In the latest editorial on mobile site GamesOnDeck, former EA founder and now chairman and CEO of Digital Chocolate Trip Hawkins asks why mobile gaming has seen no 'killer apps'
in the same time that the web has spawned MySpace and Facebook, and calls for Mobile Games 2.0, detailing Digital Chocolate's unique take on the idea.
Explaining that only some 5 percent of mobile users have downloaded a game, Hawkins sets up by contrast the trajectory of web technology over the same timespan as mobile development:
"Perhaps a more glaring illustration of the problem is that the last several years of mobile content have produced exactly zero killer apps. And yet in this same time period, the dotcom bubble that seemed flattened and dominated by AOL and Yahoo! came back from the dead with several killer apps, ranging from MySpace to Facebook to NeoPets to YouTube, with hundreds more now venture-funded and on the way.
Why can't mobile be more like the Web? Well, it can. We just need to repeat the lessons that were learned from SMS, the first mobile killer app, which followed the Internet principles of social value and viral spread."
How to move the industry forward? Hawkins explains his company's DChoc Café
initiative, which includes a series of interlinked casual titles spanning solitaire to mahjong to sudoku, which, he says, will attempt to capitalize on viral properties:
"A variety of 10 unique viral methods enable consumers to discover the Café series for the first time. Even better, consumers can have a free trial, unlike the history of most mobile downloads that always asked for the money up front. It might be an SMS from a friend that contains a link, or an email, or a short-code, or even a free trial that was preloaded onto a new handset. The games also cross-promote, so that a consumer that is playing any one of the games is regularly offered free trials on the other games. The key is to enable viral discovery and free trial like the Internet, where a customer may be only one click away."
You can now read the complete feature
, with more from Hawkins on spawning Mobile 2.0, including how the industry can follow an otherwise unlikely lead -- Starbucks (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).