Definitions, Key Characteristics, and Generations of Mobile Games

Definitions, Key Characteristics, and Generations of Mobile Games

Eui Jun Jeong (Michigan State University, USA) and Dan J. Kim (University of Houston Clear Lake, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-054-7.ch026
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Abstract

In the emerging wireless environment of digital media communications represented as ubiquitous and convergence, rapid distribution of handheld mobile devices has brought the explosive growth of the mobile content market. Along with the development of the mobile content industry, mobile games supported by mobile features such as portability (mobility), accessibility (generality), and convenience (simplicity) have shown the highest growth rate in the world game market these days. In-Stat/MDR (2004) and Ovum (2004) expect that the mobile games’ annual growth rate between 2005 and 2009 will be around 50% in the United States and 30% in the world. According to KGDI (2005) and CESA (2005), compared to the rate of the whole game market (5%) of the world, it is about six times higher, and it exceeds the rate of video console (10%) and online games (25%). Mobile games thus are predicted to be one of the leading platforms in the world game market in 10 years’ time. In addition, as the competition among game companies has been enhanced with the convergence of game platforms, mobile games are being regarded as a breakthrough for the presently stagnant game market, which has focused on heavy users. However, due to the relative novelty of mobile games, there are a few visible barriers in the mobile game industry. First, definitions and terminologies and key characteristics related to mobile games are not clearly arranged as yet. Second, there is little research on the classification and development trends of mobile games. Therefore, this article is designed to contribute insights into these barriers in three ways. Firstly, the article provides narrow and broad definitions of mobile games. Secondly, key characteristics, platforms, and service types of mobile games are discussed. Finally, following the broad definition of mobile games, this article classifies mobile games as one to fourth generations and one pre-generation. Characteristics and examples of each generation are also presented.

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