Accessing mobile phone services on Sony’s PlayStation 2 console is one thing, but Sony and NTT DoCoMo intend to add PS2 gaming facilities to phones.
They’ve signed a series of deals with Docomo's overseas partners to build mobile internet gaming platforms for PlayStation and I-mode mobile phone users. Partners including AT&T Wireless Group, Hong Kong's Hutchison Telephone, Hutchison 3G UK , Taiwan's KG Telecommunications, Dutch KPN Mobile and Telecom Italia Mobile are already working with Docomo on developing third-generation mobile services.
Together, the companies plan to build a series of new network services for PlayStation users. Full details of the services, which will be accessible via games consoles and cellular telephones, are yet to be announced. However, users will be able to access services from DoCoMo's cellphone-based i-mode system through their consoles and play PlayStation games via mobile phone handsets.
It’s also unknown when the services will be launched. “We don’t have a timeframe for introduction in Europe yet,” said Marinus Potman, spokesman for KPN Mobile.
A Japanese launch is expected in March but, again, details of the services on offer have not yet been announced.
“The games won’t be free,” said Potman. Users will have to pay extra to play games on their mobile phones.
KPN has not researched demand for a mobile gaming service, but is certain it will be a success. “Teenagers are already playing simple games on their mobile phones and PlayStation is as big a hit in Europe as it is in the US and Japan. The consoles are flying off the shelves,” Potman said.
It is not known what kind of handset the mobile gaming service will require, but Potman says the Dutch company is currently in talks with several handset manufacturers. KPN Mobile will run the service on its packet-switched GPRS (general packet radio service) network, scheduled to be launched for consumer use this summer.