With a billion-dollar mobile game market and the growing number of BlackBerry addicts, game developers see opportunity in a new audience: 25- to 40-year-old business professionals. Increasingly consumer-friendly devices, such as the BlackBerry Pearl; targeted games like Monopoly, Poker and Sudoku; and partnerships with brands also pursuing the demographic help game-makers reach the business tool's typically higher-income users.
The BlackBerry "isn't just for business anymore," says Steve Beauregard, founder of Santa Monica, California-based mobile software development company Regard. It helps professionals manage their work and personal lives. Beauregard, 43, projects sales in excess of $1.7 million for 2007.
Robb Hecht, a marketing professor at City University of New York, cites the device's addictiveness and the many business professionals who travel for work. "They have a lot of downtime, be it in an airport, a cab or their hotel," he says, adding that brands and game-makers see opportunity in the extensive amount of time this "digital daytime demographic" spends on its BlackBerrys.
In addition, today's BlackBerry users come from the first generation of video-gamers, explains Nicholas Reichenbach, vice president of Bplay, an online entertainment portal for BlackBerry users. "You've got games like Miner 2049er that are [nostalgic] to our generation."
While developers are currently targeting mostly men, they've identified women--who are getting more into gaming--as a future audience.