At the first Nokia Games Summit, held in Amsterdam this week, and which representatives from Gamasutra attended, Lee Epting, Vice President of Forum Nokia, gave some interesting insights into the future of the relationships between the mobile phone giant, which currently has around 33% of the world market for cell phone handsets, and the game development community.
Nokia has already established a significant support community with its Forum Nokia website, and in 2004 consolidated on that with a new proposition, Forum Nokia Pro. Epting explained, "Pro is about one-to-one dialogue. We looked at the forum members and realised that within the wide spread of activity there were some who would really benefit from that closer level of support." The pay-to-access Forum Nokia Pro now has around five hundred external developers working in a number of different sectors – 22% of them explicitly within game development.
The need to differentiate the focus within Forum Nokia Pro became obvious, as Epting continued, "We know that the top level titles in terms of visibility of mobile are games. So what we want to focus on now is a zone within Pro, where we can really work in close proximity with the top group of mobile game development companies. We can't do this without the content, they can't do it without the handsets. We have to listen to what each other think."
This new initiative, Game Zone, will be launched in Q1 2006 and promises to promise a higher level of collaboration between Nokia and its partners. Epting claims Nokia are looking to enter into real dialogue with the development community to help to create the platforms that they can push better and better content onto. The emphasis is on candid collaboration to move the platform forward, developers contributing their input into future handset designs. Epting smiles as she concludes, "Y'know.. You can only have so many Solitaire games…"
Gamasutra will have full coverage of the Nokia Games Summit event, including details of the mobile developers exhibiting there, in the near future.