Nokia N-Gages coders with game-writing contest

Could you dream up the ultimate computer game for Nokia's N-Gage game deck? If so, the mobile phone giant will soon want to hear from you

Mobile phone maker Nokia is offering up to 30,000 euros (£20,000) to individuals or companies that come up with the best proposals for games to run on its N-Gage device.

The N-Gage game deck, which will go on sale worldwide on 7 October, lets users play multiplayer games wirelessly, either over Bluetooth or across mobile phone networks. It will support much more sophisticated games than existing handsets, and will also function as a mobile phone.

It is one of Nokia's biggest product launches this year, and the company has been keen to keep the platform tightly controlled -- through deals with major game publishers such as Sega and Eidos Interactive.

Now, though, the Finnish firm hopes that smaller developers, and even those that want to break into the games development industry, will turn their minds to getting the best out of the N-Gage.

"This is a match made in heaven, for both Nokia and the developer community," Vesa-Pekka Kirsi told ZDNet UK News on Tuesday. "It's an opportunity for small developers and people who want to become developers to get their game onto the N-Gage," he added, pointing out that Nokia is also a games publisher as well as a manufacturer of mobile devices and infrastructure.

Nokia began disclosing details about the competition, which will be called ConnectCoder - Nokia N-Gage Mobile Game Deck Game Battle 2003 , at the Game Developers Conference in London this week. To enter the challenge, contestants must put together a demonstration of their game along with a full description, and submit it to Nokia.

As well as the top prize of 30,000 euros, there will be smaller awards of 15,000, 10,000 and 5,000 euros. The top three winners will then be flown by Nokia to the Game Developers Conference in the US next year.

ConnectCoder is scheduled to be formerly launched on 21 September, at which time full details should be available at http://www.forum.nokia.com/main/games.

To be in with a chance of success, a game will have to incorporate a strong multiplayer element, with Kirsi emphasising that "mobility must be a central part of the game".

Earlier this month, Nokia signed a deal to buy multiplayer technology from Sega to use with the N-Gage.

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