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PlayStation games coming to cell phones

PC World

(IDG) -- PlayStation video games may soon move out of your living room, and on to your mobile phone.

Sony Computer Entertainment and NTT DoCoMo signed a series of deals Monday with DoCoMo's overseas partners to build mobile Internet gaming platforms for users of SCEI's PlayStation video game console and I-mode cell phones around the world, the companies say in a statement.

The deals were signed with AT&T Wireless Group, Hong Kong's Hutchison Telephone, Hutchison 3G UK, Taiwan's KG Telecommunications, Dutch KPN Mobile, and Telecom Italia Mobile.


Together, the companies plan to build a series of new network services for PlayStation users. Full details of the services, which will be accessible via game consoles and cellular telephones, are yet to be announced, although users will be able to access services from DoCoMo's cell phone-based I-mode system through their consoles and play PlayStation games via their cell phone handsets.

It's also unknown when the services will be launched. "We don't have a timeframe for introduction in Europe yet," says Marinus Potman, spokesperson for KPN Mobile. He also says no date has been picked for launch in the U.S. INFOCENTER
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SCEI and DoCoMo began designing a similar service for the Japanese market after they signed a deal in mid-2000. Launch of the system is expected in March this year, at which point more details of the service are expected to be announced.

No money is changing hands with the signing of the memorandums of understanding, KPN Mobile says. "DoCoMo and Sony profit from the technology being offered outside of Japan. We are not buying or licensing the technology," says Potman.

Potman expects the companies "to pay their share" of the research and development costs. "This is about jointly developing technology," he says.

Users will have to pay extra to play games on their mobile phones. "The games won't be free," says Potman.

KPN has not researched demand for a mobile gaming service, but the company is certain it will be a success. "Teenagers are already playing simple games on their mobile phones and PlayStation is as big a hit in Europe as it is in the U.S. and Japan. The consoles are flying off the shelves," Potman says.

It is unknown what kind of handset the mobile gaming service will require, says Potman. The Dutch company is currently in talks with several handset manufacturers, he says. KPN Mobile will run the service on its packet-switched GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) network, scheduled to be launched for consumer use this summer.

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