Telefonica Digital today unveiled its latest play in its global gaming strategy by entering a strategic relationship with EA Mobile’, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (Nasdaq: EA), which will allow customers to access its world leading games on their mobiles. The service will be available first through O2 in the UK followed by other Telefonica markets.

The deal will give Telefonica’s operating businesses the ability to create innovative gaming promotions using titles from the EA catalogue of consumer favourite brands such as The Sims’, FIFA or MONOPOLY. The objective is to make it easy for customers to find the games that they are familiar with and to drive the uptake of mobile gaming, particularly amongst feature phone users.

In the UK, O2 will offer its customers three months of free access to all EA Mobile games following their first download. It is then examining a number of potential promotions or special ‘gaming subscription’ services to offer customers.

‘Our relationship with EA Mobile puts us as the epicentre of mobile gaming ‘ which accounts for the highest percentage of downloaded Apps and is the largest paid mobile content market today,’ said Matthew Key, Chairman & CEO of Telefonica Digital. ‘By making a differentiated play in this most emotive and immersive entertainment medium we are fostering a much deeper connection with our customers ‘ another significant step in becoming a true aggregator of experiences.’

Bernard Kim, Senior Vice President, Global Social and Mobile Publishing said: ‘Our mission is to deliver games that consumers love ‘ anywhere, anytime, and on any platform they want to play. We know that at least a quarter of mobile users in Europe are playing games on their phones. Our relationship with Telefonica helps more people discover our games, and removes barriers for subscribers to enjoy an entire library of our most beloved titles.’

Industry analyst IHS Screen Digest predicts continued impressive growth in the mobile games business. Fuelled by rapid expansion in 3G adoption, smartphone and tablet gaming, the global mobile games market will be worth almost £8bn (‘9bn) by 2015, almost double the £4.3bn expected in 2011.

Jack Kent, Mobile Media Analyst at IHS Screen Digest, said: “Mobile games have been driving the wider mobile applications business, with games the largest content category on all leading application stores. As the mass appeal of mobile games increases, consumers are embracing new forms of content and business models, with free games monetised by micro-transactions ‘ such as in-app purchases ‘ driving growth.’

Telefonica Digital has not only underlined its commitment to O2 customers by offering the best gaming experience ‘ through a combination of exclusive promotions and unbeatable value subscription services ‘ but also opened significant new revenue growth opportunities through in-game advertising and media partnerships.

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