Interview

Com2uS: 'Mobile games micro-billing will be big in 2009'

Com2uS: 'Mobile games micro-billing will be big in 2009'

A lot has changed in the world of mobile games in the past 10 years and that's something we will be looking at in our new initiative which will see us reposting PocketGamer.biz articles from the past decade.

This week we rewind to a mobile games industry, which was yet to transition to the free-to-play business model that would see it generating over $50 billion annually and become the largest single platform category.

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Com2uS plans to make micro-billing a feature in more of its mobile games this year, says Joony Koo, senior manager in the publisher's international business team.

This includes microtransactions in upcoming baseball and RPG games from Com2uS, as well as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for iPhone.

This shouldn't come as a surprise: at least year's GDC conference, Com2uS ran a session on its experiences with micro-billing in its native South Korea.

Koo says that since then, more of these games have been launched in Korea, supported by marketing from mobile operators and the publishers.

"The developments in the industry demonstrate once again how lucrative the micro-billing model can be," he says.

"Role-playing games, for example, are seeing additional revenue from micro-billing at rates as high as 90 per cent of their initial sales, while casual games are generating as much as 60 per cent of their initial sales profits in micro-billing transactions."

More IAPs

Koo says Com2uS is well underway with incorporating micro-billing into more of its games in 2009, and is placing a particular focus on using them to foster community - especially when players can buy items for games and then share them with friends.

"For example, in a multi-player home-run derby game coming from Com2uS this April, items such as bats, clothes, helmets and baseball stadiums can be purchased and sent to friends," he says.

"Meanwhile in the sequel to the popular role-playing game Chronicles of Inotia: Legend of Feanor, coming this June, players are able to purchase and trade items and maps with each other via micro-transactions."

Koo says players don't always have to pay real cash to in order to acquire items within mobile games. Com2uS allows players to get points for other activities, including buying the publisher's other games, or interacting with its communities and websites.

Chronicles of Inotia

But it's the company's ambition for micro-billing within iPhone games that are most intriguing:

"Even massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG), which are often subscription-based, are delving into micro-transactions as they enter the open-content markets for touch-based devices," he says.

"Com2uS is developing an MMORPG for iPhone and iPod Touch, expected to launch in late 2009, with a built-in micro-transaction system."

However, Apple's policy towards micro-billing is still somewhat clouded - it's unclear whether it's allowed or barred from the App Store.

Contributing Editor

Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)

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