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Startup Brings Second Life To Cell Phones

Those who are already registered as "residents" in Second Life can log in and play as they would on a desktop.

Startup Vollee this week unveiled plans to bring the popular Second Life online virtual world to mobile phones through its streaming mobile games service.

Mobile users with 3G-enabled phones will be able to access Vollee's Second Life mobile service, which is a reformatted version of the virtual world for smaller screens, according to Vollee. Those who are already registered as "residents" in Second Life can log in and play as they would on a desktop. New players can also try out Second Life directly on their mobile phones. All they have to do is download the software.

Mobile gaming is expected to surpass console and handheld gaming and reach $6 billion in sales by 2011, according to Understanding & Solutions, a British consulting company.

Vollee said it will begin beta trials of its mobile service for the Second Life Grid platform in May. In the meantime, players can pre-register for the service on Vollee's Web site.

"What we have developed is a service which, for the first time, allows you to access a rich persistent virtual 3-D world the way it is supposed to be experienced on your phone," said Martin Dunsby, Vollee's CEO, in a statement.

Vollee has developed an interactive video streaming platform that uses the bandwidth of 3G cellular networks to stream any high-end PC game to mobile phones with their original 3-D graphics, AI, and playing options intact. The platform takes into consideration screen size and the key layout of mobile phones to make the experience more enjoyable, Vollee said.

The company first rolled out its 1.0 mobile gaming platform in October and received support from video game publishers such as Activision, Codemasters, and Encore Software. Vollee licenses games from publishers and provides them in an interactive mobile portal. Wireless carriers then distribute and market the Vollee mobile service to their 3G subscribers.

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