SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Posts Tagged ‘football’

No charity in mobile as club turns to SMS for survival

Posted by Jon Russell on March 9, 2009

The weekend saw Darlington FC, of England’s League Two, adopt an innovative form of fund raising in a bid to avoid administration and a potentially crippling points deduction next season.

darlingtonfc2jpg

Fans of the club, which needs to raise an estimated £300,000 to survive the rest of the season, have created an SMS donation service to increase awareness of the club’s situation and help it pull through. 

Sky Sports News reports that “players, management and all other staff at the football club were not paid during February and a wage deferral scheme is now being discussed with the administrators.”

To help support The Quakers, as the club is known, would be donors should text ‘GL SAVEDFC’ to 87070. The SMS will cost around £1.50 with around 95p going to the club’s survival fund.

The real news here is that the middleman fee is as significant as a one-third (55p of £1.50). The campaign is an excellent idea in theory but in practice donations are best received from more traditional channels that avoid service costs.

Surely, in the name of saving an 125 year old, historic club on the brink of extinction, the companies handling the service could be a little more charitable?

The publicity of the campaign could help promote the mobile donation service to a wider audience and potential customers, instead the club loses one-third of all donations made by the SMS service.

Sadly the companies involved are unknown to us at this stage so no naming and shaming.

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Mobile Club Manager coming soon

Posted by Admin on January 27, 2009

A new football manager game is being launched soon for the mobile called, appropriately enough, Mobile Club Manager (MCM). It has been specifically designed for Java-enable phones (so pretty much all of them then) by SANCO.

If you’re an eagle-eyed mobile gamer you might have seen it before and that’s because a beta version was released over the summer to test out the game (here’s a review from PocketGamer). I’m hoping to get chance to play it before the full release and review in a bit more detail. But for now, I was lucky enough to be able to ask a few questions of Shahid Mohamed, the head of gaming at SANCO. The first question I asked him was to describe the game.

“Mobile Club Manager is the first-ever massively multi-player football management simulation game within a persistent world that you can take with you anywhere via a Java-enabled mobile phone. Just as in the Premiership, ‘managers’ (users) play a 38-game season, with the aim of doing as well as they can in the ‘MCM League’.”

I then asked Shahid if his mum played the game (always my test for how targeted at the mass market an application is). His answer was quite simple: “No. However, that is simply because she cannot see the point of football!” to be fair to him, I think that would be the same for my mum.

If she did want to play, there is a demo that can be downloaded from the MCM website here.

But back to the questions:

What needs to happen in the future to make games like this played by everyone?
shahid1– The barrier is as much cultural as technical. Mobile phones are some years behind the internet in terms of breadth of customer usage: so, just as shopping online, for example, has now become universally accepted, it will similarly be just a question of time before mobile phones are used for a number of applications currently meeting user resistance.

Having said that, advances in technology will also help make user acceptance easier. And here, designing applications ‘from the ground up’ using mobile technology – such as Mobile Club Manager in the gaming world – will be essential in making this happen more quickly.

What do you think is the future of mobile applications?
– Mobile applications will become more connected – ‘pushed’ and ‘pulled’ according to user convenience. This shift is already underway as a result of the success of the iPhone, offering natural connectivity.

At the same time, pricing is an issue. Prices will come down as the technology becomes more established. However, this will also depend on the strategies of mobile carriers, as they look to diversify into new revenue streams such as SMS and internet connectivity in order to maintain revenues and profitability.

Have you got anything else in the pipeline?
– We have just launched a major new ‘Friendlies’ option which enables users to play any other MCM manager of their choice at any time, so putting control as to when they play fully in their hands.

Looking ahead, we will soon be launching six more training games, enabling ‘managers’ to improve key aspects of player and team performance. And, with the flexibility of the underlying Parallel Worlds platform, we are looking to extend into Europe just like the Champions League – perhaps as early as next season. Watch this space!

Thanks Shahid. And hopefully there’ll be more on Mobile Club Manager soon.

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