Monty's Mobile Gaming Outlook

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Monty's Gaming and Wireless Outlook - Issue 216

Earlier this week Amnesty International announced a campaign to highlight the number of people who have been jailed for the opinions they expressed in their blogs or web pages.

No prizes for guessing which particular countries took exception to free speech and naturally this newsletter endorses such a campaign, so three cheers for Amnesty, a UK organisation that should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize every year.

Blogs, of course, are a form of user-generated content, a phrase that is becoming increasingly annoying in the way it is banded around as the next big thing. User-generated this, user-generated that, whoopee whoopee woo, aren't we in the know? We're all going to be independent TV channels, our own media machine, the individual triumphs and so on.

But user-generated content is shit. In fact, most of mobile user-generated content is shit porn. And look at YouTube - user-generated content that has no (present) respect for copyright and other people's IP - and occasionally has no respect for people's common rights either.

And some people bang on about user-generated content (I'm even beginning to despise typing the bloody phrase) as if it's new. It's not. I spent my youth at the breakfast table being brainwashed by the back of cereal packets telling me I might win a prize if I sent in 20 words why cornflakes were the nuts (so to speak).

Great idea by the way. Get all the kids and parents to come up with a 20-word strapline that would cost thousands if an agency was hired to do it. That's it! Unrecognised-user-generated content, that's the new black! Drop the phrase into a conversation next time you have a meeting. You'll be adored.

Finally, this week's prize for most useful mobile application comes from DoCoMo in Japan who have produced a mobile phone that comes with a breathalyser. Maybe not as noble as Amnesty's current campaign, but an innovation that may save many lives. Cheers, DoCoMo!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monty's Gaming and Wireless Outlook - Issue 215

A report this week from the venerable London School of Economics has told us what a lot of us have known for years - that the human species is likely to 'split in two' over the coming millennia.

According to the report by evolutionist theorist Oliver Curry (change your name, mate, you sound like a posh Indian porn star) a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass will naturally emerge from our selection processes.

Furthermore, our reliance on gadgets means we will begin to resemble the pets that we currently domesticate. Well, well, well, tell us something we don't already know - the mobile phone already has made us the laziest b*stards to ever walk the planet... And some are lazier than others.

ALLEGEDLY, earlier this year Paris Hilton was due to release a text service where she would send two texts a weeks to (the tens of fans) likely to subscribe to the service. Unfortunately, this noble enterprise was nipped firmly in the handset when her people ALLEGEDLY said 'texting was a bit too much for her'. Say. No. More.

Others, however, are much more dynamic and the odd hat off to operator O2 who did something good this week. Instead of offering more content and whizz-bang-whatever, they announced they were cutting down on the extortionate prices charged for incoming calls when their customers are in different European countries.

And about time, too. Charging for such calls is scandalous and pisses me off more than wheelie-bags and cyclists riding on the pavement. Hopefully, other operators will do the same and extend the service to the US.

My bill last month after spending a week in California was £400 and made me feel like a dim-witted underclass sub-species for putting up with it. So, over to the operators. Act like the genetic upper class you profess to be and evolve your businesses decently. Your future depends on it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Monty's Gaming and Wireless Outlook - Issue 214

Some people have the weirdest obsessions and a 26-year-old German student only identified as 'Pablo' wanted so much to be one of the clay Chinese terracotta statues that last week he made his own dusty brown suit and stood among the warriors at the famous site in Xian. What an utter-nutter.

Apparently he blended in so well that it took security guards several hours to locate him. I'd love to report that he gave himself away when his mobile went off with a Buffalo Soldier ringtone, but that wouldn't be true.... or maybe it would be a Chinese whisper - ha-ha. Sorry. I'll. Get. My. Coat.

What is true, however, are the slightly baffling messages that emanated from Carphone Warehouse this week. Hot on the heels of its pugnacious move into the US by partnering with BestBuy, came the news it was buying AOL UK for £370 million, quickly followed by Vodafone's announcement that it was dumping Carphone for Phones 4u.

Who'd be a shareholder with that lot? Sell, no, buy, hang on, buy, no, stop, sell, buy, no, sell, sell sell! As it is, the retailer's share price has fallen by about £620 million this week and there may be more bad news to come - Orange is also 'reviewing' its relationship with Carphone.

While the AOL UK purchase makes good business sense, does Vodafone's decision mean the beginning of the end of High Street retailers reselling operator contracts? Mmm, tough one and it depends on the Phones 4u deal, but the landscape is changing drastically for operators and cost-cutting is always the first step for businesses that are retrenching.

I know this well from my motorbike despatch-riding days in London. You could always tell a recession was coming when there were fewer jobs to deliver. Companies that have money to burn are lazy and the I-can't-be-bothered-to-go-over-there-put-it-on-a-bike-brigade are the first to go when the money dries up.

Similarly, it may be the same way with operators - the we-can't-be-bothered-to-sell-direct-let's-use-that-outsourcer days may indeed be over and, like our friend Pablo, it doesn't matter how you dress it up, you'll get found out in the end.