The UK arm of Orange, the France Telecom-owned operator that is merging with T-Mobile’s UK bit, today offered a lot of news on the mobile games side. They made an announcement on the introduction of not less than 3 different gaming services that they will be launching over the next couple of weeks:

  1. Playtomo is a social gaming service to be used within the users’ social networks (e.g. Facebook; no others were mentioned). Users can download the app (?) from Orange’s portal and then share scores etc on the social network of choice. It sounds a little like a “posh Facebook Connect” solution (and this is not meant derogatory at all!). Friends can be invited from any UK network operator.
  2. Games Zone is a subscription-service where “just” £5 per month buy you two games and a 20% discount on all others. It also offers “exclusive competitions”.
  3. The third offering is a little unclear to me: Orange will launch the aptly called “Orange iPhone Games” offering, which will feature games that are “designed specifically or published by Orange for iPhone customers”. They say it will include a variety of game genres as well as the aforementioned Playtomo. Now, this one, I am not sure about… Orange clearly looks to bolstering their brand (or, perhaps, use their brand as a lever to lift otherwise unbranded games into the limelight) but this seems like a tough proposition. It is an interesting one, too, though as it would seem the first time an operator steps into the ring as a publisher amongst many. Watch this space…

The really uplifting thing about this is that Orange clearly recognises the significance of games to their overall offering and playful interaction is – as I have often pointed out – likely to be a driver for interaction between people in the mid- and long-term.

Finally: do you think this gives any hint as to which brand will survive the merger of the Orange and T-Mobile UK operations? 😉