MS, Nokia join team to boost mobile phone games

Several big companies in the mobile phone and gaming industry, including Microsoft Corp. and Nokia Corp., are teaming to support an open gaming architecture designed to lower development costs, speed up delivery times and create richer content, the group said Friday.

In addition to Microsoft and Nokia, the mobile gaming development alliance includes Electronic Arts Inc., Symbian Ltd., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Texas Instruments Inc. (TI), Activision Inc., Digital Chocolate Inc., Ideaworks3D Ltd., Konami Corp., MontaVista Software Inc., SK Telecom Co. Ltd., Square Enix Co. Ltd. and Tao Group Ltd.

By working together, the group hopes to streamline the process for developing games for multiple handset models and operating systems, and reduce the current platform fragmentation in mobile phone gaming market.

The planned open architecture will provide different handsets and operating systems with a common set of minimum capabilities that game developers can use to make game porting easier and more efficient, the companies said. By spending less time developing multiple versions of a single game, developers will be able to focus on creating new gaming titles for mobile consumers with richer graphics and features.

The architecture will support the development, testing and deployment of games on several operating systems, including Microsoft Windows Mobile, Linux and Symbian, as well as on terminal platforms from mobile operators, such as SK Telecom’s WIPI GIGA.

The first reference implementations of the gaming architecture are expected to be available in the second half of 2006, according to the group.

TI expects to deliver a reference implementation of the new gaming architecture on its OMAP 2 chip platform also in that timeframe, the company said.

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