Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Friday, 4 April 2008 12:43 UK

Nokia debuts mobile gaming system

Screenshot from Nokia N95, Nokia
Nokia expects to have about 60 games available by 2009

Nokia has lifted the veil on its revamped mobile gaming service known as N-Gage.

Visitors to the N-Gage website can download software that connects their phone to the handset maker's growing library of games.

Nokia expects to have about 30 games available for playing on its higher end phones by the middle of 2008.

The launch of N-Gage marks one of the biggest moves by a mobile maker into the content market.

Growing library

The official unveiling of N-Gage is due to take place on 7 April. However, Nokia announced on its N-Gage blog that fans of mobile gaming could get access a few days early.

By visiting the N-Gage site gamers can download the software package that sets up the service on their handset.

The April launch comes after two delays which pushed back its debut from 2007.

Nokia's original plans for N-Gage revolved around a gaming gadget that debuted in late 2003.

Original NGage handset, Nokia
The original N-Gage handset was designed for games
However the fitful success of that device led the phone giant to re-think and re-launch N-Gage as a service that can sit on any number of handsets.

Owners of Nokia's N95, N81 and N82 can use N-Gage straight away and the phone firm plans to add N-Gage support for the N93, N93i and N73 soon.

Games makers such as Electronic Arts, Gameloft and Glu Mobile have signed up to make titles for the service.

Nokia said that it would have 25-30 games available on N-Gage by the middle of 2008 and expected to release a similar number of titles in the closing six months of the year.

In the UK, launch titles include Asphalt 3: Street Rules, Hooked On: Creatures of the deep, Brain Challenge and System Rush: Evolution. Many of the games are free to try and, in the UK, cost between 6-8 for a full copy.

Nokia warns that, depending on a handset owner's contract, they may also have to pay data charges when they download the games.

According to market data, Nokia made 40% of all the mobile handsets sold around the world in the last quarter of 2007.




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