Keith Adair, I-play’s global VP of sales and marketing for mobile, told mocoNews that Android has at least one advantage: Not only can games be distributed via Google’s Android Market, but increasingly carriers will launch their own portals on the platform, enabling a second point of distribution. While carriers are still defining their portal strategy on Android, the new distribution channels will likely give long-established mobile developers, like I-play and others, a boost because they have valuable operator contacts.
Adair: “We see a big opportunity on the carrier side. I don’t believe that the Google marketplace will be the only interesting channel for Android content.”
Adair said carriers are still working on their exact strategy, but that the portals will take several shapes and forms. Given that consumers can download and discover content more freely on smartphones, it will be interesting to see how the carrier differentiate themselves and draw consumers into their portals.
The New York-based company said it will launch about 20 titles this year for Android, including such I-play franchises as Fast & Furious, Deal or No Deal and Bubble Town. In addition, Oberon said it will develop social and micro-transaction services for Android. Some features may include connected games and multi-player functionality, although those won’t be available until March. Most new releases will start to come out this month, but I-play has already tested a couple of games in the market: Deal or No Deal and Sexy Pillowfight. According to the Android market, both were marked down for a holiday special to $1.49 and 99 cents, respectively. Neither have performed terribly well. Sexy Pillowfight received between 1,000 and 5,000 downloads, and Deal or No Deal garnered 500 to 1,000.
The focus on Android follows a significant restructuring at Oberon, which included the departure of Oberon’s COO Don Ryan and a round of layoffs. Other cut-backs occurred as recently as November 2008, just after the company said it raised $20 million in additional capital.