Mobile gaming is taking on a whole new attitude this year. With the announcements by Square Enix that they will be releasing all new Final Fantasy content exclusively for mobile phones, it is evident that the attitude of the gaming industry’s attitude toward games on cell phones is changing dramatically. Another sign of the changing times and attitudes are the announcements made at the Sprint Press conference and Gamers’ Lounge and press conference.

With announcements and lineups from Namco, Glu, Hands On Mobile, EA Mobile, and Motricity, Sprint showed their true commitment to remaining a leader in the industry in quality and quantity of games available. Additionally, they gave members of the media a little surge as Tony Gonzales of the Kansas City Chiefs, Nicole Richie, and Pac-Man helped to make all of the announcements.

The highlights of the press conference included the announcement of Madden ’07 on Sprint phones, Super Pac-Man’s (which was born out of a phone call from General Manager of Games and Entertainment for Sprint Nextel Jason Ford) reemergence on Sprint’s Game Lobby and a partnership with Microsoft to bring ATV Offfoad Fury to mobile gaming.

Also announced today in a partnership with Motricity, Sprint Nextel is going to introduce a new technology first into Namco’s Galaga called micro-payments. Mirco-payments will allow incremental improvements in the gaming experience for a very small amount of money. The example that Ford showed us when we sat down in an interview with him just before the event was paying 25 cents to get a double fighter plane from the beginning of the game. When gamers update their game to have this incremental improvement, they will not be competing against other players in the Game Lobby that are not using the micro-payments systems.

For the most part, the Sprint press conference gave several updates to currently known franchises. According to Ford, Sprint’s focus for mobile gaming is going to remain on the casual gamer, believing that users of cell phones are more interested in a quick pick-up game as they multitask, rather than relying on the cell games for an immersive experience. Remember to look to Sprint for exciting mobile additions in the near future.

By Emily Rutherford – 05/11/06

Screenshots for Sprint Mobile Gaming Press Conference