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Need For Speed

SUNNYVALE, CA, United States – Gaming is a huge part of technology, whether you look at console gaming on an Xbox 360, PC Gaming, or gaming on your Nokia phone.

Nokia phones such as the Lumia 900, with its monster ClearBlack display, cutting edge graphics and Windows Phone OS make a great platform to develop games on.

Now and into the future, Windows Phone is a great ecosystem to be developing games on. With Xbox Live capabilities, players can have a unified experience across Windows platforms.

To get a sense of the value of this proposition, we sought out leaders two of the world’s largest games developers, including Glenn Roland, Electronic Arts‘ VP of New Platforms and OEMs and Phillipe Rapin, Konami‘s Head of Mobile Development Europe.

1) What makes Windows Phone an exciting platform to create games on?

Mr. Roland, EA: From a macro perspective, we love the fact that both Microsoft and Nokia, titans in their respective industries, are involved together with Windows Phone and Nokia Lumia devices.  Of course, we think there’s a huge opportunity in extending EA’s reach in the North American market on Windows Phone, but there are worldwide markets that Nokia has leverage into that no other handset maker can touch. When it comes to being a partner for EA, Nokia can deliver a global reach.

Also, we like the fact that Microsoft has such a huge reach into PC, console, and now mobile gaming with the tight relationship with Nokia, made this a no-brainer decision for Electronic Arts. We’re the world’s largest games provider and we want to be on the platform that has the most potential for us.

From the micro perspective, we love the fact that the user experience and user interface for Windows Phone is the same across carriers worldwide. Windows Phone is a platform that is intuitive and easy to use. Features such as Live Tiles and consumption of content are done in a unique and inviting fashion – we like that a lot.

Mr. Rapin, Konami: We have been supporting WP since the platform’s launch last year. We’re excited about the platform because it brings the power of console gaming into the mobile platform. We love carrying achievements to Xbox Live accounts to the phone – there is a lot of added value.

I like call the combination of Windows PC gaming, Windows Phone and Xbox to be the ‘three pillars’. Do you see it that way, is it attractive to EA?

Mr. Roland, EA: Absolutely. Our audience wants to consume content anywhere and everywhere – we love this triple play of sorts.

What titles is are you particularly excited about? Which are the most popular? How many games are there in the Marketplace?

Mr. Roland, EA: We currently have six products in the Windows Marketplace including The Sims and Need for Speed. At Nokia World a few months ago, we announced our strategic agreement with Nokia and Microsoft that will bring an additional 21 titles to the Marketplace – making 27 in total – coming first to Nokia Lumia.

Some of the upcoming titles include: The Sims, Need for Speed, Plants vs. Zombies, Mirrors Edge, and Hasbro titles including the Game of Life and Trivial Pursuit.

Another cool thing is that we have engaged our independent arm as well, known as Chillingo.  With the partnership, we have engaged more than 3500 independent developers and are bringing 10 independent titles to Marketplace as well.

Mr. Rapin, Konami: Pro Evolution Soccer is popular because the game of soccer is such an established sport worldwide. Also, PES is a franchise that has been around for over 15 years. Castlevania is the other title we’re especially proud of.

What has been most beneficial about Windows Phone specifically?

Mr. Roland, EA: Windows Phone is an easy platform to develop for and we love the consistent user interface and user experience.

What advice/guidance would you give developers who are interested in Windows Phone development?

Mr. Roland, EA: Windows Platform is one that gives us the ability to deliver amazing experiences to consumers. There’s a lot of hype in other platforms and with other companies, but with Nokia Lumia phones powered by Windows Phone, here’s a real opportunity here that doesn’t exist elsewhere.

Mr. Rapin, Konami: It’s a very accessible platform and easy to develop for.

Plants vs. Zombies

What facets of the Nokia Lumia phones are particularly exciting to mobile gaming?

Mr. Roland, EA: Primarily, it’s the engineering quality. Once placed into the hands, a Nokia Lumia smartphone speaks for itself with its exceptional feel, amazing hardware and a fit and finish that is astounding.

We publicly announced at Nokia World that we are supporting every mobile platform that Nokia supports.  We’re investing a lot into this partnership and feel there is a lot of potential across Nokia’s product line.

Mr. Rapin, Konami: Nokia’s screen quality is second to none. We love ClearBack Display and feel it allows for an immersive experience when playing PES.  Also – Nokia has a wide global reach and with soccers’ global audience, PES complements this well.

Tell me more about yourself and the team you lead.

Mr. Roland, EA: I run a global business development team for our New Platforms and our OEM business.  We are responsible for the gaming experience on all our mobile platforms (excluding Apple) and for Facebook. The team also manages business development for OEMs.  We are spread across London, Singapore, Korea and Los Angeles.  I made my mobile gaming entrance in 2005 as one of the founders of Mobile Post Production, Inc, a company that EA acquired in 2011.

Mr. Rapin, Konami: I’m the head of mobile development for Europe. We adapt Konami’s famous titles for the mobile platform.

What are your favorite games?

Mr. Roland, EA: For console gaming, I love Battlefield 3.  And on my Nokia phone, Need for Speed is my favorite title.

Mr. Rapin, Konami: No doubt, it is PES