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EA Sports announces FIFA 06 for mobile phones

Latest version of popular sports franchise available for download this autumn

While the console versions of EA's successful football franchise steal all the media thunder, the company hasn't neglected the mobile gaming market, as it announces that FIFA 06 for mobiles will be available mid November.

EA is hoping to build on the success of FIFA 2005 Mobile, which spent some considerable time at the top end of the mobile charts last year. According to a company statement, the latest version boasts "better graphics and improved gameplay".

Mirroring the look and feel of the console versions, FIFA 06 will feature 3D graphics, team and player selection from the top 32 international teams and a "comprehensive selection of game modes," whether in a Friendly competition or Tournament battle.

The mobile version of the football franchise has been developed for EA Mobile by Distinctive Developments. The Sheffield-based firm has recently expanded its operations and hired several new development staff, to focus on the growing market need for 3D and connected mobile gaming. FIFA 06 continues and strengthens a long standing relationship with EA for the creation and development of mobile games.

Considered an industry powerhouse in the PC and console markets, often completely dominating the sales charts, EA is taking cautious steps into the mobile gaming market. In a recent interview with MobileIndustry.biz, Lincoln Wallen, CTO at EA Mobile, said: "In some respects, the number of games we're putting to market and the number of territories we're addressing is limited by the need to walk before we can run; to learn lessons, to experience the market."

The company has established a number of links with carriers, operators and mobile content distributors including I-Play, though the strategy long-term is to grow the mobile division and forge more direct relationships within the mobile industry; adding mobile versions of many of its popular console franchises in a bid to strengthen its position across all platforms and emerging markets.

FIFA 06 Mobile will be available for purchase and download through netwrok operators mid November, although no definite date has been announced so far.

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