Newspaper Gets Into The Mobile Gaming Business
By Mike Masnick, Sat Mar 12 01:15:00 GMT 2005

Many newspapers are trying to figure out how the mobile revolution applies to them. While there are many obvious ways to embrace mobile data, offering a mobile game seems like an odd decision.

Many newspapers recognize that even beyond the Internet, mobile data represents a real challenge to their current business. While some are recognizing that it's a huge opportunity, they're not quite sure how to embrace it. As with similar situations elsewhere, it's not all that surprising to see some odd decisions made. Witness the Philippine Daily Inquirer's decision to offer a mobile SMS murder mystery game. According to the article, "Inquirer readers are invited to closely follow a fictional murder case, play detective, and identify the murderer."

Sounds like fun -- but what does it have to do with the newspaper? That's not clear at all. It sounds like they're just doing it because they can, and leveraging the name of the newspaper to offer the game. It's probably not a bad marketing strategy for the game, but if newspapers are really going to embrace the mobile data world, shouldn't they at least be looking for opportunities that actually enhance the news business as well?

Instead of just doing a random game that has nothing to do with the news, why not make the news more interactive to make readers more involved? For example, they could make it easier for readers to spread the news via SMS and MMS by creating packages that encourage such things. While there's nothing wrong with a newspaper offering a game, it seems like it would be better served by focusing on offerings that either leverage or enhance its news business.