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Industry Leaders Align to Streamline Introduction of Premium Mobile Games

Activision, Digital Chocolate, Electronic Arts, Ideaworks3D, Konami, Microsoft, MontaVista Software, Nokia, Samsung, SK Telecom, Square Enix, Symbian Limited, Tao Group, and Texas Instruments to Define and Support Architecture for Premium Mobile Game

Feb 10, 2006

DALLAS (February 10, 2006) - Leading companies in the wireless and mobile gaming value chain have joined forces to define and support an open gaming architecture for premium-quality native games for mobile phones. The combined efforts between Activision, Inc.; Digital Chocolate; Electronic Arts (EA); Ideaworks3D; Konami; Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT); MontaVista Software; Nokia [NYSE:NOK]; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; SK Telecom; Square Enix; Symbian Limited; Tao Group; and Texas Instruments, Incorporated (TI) [NYSE:TXN] will aim to streamline the process of developing and delivering games for a range of mobile environments, resulting in reduced platform fragmentation, lowered development costs, and a richer gaming experience for the consumer.
"While 3D gaming is among the hottest mobile applications today, platform fragmentation is a barrier to fully realizing gaming's potential in the wireless marketplace," said Richard Kerslake, worldwide general manager for TI's OMAPTM platform, Wireless Terminals Business Unit. "By outlining an architecture for gaming platforms, these industry heavy-weights will make possible even stronger future growth, exponentially accelerating the adoption of premium mobile games."
Adapting games to multiple handset models and operating systems adds significant cost and development time for gaming developers, which can result in less compelling gaming content for consumers. The architecture will help different devices and operating systems present a common set of minimum capabilities that game developers can rely upon, making game porting easier and more efficient. With less time spent developing multiple versions of a single game, content developers will instead be able to focus on creating new gaming titles for mobile consumers with richer graphics and features.
"It's a great achievement to have reached this level of agreement in the industry" said Lincoln Wallen, chief technology officer for Electronic Arts Mobile. "By working together to support the delivery of a standard game architecture onto mobile phones we are not only enabling but shaping the future of the industry."
The architecture will be assessed and influenced by an ecosystem of gaming application developers to efficiently and openly support development, testing, and deployment of premium quality games on major high-level operating systems, including Microsoft Windows Mobile, Linux®, Symbian OSTM, and mobile operators' terminal platforms like WIPI GIGA of SK Telecom. The first reference implementations of the gaming architecture are expected to be available in the second half of 2006. TI expects to deliver a reference implementation of the new gaming architecture on its OMAP 2 platform also in that timeframe.
The Symbian-based S60 implementation of the gaming architecture will be compliant with Nokia's Next Generation Mobile Games Initiative. "Nokia is pleased to work with these leading companies to help reduce fragmentation in the mobile gaming industry," said Jani Karlsson, head of games technology strategy in Nokia Multimedia. "Our aim is to enable developers to create fantastic quality mobile games that consumers will be excited about and play. We see this initiative to be a valuable part of a comprehensive set of solutions to the mobile gaming ecosystem, which we will offer in Nokia's Next Generation Initiative."
"We are excited to work with TI to continue advancing the mobile gaming architecture," said Peter Bernard, Group Product Manager at Microsoft. "This collaboration will help enable developers to show best-of-breed implementations on an expanding range of Windows Mobile-based phones while enabling them to be more effective in their porting investments. This ultimately brings a wider range of new quality titles to consumers and mobile operator ecosystems."

Industry and Consumer Benefits

Members of the wireless and gaming value chain can benefit from a coherent set of requirements for gaming platforms. 


HLOS vendors can benefit from a more compelling value proposition of their platforms, resulting in increased attach rates for their systems. "Symbian believes that 2006 heralds a revolution for mobile gaming with technologies such as 3D accelerated graphics becoming increasingly present," said Bill Pinnell, Multimedia and Graphics Product Manager, Symbian. "We are pleased to work with the mobile gaming ecosystem to support this open mobile architecture, ensuring that games developers can utilize the latest multimedia and graphics capabilities on Symbian based devices to the fullest extent."


"MontaVista applauds the efforts of these industry leaders in establishing a common mobile gaming architecture and looks forward to supporting the resulting development environment atop MontaVista Linux," said Jim Ready, president and chief executive officer, MontaVista Software.


Developers and publishers can gain higher and faster returns on gaming content investments. "Today's top-rated games leverage the available infrastructure to deliver a rich experience and also leverage the inherent social connectivity that mobile gaming offers consumers" said Trip Hawkins, founder and chief executive officer of Digital Chocolate. "Digital Chocolate is highly supportive of this group's effort to advance the platform for mobile gaming and to enable a better user experience."


"As a purveyor of rich mobile content, Square Enix is excited to work with our peers on reducing fragmentation and harnessing the power of native gaming," said Daishiro Okada, president and chief operating officer of Square Enix.


Middleware companies such as Tao Group, with its intent® Gameplayer SDK, and Ideaworks3D with Segundo3D

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 will be focused on creating portable middleware and tools solutions that will make the job of games developers easier by allowing them to focus on game development rather than platform intricacies.


Handset manufacturers can realize higher phone replacement rates, driven by consumers upgrading handsets to improve their gaming experience. For instance, Samsung plans to leverage a consistent gaming platform for its various HLOS based mobile phones, including Symbian OS

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 and Microsoft Windows Mobile. Samsung has proven multimedia technology and has introduced a variety of "game phones" to the marketplace. With this collaboration with other industry leaders, Samsung will continue to strengthen mobile game capabilities and multimedia function. 


Mobile operators can benefit from increased revenue through higher value applications, recurring revenue opportunities through subscriptions and reduced churn. "This collaboration of industry leaders helps operators like SK Telecom to offer high quality game content and enables our content partners to play globally at lower cost", said Mr. Hoo-Jong Kim, Senior Manager - SK Telecom.


Consumers can enjoy premium quality games on their mobile phone with access to a larger library of richer, top-console games. Consumers will also be ensured a consistent, high-quality gaming experience, regardless of the operating system and mobile phone model upon which the game is running.