Maui company rocks small game platform
MauiGames' latest entry in the mobile phone gaming scene is nothing to throw stones at.
"Ishido, Way of the Stones," has been the second-most-popular puzzle game behind "Tetris" since 1988, according to David Fradin, president and chief executive officer of Calif.-based AdCell Media.
His MauiGames Studio, on Maui, bought the license for the game and developed it for the mobile phone platform. It is offered by T-Mobile and Cingular through MauiGames' exclusive distribution agreement with Canada-based Airborne Entertainment Inc.
Cingular charges $4.99 for the game. The T-Mobile price could not be easily found on its Web site.
Originally a video game for play on personal computers, it was adapted for multiple platforms, according to Airborne and MauiGames. Players must match stones of various color with various Japanese characters on the board and each match increases the score. The Cingular Web site describes the game as "easy to learn but hard to master."
The game was quietly rolled out in November, though Airborne and MauiGames did not announce its exclusive agreement until last week.
"December was our first month of reporting and it got thousands of sales, and that's in spite of the fact that nobody had any idea that it existed," Fradin said.
In the U.S., 109 million people played a game on their cell phone in August, which is 80 percent of the European number, he said.
Plotted on a bell curve, U.S. cell phone game-players "peak right now at about 30 (years old), leaning a little bit toward women." Women tend to play puzzle games while guys tend to go for sports and action games, said Fradin.
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