The million-dollar question is – what is the future of mobile gaming, and specifically the future of poker applications? Well, the logical first question is – Is the technology there to play for real money right now? “I think so.” Babbs says “Technically, you could do it, but it really comes down to a consumer experience issue. By the time it takes to put a credit card in, go through the security measures, etc…its really a pain in the butt.”
Given that the technology exists, it seems only a matter of time until (at least in certain parts of the world) mobile poker/gaming for real money is here, and here to stay. “There’s no doubt that around the world its going to happen” says Babbs “What’s happened with the online sites in the poker world will probably happen in the mobile space””A lot of the guys in the online (poker) world are probably looking at the mobile space right now.””I think it really comes down to a geographic issue as well, as to what the laws are in the individual territory”. As with any gaming related issue, it seems the issue of mobile gaming for real money will come down to local laws, and gaming regulations in the individual country the cell carrier is operating in.
Ban sees the future of real money gaming as an opportunity for him, and his company. “That [real money mobile gaming] is something that we are always looking to do. Obviously, right now from a legal perspective, in the US its just not doable, but as we branch out internationally, its an angle for the game that we would love to get into, its something that we could do very easily.”
The question becomes what about the good ol US of A? Obviously, the issue of internet gaming has been a sticky one these past couple years. The mobile arena, however, seems a little more cut and dried, as carriers are subject to local laws and regulations. What about a mobile service offering some kind of offshore gaming application – Is this possible? “In the US, it is illegal to be running any type of interstate gaming””We’re not in that space, and we have no plans today to be in that space”. “I don’t think the carriers are going to touch it, because it is illegal, and they are a highly regulated industry” says Babbs. Ban tends to agree “Gambling is a sensitive subject…not only to carriers, but to device manufacturers and to large networks…it’s a little tricky to get around sometimes”.
Infospace has come up with a value solution where cash does not change hands with1xbet Review, but the more skilled players can be rewarded with prizes that are donated via sponsors. Prizes range from T-shirts to gift cards, which spend like cash. Holdem plus for prizes is Infospace’s primary poker offering. “First of all, we wanted to create something that didn’t exist in the mobile realm at all, which is a mobile multi player tournament environment where people compete against each other for prizes.” Thus far, Babbs is pleased with the results. “We went live late 2003 on Verizon and Alltel and we’ve just passed 12 million total games played”.
The Hellmuth Holdem game has a ranking system, where players can go to the games dedicated website, and see how they match up to the other subscribers on the system. Thus far, Gary Ban is pleased with the results “We launched Hellmuth Holdem in May of 2004, and given the limited distribution capability of the game thus far, we are very please with the amount of subscriptions.”