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Mobile Game Outlook

Mobile gaming is a growing business, but E3 is not the best venue for those games. There are game makers and carriers at the show, but many of them are hidden away in Kentia Hall. CTIA, which happens twice a year, is the show for everything mobile, so a lot of the big mobile game publishers use that venue for games.

More game publishers like Tecmo, Capcom, EA and THQ do show their mobile games at their E3 booths. These days, just about every major publisher has a mobile component. Nokia held a big news conference Tuesday focusing on its next generation N-Gage phones. The original two N-Gage phones were flops in the U.S. (but popular in Europe).

In early 2007, Nokia will launch an N-Gage platform on multiple smart phones, which means consumers can choose a phone and play games on it, rather than being forced to buy one particular phone. The 3-D graphics on these phones are definitely getting better. Some were on par with PSP games. Experts expect mobile phones to boast PSP-level graphics by the end of next year.

There were certainly more 3-D games from game publishers like Gameloft, which had Brothers In Arms: Earned In Blood 3D on display. The deal with mobile-phone gaming is that the United States is still behind Asia and Europe in terms of people buying these games. Games that are popular tend to be classic arcade and puzzle games. And most "gamers" tend to play PSP or Nintendo DS when out on the road. That said, with an estimated 1 billion mobile phones out there, this market has the broadest potential for gaming.

By Bob Greiner  |  May 12, 2006; 1:11 PM ET  | Category:  E3: Off Screen
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