2012 in review: Alex Bubb, Nokia
The rise of the mini tablet
As we consider the trends of the past 12 months and look forward to the next 12 months, we've asked the great and the good in the mobile gaming industry for their opinions.
Alex Bubb is head of partner management and marketing for games at Nokia, having previously worked at the likes of Sony Ericsson and T-Mobile.
Pocket Gamer: What do you think was the most significant event for the mobile games industry in 2012?
Alex Bubb: Undoubtedly the launch of Nokia Lumia 920 together with Windows Phone 8 launches - this really marks a healthy turning point in the mobile gaming platform landscape.
That aside, I would also say on an observational level that the launch of the mini tablet - Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, Galaxy Tab 7 - has also had a dramatic effect on the handheld market.
I can see this with my own children who have not touched their Nintendo’s in six months. I think this trend will accelerate and expect 6-10 year olds to be mini tablet core market for 2013.
What was the most significant event for your company?
Alongside the launch of the 920, it has to be the distribution agreements with key operators, such as China Mobile.
This is really a validation of Nokia’s co-operation with operators, and I think this will only help grow the ecosystem and deliver more opportunities for games publishers and developers in new markets for 2013.
What was your favourite mobile game of the year?
It would have to be Angry Birds Star Wars.
Great to see it launching concurrently across all platforms. Hats off to the marketing and licensing team at Rovio – this really was an excellent launch execution and truly epic game!
What do you predict will be the most important trends in 2013?
As well as the adoption of Windows 8 and Windows Phone, I also see a trend towards smartphone experiences on extremely low tier of price points and, in particular, the ‘emerging’ markets.
There is a tremendous opportunity for the industry, but also significant challenges.
The work done with mobile operators say 3-4 years ago in terms of billing enablers will come back into focus in this important volume low-end sector.
What's your New Year's resolution and what resolution would you enforce on the industry?
To keep having fun and ensuring Nokia can deliver great opportunities for its partners.
My resolution is for the industry would be to publish a self-regulatory code of conduct for in-app purchases. There is no doubt that freemium model is a welcome addition to the monetisation opportunities for games.
However, I also believe there is a strong risk that it could become the next "ringtone scandal" if not effectively managed. This is often talked about, but to date I have not seen such an industry recognised code of conduct.
Implementing such a project would be substantially beneficial for the industry.
Thanks to Alex for his time.
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