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Pay per level Nokia 7650 game goes live next month

Micropayment model gets an outing

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Mobile phone gaming company Masabi, which recently completed an implementation of the BBC micro classic Repton for the Nokia 7650, will be going live with a micropayments system from next month.

Although Masabi is already selling Repton for the 7650 in stand-alone form, company co-founder Tom Godber sees the real business model as consisting of users playing the game, and paying small amounts of money for access to new levels. Repton is a levels-based game, so is receptive to this kind of model, but obviously it doesn't work until you have the billing system in place.

So enter Bango.net. Bango was founded by Ray Anderson (yes, that Ray Anderson and some of his old chums from IXI, and uses things called Bango numbers interfaced with various billing systems to make it easier for you to accidentally spend a continuous stream of small amounts of money with your mobile phone.

So in this case, once the system is live you'd enter the number 737866 from a Bango.net bookmark on your mobile phone, and this will get you a free download of the game and one level. You'll then be able to buy skins and further levels at 49p a pop from within the game itself. How do you pay this over? You can use reverse SMS, charging it via your operator's billing system (e.g. Vodafone's m-pay) or by buying pin codes for £3 or £5 worth of content.

"For the developer and publisher of mobile games, the ability to generate a large volume of low-cost micro-payments during game play means that infectious, addictive games will earn significant revenue from the community of mobile game players," said Ray Anderson, CEO of Bango.net (Who we feel sure would have shot himself 20 years ago if he'd realised he'd be flogging cheap computer games in 2002. But times change.).

In related and slightly worrying news, several readers have pointed out that a free version of Doom for the 7650 is now available here. Considering what Tony Smith looked like when he used to do his lunchtime Doom sessions in the office (rigid body, bulging eyes, red face, tongue sticking out one corner of his mouth) we wouldn't advise playing this one on a crowded train, but that's up to you. ®

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