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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
N-Gage games move to smartphones
Nokia N-Gage
Nokia wants more people to be able to play with its N-Gage community
Nokia plans to make N-Gage mobile games playable on more of its smartphones, it announced at the E3 gaming expo in LA.

Its plan is to make it easier to find, buy and play high-quality 3D mobile games using a range of devices.

It is set to release the first smartphones which will work with its N-Gage titles early next year, and new games will be announced later in 2005.

Nokia is keen on "connected multiplayer gaming" which lets people play against others across mobile networks.

"Over the past two years, we've seen the mobile gaming market grow by leaps and bounds both in terms of market interest and customer expectations," said Gerard Wiener, from Nokia games.

"With the N-Gage platform, we've been able to deliver a superior gaming experience to mobile gamers, but only on a small range of devices.

"Now we want to expand rich, connected mobile gaming across the Nokia smartphone range."

The industry is now at a turning point where mobile game quality will increase exponentially
Gerard Wiener, Nokia
Nokia said it expected to sell an estimated 25 million smartphones in 2005. More than 250 million of them are expected to have been sold by 2008.

Mr Wiener said the plan to expand the N-Gage platform, and its gaming community called N-Gage Arena, was also part of its effort to promote mobile gaming generally now that phones had much improved processing and graphics technology in them.

The games for the smartphones will eventually be playable on memory cards and they will be downloadable wirelessly or via a computer.

The move does not mean Nokia is dumping the N-Gage as a gaming handset, however. It said it plans to release a limited-edition silver model.

High hopes

But the move is about widening the appeal of its N-Gage gaming community, according to Nokia.

"Due in part to the advent of the smartphone and the rapid development of other enabling technologies, the industry is now at a turning point where mobile game quality will increase exponentially," added Mr Weiner.

Mobile phones
Mobiles are much more powerful with sophisticated graphics technology
The games industry has high hopes for mobile gaming with established games publishers, such as Electronic Arts, pumping more money into developing them.

Nokia said the expansion would make it easier for game developers because it would mean they do not have to make different versions of the same game to work on different devices.

Analysts predict that 220 million people will be playing games on mobile phones by 2009.

Many mobile games appeal to the "casual gamer", who looks to play for short periods of time, as opposed to hard-core, console game players.

But Nokia intends to ensure its suite of new titles for the N-Gage appeal to more in-depth multiplayer games fans too.

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