Abandon Mobile Expands NBC Games

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Mobile Gaming

GolfAbandon Mobile has expanded its line-up of NBC Sports titles. The mobile game maker, which released "NBC Sports Figure Skating," "Bode Miller Alpine Racing" and "NBC Sports Speed Skating" around the Winter Olympics, has added a pair of new games to its library. "NBC Sports Real Golf" and "NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker Championship" both feature the NBC Sports brand and integrate NBC sportscasters into the gameplay. In the overcrowded mobile gaming space, established sports brands go a long way in enticing casual gamers to purchase a game.

The game that impressed me was "NBC Sports Real Golf." Unlike the other offerings, which feature dated 2-D graphics that harken back to the early days of console gaming, this golf game features photorealistic images, golfers that animate in a lifelike manner and real NBC video updates from announcers. Golf is the one sport that completely makes sense for NBC Sports. And the golf gaming market is crowded on mobile, which means an established brand can go a long way in enticing new gamers. There's no better game than golf to get males, especially older males, to buy a game on their mobile device.

The mobile gaming space, in general, has done a pretty bad job in the licensing department. Game companies have signed deals with particular athletes to get name recognition and then release a sub-par gaming experience. Consumers new to the mobile gaming market that like said athlete and download the game, won't likely pay for another mobile game after a bad experience. Even at $5 or $6, a bad game is a bad game. That's why it's important to integrate a brand with solid gameplay. This NBC Sports Golf Game does that, which is a good thing for the mobile games industry as a whole.

I can't say the same thing about Abandon's earlier NBC sports efforts. The idea of figure or speed skating with antiquated 2D graphics just doesn't do it for me. Not that I was the intended audience for these games, which are clearly aimed at the large amount of female gamers who have tried mobile games.

As for "NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker Championship," the NBC Sports brand probably won't fare as well in this category. If there's one thing mobile games don't need it's another poker game. There are literally hundreds of games out there. Some are good, but most are bad. I'm still not sold on the poker as a sport thing, but I know ESPN, NBC and other networks cover it as such. The graphics in this game are more like traditional videogames than the photorealism of the golf game. And the announcers from the NBC broadcast have been recreated within the game world.

Where these NBC games can gain an upper hand with consumers is with cross-promotions and marketing through the NBC network and Web site. The mobile screen allows for only a few gaming choices at a time, and all consumers see are the name of the game. That's where the NBC Sports brand can attract new customers. And the network and online side only adds to the brand's power.

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