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Mobile heats up at GDC

A flurry of mobile gaming news is coming out of San Francisco in conjunction with the Game Developers Conference. Powerhouses and startups in the gaming industry have saturated the market of late; indeed, on-portal mobile gaming downloads generated more than $566 million last year, and the number of downloads is expected to increase as growth continues year-over-year, according to Telephia Inc.
Among the announcements from the GDC are:
–Qualcomm Inc. announced that worldwide BREW publishers and developers have earned more than $1 billion from the sale of BREW applications and services since the technology was commercially launched in November 2001. The technology is now available via wireless operators in 31 countries and has recently expanded into new markets in Europe.
–Glu Mobile announced an agreement with Microsoft Inc. to develop and publish a mobile adaptation of “Age of Empires III.” Glu has acquired worldwide rights to a new mobile game based on the real-time strategy franchise that Ensemble Studios developed and Microsoft Game Studios published for the personal computer. Glu previously partnered with Microsoft to bring Project Gotham Racing Mobile to market earlier this year. “Age of Empires III” is scheduled to launch worldwide in 2008.
–Nokia Corp. came out swinging with a number of announcements in support of its gaming efforts. The handset manufacturer said it partnered with Indiagames to bring a selection of games across genres and varying skill sets to the N-Gage platform. The new arrangement is expected to further expand Indiagames’ audience beyond its home turf in India. Nokia also announced that Glu Mobile and THQ Wireless will be publishing games for the platform, including World Series of Poker Texas Hold’em. Nokia also announced the winners of the first Nokia and SingTel Multiplayer Game Quest, giving winners and runners-up opportunities to distribute their games with SingTel to more than 112 million subscribers in the Asia Pacific region. All of the games developed for the competition are running on Nokia Series 40 and S60 devices, according to the company.
Finally, the handset powerhouse released some software-related news, including its launch of a new software development kit for its new N-Gage games platform that enables developers to focus on one code-base to create social connected games across a range of Nokia devices. The company also announced efforts to provide a more consistent gaming experience via its SNAP Mobile Compliance Testing Program.

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