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Immersion offers I-play a sense of touch

Force feedback coming to mobile handsets

Immersion Corporation has signed a new agreement with mobile content publishers I-play, licensing its proprietary VibeTonz touch feedback technology for integration in a series of mobile phone games.

The first two titles to utilise the new feature, initially available on the Samsung SCH n-330 handset through Verizon Wireless, will be street racer 2Fast 2Furious and arcade retro classic Metal Slug Mobile.

By using the dedicated VibeTonz Studio development kit, mobile phone game creators can add a range of force feedback effects which are commonly used in the traditional PC and console market. The touch sensitivity exacts precise control over the handset's motor, producing a series of vibrations to coincide with machine-gun fire, explosions, and, in the case of 2Fast 2Furious, heavy revs of the car engines.

Speaking to mobileindustry.biz, an I-play representative confirmed that the VibeTonz functionality is due to be implemented in a new range of additional handsets in the future, broadening its availability for US gamers. To capitalise on this, and the benefits of offering a more engrossing mobile gaming experience, there are currently a further two to three as yet undisclosed titles in development for I-play, which are scheduled for release over the coming months and will make full use of the touch feedback functionality.

Although I-play could offer no official confirmation on any plans to bring VibeTonz enhanced titles to territories outside the US, it is likely that the company will seek to extend their partnership with Immersion as further compatible handsets from different manufacturers begin to reach market.

I-play's COO, David Gosen, said: "VibeTonz effects add a whole new level of fun and excitement during mobile game play. I-play is looking forward to adding more VibeTonz-enabled games to its stellar catalogue of fun, high quality mobile games."

John Grundy, vice president and general manager of Immersion's mobility business unit commented: "It's a great step forward for mobile gaming when you can take the whole experience associated with console gaming, including all the rumble effects, and bring it to your mobile phone."

"I-play focuses on making the consumer experience more fun, and they quickly saw the value of the VibeTonz System in meeting that objective. When you connect with the sense of touch, along with sight and sound, you can more fully engage consumers, drive more revenue, create differentiation and brand value, and increase customer loyalty," he added.

Established in 1993, Immersion is a leading developer, licensor and marketer of digital touch technology, deployed across the automotive, entertainment, medical training, mobility, personal computing, and three-dimensional simulation markets. Offering a range of touch feedback products and services, Immersion currently has over 500 issued or pending patents in the US and several other countries.

I-play has been creating dedicated mobile games for almost eight years now, and continues to seek innovation and imaginative new ideas to establish the wireless gaming sector as a truly mass-market gaming platform.

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