Mobile carriers keen to tap gaming addiction

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Mobile carriers keen to tap gaming addiction

Korean mobile carriers are targeting games as a potential profit source and a driver of growth in the blooming long-term evolution (LTE) market, industry observers said.

The country’s three mobile carriers are moving to expand mobile game platforms on their LTE networks as part of efforts to lure more users to the fourth-generation network that operates up to five times faster than the existing third-generation network (3G), they said.

LG U+ yesterday unveiled a master plan to introduce a cloud-based game service that supports users in enjoying games on various mobile devices such as smartphones, tablet PCs and Internet Protocol TVs.

The nation’s No. 3 mobile carrier said cloud servers download and install the game, which frees users from the hassle of purchasing game consoles or setting up bulky programs.

LG U+ said its nationwide LTE network will be an integral part of the new service.

“The nationwide LTE network and other connectivity technologies will provide the most effective and genuine cloud game experience to users,” Chun Byung-wook, the company executive, said, noting how such service was unavailable via the slower 3G network.

“Cloud games will be one of the company’s core LTE strategies as it aims to bring about an innovative change in the LTE market,” said Chun.

LG U+, which plans to open the service to users of rival mobile carriers, said it is in talks with global game developers such as SEGA and Warner Brothers to expand its cloud game lineup.

The country’s bigger mobile carriers have also voiced interest in providing LTE-powered game services as they step up efforts to stretch the extent of LTE content.

Top mobile carrier SK Telecom has rolled out two mobile pricing plans specifically targeting LTE game players. It is set to add another plan to the list this fall.

One plan that was designed to promote Nexon‘s KartRider has garnered more than 5,000 users and 380,000 downloads in two weeks since its release last month, according to SK Telecom.

The company, which forged a strategic partnership with local game giants Nexon and Neowiz earlier this year, plans to expand the variety of content that LTE network users can enjoy.

KT has released four mobile network games that can be played on the LTE network and is set to expand its mobile game lineup in the second half.

“Mobile services are moving from text to high-definition image and video. That is the mega trend,” said KT President Pyo Hyun-myung, pledging to provide a more high-definition content via the LTE network.

“Faster speed is just one way in which LTE has a competitive edge. There’s much more potential that mobile content such as games can bring on,” said an industry watcher.

According to market research firm Strategy Analytics, global shipments of LTE smartphones are expected to grow around 10-fold from a year earlier to 67 million units this year.

Korean mobile carriers are betting on the new technology to tide over anemic growth in the local mobile market. Yonhap

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