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Mobile gaming standard backed

We want more and better games

The OMA (Open Mobile Alliance) wants mobile phone games developers to cut right to the fun part: coming up with new games.

The standards group is teaming up with Nokia, Samsung and other companies to push an open gaming specification. The standard is intended to help developers avoid having to write new versions of a game for each type of phone, the group said yesterday.

A group of vendors began working on the problem early this year, but they will now join with OMA's Game Services Working Group and try to bring in the major mobile operators, network equipment vendors, content providers and other partners into the standards process.

The backers of the specification said fragmentation has been a barrier to the growth of games on mobile phones. In March, research company M:Metrics said downloading of games had been flat over the past year despite the fact that the average carrier had added dozens of new games to its 'deck', or selection of content and services. According to M:Metrics survey results published in January, only 3.3 percent of US mobile phone users reported downloading a game in the past month, down from three months earlier.

In addition to Samsung and Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, companies now backing the effort include South Korean carrier SK Telecom, Nokia-linked operating system developer Symbian, chip maker Texas Instruments, games company Square-Enix and mobile software vendor Tao.

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