So today I was reading through the latest issue of Revenue Magazine ,and stumbled upon their article titled “.mobi for all”. Before I go any further, I would also like say that if you’re not reading this publication each month, you should be. Likewise you should be reading all the popular gaming publications such as CAP Magazine and IGamingBusiness on a regular basis.
Thinking of the .MOBI phenomenon with respect to online poker, I remember when this TLD was first made available in September of 2006. I’m not going to lie, I considered going on domain tilt and picking up a bunch of these. At the time they were the “sexiest” new thing to enter the affiliate market. Likewise, at every gaming convention, you couldn’t walk by 2 booths without hearing about mobile gaming.
Here we are almost 15 months after the introduction of this TLD, and everyone is still waiting for the big bang. I think the article in Revenue Magazine hit the nail on the head when it asked the question, “Will anybody come to mobile landing pages?” This has always been something I questioned. Even with the new browser enabled phones, we are still mentally programmed to go to the .com. Or, we simply expect that the browsers directly from our blackberry’s or iphone’s will be enhanced for mobile media.
Let’s look at .mobi, and more specifically mobile gaming. Not just .MOBI, but online poker from a cell phone presents numerous additional issues. I have written about this in other blogs, and here are the 5 reasons I believe mobile gaming has yet to get traction in the online poker market.
1. Speed and Disconnects - Cell phone speeds are unreliable and slow. In the U.S. it is hard to have a 30 minute conversation without dropping the call at least once. Disconnects are always a pain, even when playing online from a computer with broadband or DSL speed. Imagine how bad it would be on a cell phone. I see this being a major objection for real money players.
2. Screen Size - How big can you make a cell phone screen? Not big enough that any regular online player will want to look at it. The opportunity to misclick or misread is exponentially higher than playing on a computer. Imagine playing on a 2â€³ screen with a stylusâ€¦..yuck. Once again, many real money players are not going to want to deal with this. Likewise I think your hands and thumbs would be sore holding and typing on a cell phone for hours.
3. Cost & Power - The cost of data transfer for cell phones is still rather expensive. There are hundreds of stories right now about new iphone users racking up thousands in cell phone bills. Also an application like this on your phone will burn through your battery life fairly quick. Especially when you’re thinking in terms of “poker time”.
4. Phone Calls - One key component here that is seldom mentioned. We’re talking about cell phones, we like to TALK on them. I know there have been countless times I have answered my cell phone when playing online poker. Furthermore, what happens when your in a big hand and the phone rings possibly overriding your browser?
5. Multi-Tabling – Over the past 2 years “multi-tabling” has become very popular. This will never be feasible on a cell phone.
I may be totally wrong here, and I hope that I am. But the feasibility of playing online poker for any amount of time on a cell phone right now seems many years away. Sports betting however I think is a dynamite untapped market. Please fee free to share your comments on this below.