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Kevin Smith

World Gaming Throws Hat into Wireless Gaming Ring

11 October 2001

If there was any doubt where the future is headed for interactive gaming, it was answered last week at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

While its competitor Chartwell Technologies was exhibiting a new suite of games for mobile phones, World Gaming plc was showing off its platform of games for pocket PCs and PDAs.

Jodi Littlepage, an account executive with World Gaming, said the new package, which includes blackjack, slots and sports betting, is now available for licensees to integrate into their sites.

The games are the result of an agreement between World Gaming and Sona Innovations in which World Gaming will deploy three games for Microsoft's Pocket PC and Palm OS systems built on the Sona Wireless Platform.

The PDA-based games presented the best first-step for World Gaming, Littlepage said, due to their screen size and capabilities, input method, power management, network bandwidth, device memory, graphics and processor power.

World Gaming CEO Michael Aymong told IGN in August that the company was preparing itself for its next generation of games and that wireless was going to be the centerpiece to those efforts.

"The wireless market is growing exponentially and it represents a very real opportunity for World Gaming to expand its global presence, particularly in Europe and Asia where wireless gaming is more advanced," he said. "Wireless is an exciting new opportunity for World Gaming, enlarging our total available market and increasing revenue streams for our existing products and services."

Littlepage said the games included in the wireless package are those most demanded by the players. More games, she said, will be added to the wireless suite in the future.

A recent Datamonitor report projects that revenues from the total mobile gaming markets in the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific will grow from an estimated $950 million in 2001 to $17.5 billion in 2006.

Jeff Halloran, president and CEO of Sona Innovations said the main reason it has taken a while for gaming companies like World Gaming to adopt their software to wireless technology was due to security issues.

"Data is typically encrypted then decrypted, which has inherent security risks," he said. "The robust architecture of Sona's technology is very unique, as it does not use public gateway servers and it rapidly deploys an animated presentation layer unlike any other wireless service."

Once those security issues were addressed with Sona's technology, Halloran said, it had to be tweaked so the quality of play wasn't compromised.

"Through our unique end-to-end secure approach to deploying applications on handheld devices, we are able to deliver to World Gaming a wireless solution that provides the level of presentation, performance and protection the World Gaming community has come to expect," he said.

Aymong said World Gaming evaluated several vendors before choosing Sona Innovations and that the decision to go with Sona was based on a host of reasons. He said the firm has a strong commitment to continue diligent support of World Gaming products and services, along with synergies of respective business models and the number of wireless devices supported.

David Pasieka, COO of World Gaming predicts the new wireless options will be a big hit among current and future operators due to their ease of adaptation.

"Our new wireless suite of products is a plug-in solution, requiring no back-end integration, that leverages and extends existing World Gaming technologies, products and services," he said.

Pasieka said that World Gaming and other gaming companies are just scratching the surface with the wireless platform. He said his company has aligned itself with a good partner who has vast experience in wireless and will be able to help World Gaming realize its full potential with wireless technology.

"Wireless technology is still in its infancy and is continuously evolving," he said. "Standards, protocols, network and client device issues require significant and dedicated development resources. Sona Innovations' experience successfully delivering bullet-proof applications for the banking and brokerage industries has made the company the ideal supplier for World Gaming and has addressed our concerns over security."

World Gaming Throws Hat into Wireless Gaming Ring is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith