To date games publishers have generally inked distribution deals with operators on an exclusive or ad hoc basis, often resulting in patchwork release schedules.
The idea of the ELSPA scheme is to replicate the high street retail model, where console games debut across all retailers on the same day. ELSPA says it expects other initiatives to emerge from its Mobile Games Operator Working Group in due course.
Glu Mobile’s Tranformers, Gameloft’s Guitar Legend, EA Mobile's FIFA 08 and a fourth yet to be announced title will each be published simultaneously on 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone in June, July, August and September.
Michael Rawlinson, ELSPA managing director and chair of the operator roundtable, said: “We have been working with the network operators on a number of initiatives to grow the market of mobile gaming, and this is work that builds on the official charts we publish. We want mobile games publishers to become more involved with ELSPA so that we can assist them further in this growing and exciting area of gaming."