Nokia joins rivals for wireless gaming standard

Nokia Corp. has joined L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co., Motorola Inc. and Siemens Information and Communication Mobile Group in an effort to develop a wireless gaming standard. On Tuesday, the companies announced the establishment of the Mobile Games Interoperability (MGI) Forum, which is an extension of a similar effort, the Universal Mobile Games Platform (UMGP) initiative, unveiled by Ericsson, Motorola and Siemens in March.

Wireless gaming is going to be an important source of future revenue for operators of 3G (third-generation) mobile networks, according to Bertrand Bidaud, director of research at Gartner Inc. in Singapore. Many mobile operators are wary of the high infrastructure costs associated with offering 3G services, and equipment manufacturers have been looking for ways to spur carriers to move forward with their 3G plans. Mobile gaming is one application that can help move operators towards deploying 3G networks, he said.

"Gaming is going to be one of the main revenue generators (for 3G operators) in the short term," Bidaud said.

"The first market (for 3G services) to take off is going to be the consumer market," he said. "This first wave is made up of early adopters who are people with a very specific profile. For them, technology is about having fun."

Like the UMGP initiative, the MGI Forum is working with software tools developer Metrowerks Inc., a subsidiary of Motorola, to create a set of common APIs (application programming interfaces) and a software development kit (SDK) that will allow developers to produce games that are compatible with wireless networks and handsets from all four companies. The MGI Forum is also looking at ways to provide certification for games based on its standards, the companies said in a statement.

While the UMGP initiative initially promised that the APIs and the SDK would be available for game developers during the third quarter of this year, the release date has been pushed back, according to Ericsson spokeswoman Caroline Ohlson.

"They have said they (the APIs and the SDK) will probably be ready in the first quarter of 2002 instead," Ohlson said. "The scope of the initiative is much more focused and for this reason they (the APIs and the SDK) need more additional work."

One mobile operator that has been pushing the development of mobile gaming is Tokyo-based NTT DoCoMo Corp., which has partnered with Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and six other mobile operators to develop mobile gaming services using technology derived from SCEI's PlayStation 2 game console. The other partners in the project, for which details have remained scarce, are Taiwan's KG Telecommunications Co. Ltd., AT&T Wireless Group, Hong Kong's Hutchison Telephone Co. Ltd., Hutchison 3G UK Ltd., Dutch carrier KPN Mobile N.V., and Telecom Italia Mobile SpA.

DoCoMo, which currently offers several Java-based games to users of its I-mode mobile Internet service, has also entered into an agreement with Sega Corp. to look at ways to link I-mode phones with Sega's video arcade game machines.

Microsoft Corp. has developed a smart phone platform code-named Stinger, based on its Windows CE 3.0 operating system. Windows CE incorporates many of the same APIs used in desktop versions of the Windows operating system as well as Microsoft's soon-to-be-released Xbox game console. These would likely compete with APIs under development by the MGI Forum.

Microsoft could be a competitor, but the Redmond, Washington-based software company is currently going after a different market, Bidaud said.

Microsoft is more focused on using Stinger to target corporate users, Bidaud said. That doesn't mean Microsoft will ignore demand for consumer services, though. "There's no reason to think they will give away the consumer market," he said.

For now, competition with Microsoft and its Windows APIs doesn't appear to be a factor for the MGI Forum.

"I don't think we have even discussed competition or see them (Microsoft) as competitors," said Ericsson's Olson.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sumner Lemon

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?