HELSINKI?Nokia, the world's largest cellphone maker, launched its N-Gage gaming service on Thursday, hoping to energize an ailing market for mobile gaming.
"There will be an official announcement on Monday, but for you, the N-Gage faithful, we wanted to let you know we're up and running!" Nokia said in its N-Gage blog.
The new gaming service is one of the cornerstones of Nokia's new Internet services strategy, but the firm delayed the launch twice last year, citing delays in software testing.
Nokia, which made 40 percent of all cellphones sold globally in the last quarter of 2007, is the first handset maker to make a major push into the content sector.
Nokia opened the service to users of its top model N95 and four other multimedia phones?the N81, N81 8GB, N82, and N95 8GB. It has sold 10-15 million of these phones in total so far, according to analysts.
The mobile gaming market suffered an unexpected slump last year, with many game developers and analysts pointing to telecom operators' lack of investment in marketing.
All major cellphone games publishers, including Electronic Arts Inc., Gameloft and Glu Mobile, have signed up for the Nokia platform.
Nokia said last month some 25-30 games titles would be available for N-Gage by mid-2008 and a similar number of titles would be unveiled during the second half of the year.
Research firm Informa has said the mobile gaming market was roughly flat in 2007, but it expects revenues from mobile games to reach $7.2 billion in 2012 from $3.2 billion in 2007.