Games to be Part of Wireless Internet Equation

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The prospect of playing video games on wireless devices is for the wireless Internet movement.

Ignition Corp., founded by several former McCaw Cellular and Microsoft Corp. executives, has backed the idea through its involvement in UIEvolution, which is designing a new type of wireless gaming platform (see related story on page 22).

And it is not alone. Argo Global Capital last week made an $11 million investment in Digital Bridges Ltd., a United Kingdom-based provider of interactive wireless entertainment, including games. The firm already offers 18 multiplayer games for nine different mobile-phone devices in seven different languages, and it is working to create more worldwide.

"Mobile entertainment is becoming a highly attractive market for mobile operators," said Alan MacIntosh, a partner at Argo Global Capital and now a member of Digital Bridges' board of directors. "In Japan ... about half of all service revenues are entertainment related."

Digital Bridges concerns itself with the delivery technology, distribution channels and publishing and development capability. Last month, the firm formed a partnership with Rage, a computer games publisher and developer, to provide content as well.

Also in the space is BlueFactory, a Swedish company that develops and provides mobile media and entertainment services for WAP and SMS systems. The firm's first seven services were launched last week through a distribution agreement with Telenordia.

Games include the adventure game Catch the Robber, strategy games Connect4 and Othello, kung fu game Budo Bastards, Tic-Tac-Toe, construction game PipeGame and CelebriQuiz.

BlueFactory said the services will be available over GPRS soon.

Previously announced initiatives include Stick Networks, which intends to create a new type of wireless device to support its Personal Digital Network that among other things will include wireless games, and Riot Entertainment. The latter is funded by Nokia Ventures and in August signed a deal with Marvel Enterprises to develop various types of entertainment content. Among them are games. The two developed a wireless game using the popular X-Men characters for WAP phones in Europe and Asia.

06:52, 30 Nov 2004 (MST)

By Antony Bruno

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