A number of wireless and mobile gaming companies have announced a joint undertaking to define and support an open gaming architecture for premium quality native games for mobile phones. Activision, Digital Chocolate, Electronic Arts, Ideaworks3D, Konami, Microsoft, MontaVista Software, Nokia, Samsung, SK Telecom, Square Enix, Symbian, Tao Group and Texas Instruments have all been involved in plans to streamline the process of developing and delivering mobile games to ensure reduced platform fragmentation and lowered development costs.
The planned architecture is intended to help different devices and operating systems present a common set of minimum capabilities, making game porting easier and more efficient. The architecture will be assessed and influenced by a number of application developers to openly support development, testing and deployment of so-called “premium quality games” on high-level operating systems. These include Microsoft Windows Mobile, Linux, Symbian OS and mobile operators' terminal platforms like WIPI GIGA of SK Telecom.
"While 3D gaming is among the hottest mobile applications today, platform fragmentation is a barrier to fully realizing gaming's potential in thewireless marketplace," said Richard Kerslake, worldwide general manager for Texas Instruments' OMAP platform. "By outlining an architecture for gaming platforms, these industry heavy-weights will make possible even stronger future growth, exponentially accelerating the adoption of premium mobile games."
The first reference implementations of the gaming architecture are expected to be available in the second half of 2006. Texas Instruments expects to deliver a reference implementation of the new gaming architecture on its OMAP 2 platform in the same timeframe. The Symbian-based S60 implementation of the gaming architecture will also be compliant with Nokia's Next Generation Mobile Games Initiative.
"It's a great achievement to have reached this level of agreement in the industry," said Lincoln Wallen, chief technology officer for Electronic Arts Mobile. "By working together to support the delivery of a standard game architecture onto mobile phones we are not only enabling but shaping the future of the industry."