By Nick McCavitt
Hovr is a company that handles the distribution of mobile games to you, me, and all the other freewheeling gamers out there. It was formed in late 2006 by its current CEO, Vipul Sawhney, with the purpose of acting as an intermediary between developers of mobile games and its customers. According to Deepak Gupta, Vice President of Business Development for Hovr, the purpose of the company is to make the world of mobile gaming less of a strain on our funds. According to Mr. Gupta, over one-third of all mobile subscribers have paid for games, but only 2-3 percent actually got around to buying them. This is because that buying a mobile game can be expensive due to the way the industry is structured.
Gupta also said that according to Hovr's research, other mediums such as television and the Internet have premium content that is paid for by customers, and the rest is supported by advertising. Mobile game content, however, is all premium; you want to buy a new ringtone, you have to pay. Wallpaper? Same thing. Games? Oh yes..especially games. $5, $12, and even $50 in some cases to download and play games. Hovr, though, took a different approach to remove most of the cost from this by developing software called AdLogic. Quite simply, it makes all the games free. You download the game onto your phone and, upon starting the game, you watch a commercial that you can either click on or skip it and play the game. Apart from that, you will not see any other advertising at all until you start the game again. A small price to pay for having to pay no real price at all.
Hovr currently featues 100 different games on their websites which are all drawn from different design firms. The site also features a social side to the site which has been dubbed Hovr Mobilespace. You can keep track of friends and also challenge them by tracking the high score of a particular game. When they beat yours, a notification is sent to you, and then when you beat theirs another is sent to them. Thus is the spirit of healthy competition fostered. The company is currently privately funded, but it is about to undergo a period of searching for outside funding. As for what it will do with that money, Mr. Sawhney said the funds would be used to continue Hovr on the course that netted it 200,000 downloads without any publicity at all and brought it, roughly a year later, to a site that averages 40,000 downloads a week over 100 different countries but bigger and better., pick up outside investors the
Christine Arrington, a senior analyst with Acacia Research Group, stated that "Ad supported content is absolutely necessary if there is to be mass adoption of mobile phones as a content delivery platform. After years of attempts, interactive advertising finally has a chance to succeed because of companies like Hovr, which is solving two critical problems. They address creating a seamless user experience by eliminating extra steps to download and view content, and they are offering far more precise demographic targeting, making their whole solution attractive to both users and advertisers."
Arrington also added that by 2011, 71% of phones will use media but only 38% of them will have their media applications used. She said that while most people will own a cellphone, few will actually use their multimedia applications. The reason for this is what Deepak Gupta stated: Money. In this case with advertising, to lower the cost was a necessary way to encourage owners of cellphones to use all the media applications contained therein.
Jason Cirllo, a developer with Hovr, said, "Hovr is offering Robotube an innovative new way to make money from our mobile games. Our games can reach a vastly larger audience when they are downloadable for free. Typically game producers are paid per download, but Hovr is paying us based on usage. By earning mobile ad revenue each and every time our games are played, a popular game stands to earn its developer exponentially more money."
So, simply put, Hovr is making mobile gaming better for us all by giving us numerous games to download and play without us having to pay a cent. An amazing accomplishment that has already proven its success in the business world.
NickMcCavitt [at] mygamer.com