Telefónica Digital has entered into a strategic agreement with games developer EA Mobile, a division of Electronic Arts, which will enable Telefónica customers to receive special promotions on a range of games on their handsets.
The digital business unit of Telefónica will launch the service initially in the UK, through O2, before following with other regional markets.
The deal covers Android, BlackBerry and all Java based feature phones. While Google already offers a range of EA games through its Google Play app store, and Nokia has a similar tie-up with EA for its Windows Phone 7 range, Telefónica said that its competitive advantage is in offering users is the ability to find the games that they are familiar with and providing “special promotions” to drive the uptake of mobile gaming, particularly amongst feature phone users.
“We’re not creating new gaming app stores to compete with these but using the existing app channels and allowing customers to benefit from free access to games through these channels,” a Telefónica spokesperson told Telecoms.com.
The operator will offer its customers three months’ of free access to all EA Mobile games following their first download. It said that after the initial trials, it will examine a number of potential promotions or special ‘gaming subscription’ services to offer customers.
The operator’s spokesperson stressed that the announcement reflected the desire to create innovative gaming promotions and building stronger forges with its customers, claiming that the revenue opportunity in gaming is not its key driver.
Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefónica Digital, said the deal puts the business in the epicentre of mobile gaming, which he said accounts for the highest percentage of downloaded apps and is the largest paid mobile content market today.
“By making a differentiated play in this most emotive and immersive entertainment medium we are fostering a much deeper connection with our customers – another significant step in becoming a true aggregator of experiences.”
Games that will be available to users include The Sims, FIFA and Monopoly.