos can be streamed or downloaded, where we also use a 3rd party for the streaming video.

Each story line is made up of 3 levels, where each level has 3 scenarios, and each scenario has 3 possible outcomes for you to look at. Between each level, the character will tell you how you are doing, and there is of course a bonus video at the end if you do well, or you will get the "flushed" video if you don't.

GOD: What's the exact market for the title?

JTK: Although we have 1 male character, we have made the product more male oriented and produce mainly female characters. The reason is that since this is a 3G product, we wanted to target the 3G user base, which in many markets means the gadget focused, early adopters which tend to be male.

Age wise if fits for a broad range, probably from 16 to 35, since the script is made to be funny and entertaining, while still providing that element of fantasy.

GOD: Is this a title that's really aimed at non-gamers?

JTK: I would not even refer to it as a title. It is definitely meant to be broad, and I don't think we are trying to fool anyone into thinking that this is comparable to playing a java games, as it is an entirely differenct experience.

GOD: How as the response been to it?

JTK: When this was first run in Italy the response was staggering. It reached 10% service penetration in a very short time and people loved it. The product at that time was a much longer story. But based on experience, most people watched fewer clips thus we shortened each story down in order to try and entice people to complete the story.

In the US we really only went live a few weeks ago. We are about to start the marketing campaign on Sprint which will be exciting. As for the B2B market, most operators we have talked to love it, so we have high hopes to possibly establish this as a new category of mobile entertainment.

GOD: Have you faced any claims of sexism?

JTK: Every single sentence and every single clip has been reviewed both by an internal team and by a team from our customers. The story is made to be PG friendly as well, and thus we have had no such claims. This is really about being entertained - about letting your mind drift for a few minutes when you have the time, but also to allow you to engage with fellow "fantasy daters" if you want.

GOD: Do you have any other titles in the works?

JTK: We do have several ideas for other interactive adventures. From our point of view though, the key is that there is an interactivity and engagement element in what we launch. This is important, as is the case for Fantasy Date, we want to be able to involve media partners who see the product as a natural fit for their customer base. This will allow us to think of campaings we can do together, which will help promote the product and drive usage. The next project will undoubtedly be spurred based on our interaction with these companies.

GOD: What does the future hold for MoConDi?

JTK: At the moment, we are excited about finally rolling out MeYou - which has been an enormous success story as a viral marketing tool in Europe - on a global basis. Combined with Fantasy Date and our soon to be launched Revboks mobile video portal - it completes our product offering of tools that allow you to engage the mobile consumer.

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Mathew Kumar

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Mathew Kumar is a graduate of Computer Games Technology at the University of Paisley, Scotland, and is now a freelance journalist in Toronto, Canada.

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