Forget Your Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

Cliff Edwards

Is Xbox 360 oh, so last year? And PlayStation 3 just another notch in Sony's tech-prowess belt?

There's no quicker way to ignite a debate among gamers than to proclaim your love for one over the other, but consider the real entertainment revolution both Microsoft and Sony are promising may be happening in an entirely different industry altogether: telecom.

Most of us can't leave home without our cell phone, a fact that has dawned on wireless carriers who desperately need their customers to fork over more cash each month, if they want to recoup their multi-billion dollar investments in high-speed data networks now being rolled out worldwide.

That's why you're seeing a slew of announcements this week at 3GSM, the wireless expo in Barcelona, in which mobile games play a central role. The most notable comes from some of the industry's biggest names. Electronic Arts, which recently bought Jamdat, is joining a consortium with Activision, middleware companies Ideaworks3D and Tao, Konami, MontaVista, Nokia, Samsung, SK Telecom, Square Enix, Symbian OS, Tao, and Texas Instruments to create a common platform for developing premium 3D games.

Madden on your cell phone? Looks like that may be possible, as high-end phones use graphic chips and TI's OMAP processors to do some serious heavy lifting. So don't be surprised beginning in mid-2006 when the guy you're sitting next to on the subway suddenly starts blasting away and cursing amid the strain of trying to get to the next level of Doom 3.

The big question is, now that the big players are coming in, do games start to look pretty on the cell, but turn into more of the same stuff we're seeing everywhere else?

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.