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Eitarosoft Takes Mobile Users to Another World


Japanese mobile gaming company Eitarosoft is diversifying in to Second Life style worlds, with an innovative new service called Lamity.


Designed purely for mobile phones, users are able to wander around, chatting to each other as well as playing 3D games.


Lamity will be in the hands of Japanese mobile users soon, thanks to deals with Sony, Sharp and NEC to preload the application on operator NTT DoCoMo’s 906i range of handsets.


With Fujitsu set to jump onboard too in the near future, it’s clear that Lamity will bring its developer lots of money – each handset maker pays a license fee to use the software.


But just how successful can it be? Well in 2006 Mobage-Town was designed by the company, and it now has 10 million active users and upwards of 500 million page views per day. As the company’s Eri Tokita explained, “that’s more than Yahoo’s social networking sites combined.”

However, the really exciting news is that Lamity – currently a Java app – is also being ported to Google’s Android operating system, which could make a European launch that bit more likely, once the first Android phones go on sale late this year or early next year.


Whereas Second Life will seize up a PC when it has to handle something under 100 users at once, Lamity has no problem at all getting to 400 simultaneous digital bods thanks to AJAX that shifts the processing load from the device to the game server.


Tokita explains: “The server does all the hard work and provides the final images to the user’s phone, which only has to read and display them, with nothing to calculate.”


Future plans include plenty of 3D games to put the avatars through – we got invited to a networked game of golf – and lots more online shops, where users can spend the Lamity virtual currency, City Coins.


These City Coins, of course, cost real-world money, which appears as a hit on the following month’s phone bill – a world first for any mobile virtuality.


All of which adds up to a potentially hectic virtual existence that’s at least as trying as real life. Still, as Tokita says, it beats Second Life et al, where there’s “really nothing to do.”


After that, Eitarosoft plans to link up as many social sites as possible with Lamity using Google’s OpenSocial, so the implications for an immersive 3D mobile blanket over everything from MySpace to, possibly, FaceBook are obvious. As CEO Nishijima pointed out, “Your phone’s always with you, after all.”

For now, those of us in the west will just have to look here and feel a bit jealous. But rest assured, if Lamity does get a release over on this side of the world, we’ll be on the case immediately.


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