Nokia’s head of games partnering explains how Asha phones have become such great gaming devices
People have grown to love their Nokia Asha phones for different reasons.
The stories told in the Me and My Asha video series revealed that some of the favourite features are fast Internet access, being connected with friends on social networks and the ability to download apps.
However, as we approach the first anniversary of the range’s launch it seems fitting that we reflect back on another aspect of Asha’s tremendous success – games.
The inclusion of 40 free EA games for Asha phones, available to download and keep forever, firmly established its gaming reputation.
Then, as the year unfolded, there were further boosts with the news that 22 classic games from NAMCO BANDAI were being added to the Nokia Store and that Zynga’s smash hit titles Draw Something and Zynga Poker are also coming soon to Asha.
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Depth of partners
Alex Bubb is Nokia’s head of games partnering and is responsible for the global team managing publisher relationships. As well as the publishers mentioned above, there are other key partners, such as Rovio, whose worldwide smash, Angry Birds, was a pre-install on the Asha 311.
Alex says working with so many companies is a healthy thing and that his aim is to have a ‘depth of partners to drive the proposition of games.’
As well as the range of Asha devices, Alex works with games publishers on Series 40 and Lumia smartphones too. Having leverage across different mobile platforms represents ‘a unique opportunity for partners.’
The Asha ecosystem
“The Asha platform has established itself as a great ecosystem for partners to bring their newest and best games to those devices and we are seeing that momentum continue from key publishers,” said Alex in an interview with Conversations.
Key among those partners is EA Games and the unique business model that allowed Asha owners free to download 40 of their biggest titles.
Alex explains how that partnership got off the ground.
“This was an opportunity for EA to use Nokia’s mass volume and reach in emerging markets like India and China,” he says.
“Working with Nokia, EA was able to legitimise gaming on mobile platforms in these markets, and as an organisation bring new customers to their global franchises using innovative business models.”
The partnership with EA also served to underline Asha as an exciting gaming platform and helped to create the ecosystem that would later bring in other partners.
“Consumers say they want easy access to games and EA delivers on that. The feedback we have had from them and from the trade press has been very positive indeed. We are certainly looking to continue rolling this out on upcoming devices.”
Alex also wants to encourage innovation and bring exciting new social experiences for Asha owners, such as Zynga’s Draw Something.
“It’s a very casual social gaming platform and we see a lot of opportunity on the Asha platform because of the volume,” says Alex.
“Although people are not paying premium prices for the games, where there is volume and casual gaming then that is the real sweet spot for Asha.”
In the first 12 months there have been plenty of sweet spots for games fans on their Asha devices, and they have plenty more to look forward to.
Another publisher, Gameloft, is releasing a whole host of new games for Asha phones by the end of the year. Among those titles will be Assassin’s Creed 3, Real Football 2013, Fashion Icon, Littlest Pet Shop and Bubble Bash 3.
“One of the things that consumers love about games is that there are always fresh new games coming to the platform and what I find really exciting is that you never really know what the next game experience is going to be.”