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Who Operates a Game Server?

The emergence of the mobile game ecosystem opens new avenues for competition. Game server ownership is one such example in which several parties vigorously compete to acquire a leadership position. Several parties might operate the game server and services. Primarily, there are two alternatives: the carrier-assisted model and the independent model.

In a carrier-assisted model, a game developer, a publisher, or a third-party cooperates with a carrier to roll out the game services. The carrier gives access to its billing and messaging interfaces. Table 3.1 presents the strengths and weaknesses of different players when game-server development is done in cooperation with a carrier.

Table 3.1 Game Platform Developers in Review

 

Systems Integrator

Game Publisher

Game Developer

Strengths and benefits

Systems integrators have the best knowledge of integrating complicated entities such as billing.

A single platform for all games, distributed by the publisher, hastens time-to-market for new games.

A game developer knows what services are needed from the game play point of view.

 

One common platform can be developed for a carrier to facilitate all games, enabling faster time-to-market for new games.

Knowledge of the business aspects of games.

 

Weaknesses

No experience in the game business.

Limited experience in systems integration.

Limited experience in systems integration.


In an independent model, the players in the game business provide services on their own, separate from any carriers (see Figure 3.6). For example, all Internet-type services, such as the download of additional game levels, patches, cheats, trials and game-related content, wallpapers and ring tones, can be offered directly. Obviously, the network access, provided by a carrier for the end users and by an Internet service provider to the game providers, is needed to deliver the content.

Because game providers do not have access to carrier-provided services, they need to handle billing, messaging, and other functions normally offered by the carrier differently. One option is to integrate them into the game platform using the game provider's own facilities.

Figure 3.6Figure 3.6 The independent model for games provisioning.

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