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Los Angeles, USA – Last week, game developers and industry luminaries converged in sunny Los Angeles at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, for the fifth annual LA Games Conference, a two-day action packed gathering of some of the brightest minds and most creative professionals in the gaming industry. Nokia’s own Peter Nielsen, Media and Games Product Manager, attended the conference and participated in “The Smartphone and Tablet Revolution” panel discussion.  During this session, Peter shared his viewpoints on the latest trends in gaming and social networking for mobile device users.


Observations made at the conference spanned a variety of trends and stats to watch for the remaining of this year, including:

  • The rising Gamification trend – Gartner predicts that by 2014, gamified services for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as online services, such as Facebook, eBay and Amazon;
  • The race to zero price point in app stores, specifically for games; the top selling apps will become free;
  • There’s an increased need for integrated social media with mobile apps, to further drive consumer acquisition and retention;
  • Female gamers are rising above males in social and virtual games;
  • Nearly 80% of social gamers don’t actually consider themselves as gamers;
  • From 2009 to 2010, the number of paid users [of social games] increased by 17%;
  • Consumers expect gaming content to be free;
  • Digital gaming will be shaped by the future of ad revenue;
  • Angry Birds generates over a million dollars per month.

As one of the guys behind the launch of the N-Gage mobile gaming device and service, Peter’s a veteran in the gaming space. He’s been instrumental in bringing cutting-edge gaming titles from leading and lesser-known publishers to Nokia devices ever since. One of these publishers who has achieved great success, is Electronic Arts – another LA Games Conference participant.

EA is a legend in the gaming community, well-known for creating exceptionally popular console games. Chances are that if you’re a long-time gamer, you can name at least one of EA’s hundreds of titles.

Over the last few years, the company has pushed aggressively into mobile gaming, and with the superior performance, graphics and responsive gaming controls offered by the latest generation of Symbian devices, it’s no wonder that the company’s games have become a hit in the Ovi Store. Previously here on Conversations, we profiled the top Ovi Store games, and Need for Speed SHIFT HD was at the top of the list. If you haven’t had a chance to play one of EA’s games, watch the video below. (Hint: if you have a Nokia N8, take the opportunity of using the HDMI adapter with an HD TV – the results are stunning).

The rise of free, social games on platforms like Facebook and Kongregate has been the big story in gaming over the last couple of years. While many hardcore gamers deride the simplistic gameplay of some of these products, and argue that “casual” gamers are a separate breed, there’s no denying that they command huge audiences and – equally importantly – make money, both through in-game advertising and through micropayments allowing users to ‘pimp’ their avatars, improve their powers or simply save time. We’ve already seen some mobile games with similar models – Gedda Headz springs to mind, for example.

Is this the model of game playing and purchasing that the future holds for mobile gaming? Only time will tell, but we’d be delighted to hear your thoughts.