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SkyZone brings Ragnarok MMOG to mobile phones

Korean game becomes first title to exploit transmedia promise

Popular Korean-developed massively multiplayer title Ragnarok is to be made accessible on mobile phone handsets in North America thanks to a new deal between title developer Gravity and wireless entertainment firm SkyZone.

The deal will see Ragnarok becoming the first game in North America which allows players to access the same game world and characters both from their PCs and via their mobile phones.

As well as giving players of the PC version of the game - which is very popular both in its native Korea and in other territories such as Japan and the USA - the chance to access their game accounts via mobile devices, those who don't play the game already will also be able to play via a mobile-only subscription.

This type of gameplay - described as transmedial access - has long been one of the holy grails of mobile gaming, with the concept of being able to carry out transactions or monitor progress in an online world from mobile devices when users are away from their PCs being seen as highly attractive.

This will be the first time, however, that such a service has been launched in North America.

"Gamers, including Gravity users, can now enjoy the interlocking wireless and cable service of Ragnarok Mobile in the USA and Canada," explained Gravity chairman and CEO, Ryu Il Young. "Gravity expects its overseas expansion of mobile games to accelerate quickly through this North American advance."

The mobile version of Ragnarok is expected to roll out on US carriers in early 2006.

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