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Sony dials up PlayStation via cell phones

i-mode service will make holding fun

TOKYO — In a match made in wireless entertainment heaven, Sony Corp. said that it will take PlayStation, the most popular videogame unit in the world, to the No. 1 Internet access point in Japan, the i-mode service for cellular phones offered by NTT Docomo.

The service will allow Sony PlayStation users to play games on their cell phones.

Under a signed memo of understanding, the two companies will jointly develop i-mode and PlayStation technologies as well as technologies for connection over the next generation of broadband mobile phones, called W-CDMA (wideband code division multiple access).

The companies will develop an i-mode to PlayStation connecting cable that will be manufactured by Sony Computer Entertainment.

The first services will hit the market in December but no agreement has been reached on how to charge users of the mobile PlayStation service.

Web-cell link grows

Docomo’s i-mode has been a hit with the younger generation of consumers who are also the core market for PlayStation. As of the end of June, Docomo had enlisted over 8 million subscribers to its Internet mobile phone service and may likely double that number by the end of 2000 as all of its mobile phones will soon come equipped with the i-mode option.

Sony president Nobuyuki Idei said earlier this year that broadband technologies will be a key component of Sony’s business growth strategy and that the company was seeking ways to link PlayStation and other products to broadband networks.

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