Nokia, Sega launch N-Gage multiplayer game

Nokia and Sega jointly launched a global, massively multiplayer online game for the N-Gage gaming handset on Wednesday.

Speaking a day before the official opening of the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany, the companies said that Pocket Kingdom: Own the World is the first of its kind, allowing players around the world to play online while on the move. Gamers attempt to build an empire in a fantasy landscape, sending out armies to explore and find new recruits, all while competing against other players, they said.

The N-Gage has been slow to take off since it was launched in October 2003, but Nokia is hopeful that the new game will boost sales. "We thought launching it would be hard and challenging, and it's certainly been that," Pasi Pölönen, director of games publishing said Wednesday. However, there has been a very positive online response to the game during development, he said.

Pocket Kingdom opens "a new era in the role playing experience, because it's not tied to the PC or the sofa," he said.

Players can choose from over 400 castle configurations with more than 100 collectable units to do battle with, and 50,000 items to equip the units. An online auction system will let players buy and sell these items, the companies said.

Nokia bought a division of Sega, Sega.com, in August 2003 so that it could incorporate Sega's multiplayer gaming software, Sega Network Application Package, into the N-Gage.

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