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Mobile games set for simultaneous launch

End of operator exclusivity

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Four of the largest mobile games publishers (EA, Glu, Gameloft and I-play) have agreed to launch games simultaneously on all the UK networks, removing one more avenue for network differentiation and, hopefully, reducing customer confusion.

Network operators have traditionally looked to exclusive content to differentiate themselves - anything to avoid competing directly on price. But it's become clear the mobile games market is still too small. The five per cent of customers who download games aren't prepared to switch networks to get the latest title.

With a simultaneous launch, publishers can go to the operators, say when a game will be coming out and how much they'll be spending to promote it, then leave it up to the operator to decide when, or if, to make it available. This should also make it easier for publishers to promote games - knowing that everyone will get access to the title at the same time.

If mobile gaming takes off, as repeatedly predicted by the industry, the proliferation of third-party suppliers, currently making up less than three per cent of the market, should become more important and may one day be interested in exclusive access to content themselves. But that's not going to happen any time soon. ®

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