Nokia to sponsor Game Developers Conference Mobile 2007

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Nokia is going to be one of the main sponsors of GDC Mobile, the phone game part of the Game Developers Conference. GDC and GDC Mobile take place in San Francisco from the 5th to the 7th of March 2007. Nokia's Next Generation gaming platform is due to launch across a range of S60 3rd Edition smartphones some time in the first half of 2007, so a March sponsorship of a major gaming event would seem to be well-timed.

As with Nokia's last major gaming sponsorship, of the BAFTA Games Awards last October, they're using the N-Gage brand, which provides further evidence that the Next Gen games platform will continue to use the name.

Clearly the N-Gage brand is going to make life more difficult than it need be in terms of getting support from the wider gaming community. However, as their Next Gen platform will probably be present on S60 smartphones that people buy in their tens of millions even without any games, it may be that the name of the platform is of little significance.

It's worth bearing in mind that Nokia has much on its new platform's side: Nokia S60 devices are extremely popular anyway (they outsell all other smartphones worldwide, and indeed all portable consoles too), the games will be free to try and easy to buy, and the phone games market is growing far more quickly than the console games market. Users of the new platform will not only be able to play games anywhere, they'll be able to buy them anywhere, with the cost coming from their phone credit, phone bill or credit card, and games chosen from a built-in menu. The temptation for S60 owners to try a free demo that's only a click away will probably be the new platform's greatest advantage over other forms of mobile gaming.

One thing's for sure, 2007 is going to be a very interesting year for gaming.