I met up again with Hong Kong based Artificial Life yesterday and had a great meeting with their CTO Ernest Axelbank. I saw cool stuff they do with digital convergence around TV and mobile, and learned that many of their current new customers and projects are related to mobile advertising and in particular advergaming. Of course I asked about numbers, and Ernest couldn't give those, as they are proprietary info of the advertising brands. But I learned a related number. V-Girl, the award-winning virtual girlfriend/virtual boyfriend that Artificial Life launched years ago - and we discussed for example in the book Communities Dominate Brands - has passed quite a remarkable milestone. It has already been downloaded 4 million times.
Note that this is not Nokia or Vodafone. This is a small innovator in the 7th Mass Media space, developing cool new tech around mobile phones (and convergence). Each V-Girl download has been a paid download. And the service has been launched in countless countries around the world. But this is typical of the economics of mobile. The numbes are rapidly enormous. Ask EA if they'd like to sell 4 million copies of a videogame title. Of course they would.
Another interesting tidbit. The original V-Girl mobile game was too interactive. The gaming experience on mobile is different from gaming on the internet (or as we say here at this blogsite, Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media is different from the internet the 6th of the Mass Media; as different in fact, as TV is from radio..). So in yet another example of mobile success, the service really took off, when Artificial Life released a simplified version, where V-Girl would require less keystrokes and interaction, and more of her "personality" and the gaming experience was on the servers over at Artificial Life, and the individual gamer would more react to V-Girl, that initiate interactions. I'm sure we have many other experts in the industry who will testify that this is exactly the key to mobile success. Keep it simple..
Oh, and the 4 million? V-Girl is still selling.. Great job Artificial Life!