This article from CNET is about Alternate Reality Gaming (ARG), a very interesting field to me as it touches the emerging fields of GeoWeb (e.g. Google Earth+Maps) as well as Augmented Reality (e.g. Steve Mann/MIT). It reminds me of the success of the mobile game in Japan called MOGI a few years back. However, the revenue model of The Prague Files seems too high a threshold to me to be really successful. But I do believe the mobile device will be the hub of key upcoming successful cross media gaming concepts in the near future combining GPS, real life, GeoWeb data/reviews, desktop players, IM, SMS, e-mail, push2talk, chatbots and (mobile) social networking services. Both individually as well as more importantly collectively in groups, mainly targeted at youngsters and students due to their time schedules.
"The experience becomes a lot richer the more you delve into the game," Benton said. "Obviously you're not going to win (if you only play a few minutes a day), but it's still something you can be involved in...You can feel like you're a spy for two weeks. So it really scales to a player's involvement." To Jane McGonigal, a senior designer at 42 Entertainment, which created "I Love Bees" and many other well-known ARGs, "The Prague Files" seems like an interesting attempt to encapsulate the ARG genre into a short time frame and an easy-to-understand format.
One major difference between games like "I Love Bees" and "The Prague Files" is that the former was a free game that asked its players to go out into the real world, work together and solve complex clues. By comparison, "The Prague Files" costs $6.95 to play, and doesn't require players to do much beyond use their cell phones and computers to figure out the puzzle. To be sure, a lively forum is expected to arise on the Live Games Network's Web site, but players should be able to solve clues on their own."