Mobile game makers missed a chance to get their issues on the Federal Trade Commission's radar, according to a telecommunications lawyer who tracks game issues.
Writing for Gamasutra, Steve Augustino (left) notes that a just-issued FTC report, Beyond Voice: Mapping the Mobile Marketplace, devotes but a single paragraph - out of 54 pages - to mobile gaming. The report is the result of a two day FTC town hall conference held in May, 2008.
From Augustino's article:
There is no discussion of app stores, of the impact of the carrier deck, of other handsets as gaming platforms... of innovative games taking advantage of location capabilities of phones, or any other significant development in the mobile gaming marketplace.
There also was no discussion of the PSP, DS or DSi and the implications that wi-fi and VoIP create... It’s too bad, for this would have been a good opportunity to paint a fuller picture of the games industry and also could have been a vehicle for addressing impediments to the further growth of the platform.
Augustino doesn't blame government bureaucrats for the oversight. Instead, he faults the mobile game industry for failing to take the initiative. He told GamePolitics:
I do not fault the FTC. They organized this conference based on the entities that they knew about or that expressed an interest in participating. My point is that the games industry is being silent and that the silence could harm them. Too much of what the industry does is defensive... The industry cannot win if it always plays defense.
I think the FTC "Mapping the Mobile Marketplace" is an example of a missed opportunity for the industry to discuss its successes and to present a different image to the policy makers.