I have been a big fan of the mogi game(Japan) and mobile multiplayer gaming in general. There is much we can learn from it and much more we can read between the lines
The basic idea is simple – Its a game ‘on the move’. You pick up ‘virtual’ items. You trade them with other players.
But here is what’s more interesting about it
a) Its location based but uses GPS(for finer tracking when you are close to the item) and cell id like tracking(overall). Obviously GPS is more expensive. cellid works at a range of 300m in urban areas and 1000m in rural areas according to the site. This is one of the only examples of location based services I have seen inspite of the hype around LBS!
b) It is deployed with only one operator as far as I can see(KDDI)
c) It uses top end phones and J2ME
d) It also uses a web + mobile experience. This is becoming increasingly common
e) It uses an innovative mix of casual and hardcore gamers
“Casual players don’t seem so useful for a guild in a regular MMOG. In [Mogi] the casual player is somewhere, the casual gamer has his location going for him. For a team, the location of the player is something useful. The desktop player can send a tool to the mobile players, and teach them how to use it.” Think of this way: the web interface becomes a means for the hardcore players to orchestrate the experience for the mobile (casual) players.
f) as expected, it has a community element
It has a community dimension to it, I chat with other players, I also know how far I am from them and finding out some are less than a few hundred meters to me is really exciting. Over the past month, I bumped into a player who turned out to be the creator of the game, I had to race to pick up a flag that had been put on the map at equal distance between me and another player to encourage us to meet.
g) It costs 315yen/month which is approximately $2.94/month + IP charges
h) I was not sure about the GPS charges and the location request charges
In Europe, I would follow a slightly different strategy. The key is critical mass. Hence, instead of J2ME – I would go for WAP/SMS for mobile and complement by a much stronger web interface
Any comments welcome!