My real-world mixed-reality games were originally built to depend primarily on SMS (AKA “TXT” in the US) messaging. As the years went on (I started this in 2002) I found that I had to develop the games further so they could be played by email. As they became more location-independent, playing by email made more sense, and people really wanted to play by regular email rather than just on phones.
Then came the iPhone. And rich (HTML) email entered the picture for mobile devices. And richer and longer in-game responses from players. (SMS is only 160 characters, while email doesn’t have this limit, and thus is so much more fun.)
Well, over time that changed. Sometimes text messages are delayed for a substantial time (can tale hours), and our games are real-time so any delay beyond say one minute is a catastrophe. And then more and more phones became capable of sending text messages to email addresses – it had only been T-Mobile at first, and now it’s most phones. Today, at least 50% of phones in the US are capable of sending/receiving email, even thru the SMS mechanisms (there is an SMS-to-email interface on all systems).
So we’ve made a number of improvements in our games that permit play from regular email as well as mobile email-capable devices like phones, PDAs and smartphones.
And it looks like 2008 may be the year that we’ll develop more of these new, rich street games based on HTML email, and still played from mobile devices like the iPhone.
Yesterday (July 31st) we sat down and planned the trajectory for the next few such experience for YBCA – this is going to be fun. Watch for more on this as we announce the next YBCA game (October).