2/28/2008 10:37:00 AM
Contract phones to be sold in Game Station
Nokia’s new gaming phones, the N82 and N95, will be the first handsets to be sold in Game Station stores next month, as the games retailer looks towards selling mobiles.
Other manufacturers, such as Sony Ericsson and Samsung, are expected to follow suit after the trial period.
The phones will be sold on contracts through new IT systems enabling credit-checking in-store and will allow customers to sign up on contracts at the point of sale.
Sources said EA Sports will begin to release its games on mobiles between two and three months before traditional games consoles, in a bid to stoke interest among consumers to play games on mobile phones.
Some of the new phones will be pre-loaded with several games from EA Sports, such as FIFA and the Tiger Woods golf game.
Nokia is keen to resurrect its N-Gage gaming brand after the failure of its two N-Gage consoles. It is now including the N-Gage platform on its top Nseries phones.
A small number of Game Station stores are understood to be trialling the N95 and N81, although the forthcoming N96 and N78 are also expected to join the range.
Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson has batted away mounting speculation that it will launch a ‘PlayStation’ sub-brand to boost its credibility in the mobile gaming market in the same way it has done through Walkman in music and Cyber-shot for photography.
Previous attempts to sell contracts in non-specialist stores were restricted to selling with only dummy handsets and shipping the phone to the customer’s address at a later date. This has been frustrating for manufacturers wishing to sell their phones in games, music and IT retailers.
Game Station is the second biggest games retailer in the country, and is currently in the process of merging with market-leader Game, pending clearance from the monopolies and mergers commission.
Game Station has more than 230 stores in the UK, while Game has 401.
Unique Distribution is believed to have brokered the deal. Game Station declined to comment.