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Monday, 29 January, 2001, 14:15 GMT
Playstation goes mobile
The new Nokia WAP mobile telephone with stylus
Versatility is the key to a mobile's success
Sony Computer Entertainment and Japanese mobile phone giant NTT DoCoMo are to join forces to bring Playstation games onto mobile phones.

The idea is that owners of NTT DoCoMo's i-mode internet phone will be able to turn to their phones in spare moments to play Playstation 2 games.

And players will be able to compete with each other whether they are connected to a phone, a personal computer or a television.

Sony has signed agreements with NTT DoCoMo's six global alliance partners, which will bring the game phone to Europe and the US, after being launching in Japan as early as March.

Heading for Europe

Man on mobile
Internet phones have seen most success in Asia
The i-mode phone has more than 17 million users in Japan and is hugely popular.

It is now to be marketed in Europe through an alliance announced earlier this month with Dutch KPN and Italy's Telecom Italia Mobile.

Japan leads the way in mobile internet technology. The first version of internet phones on offer in European markets, based on the WAP system, have been largely text based and has had limited success.

The US market for internet mobiles is still an almost untapped area.

Technological advance

Sony and NTT DoCoMo will jointly develop the technology that will link Playstation games to the i-mode phone.

Playstation 2 already has DVD video playback, and the option to add internet access - which is promised to be available some time in 2001.

Playstations have been the world's best selling video consoles, with more than 30 million sold in the past five years.

But growth has slowed over the past three months due to an series of production glitches.

The announcement came after the close of the Tokyo stock markets, where shares in both companies had fallen.

Nintendo threat

The news comes as Nintendo, one of Sony's fiercest rivals, announces that the latest version of its popular Game Boy console has enjoyed a very warm welcome.

Nintendo's Game Boy Advance has already attracted orders of 2.7 million even though it does not go on sale until 21 March.

And the Japanese firm expects to sell betwen 24 and 25 million of the advanced games in the first year.

Game Boy has helped secure Nintendo's place as the market leader in the hand-held computer sector.

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See also:

12 Jan 01 | Business
DoCoMo readies for 5bn offering
11 Oct 00 | Business
Japan's m-commerce boom
24 May 00 | Business
Mobile internet boosts NTT
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