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Sony Ericsson has begun trials on a multiplayer mobile gaming system that will allow up to eight players to compete in real-time.

The multiplayer mobile gaming service will initially include two games. The first is Rally, which can be played by up to four players and the other is RC Battle, which can be played by up to eight players. The games can be played on a variety of Sony Ericsson phones, including the T300, T230, Z608 and T630 handsets. The games will be available for download from the Sony Ericsson Web site from January onwards.

"Just as the success with games played via Bluetooth and infrared, there are great opportunities for consumers to play games also over the mobile networks," said Cameron Stewart, senior manager global product marketing at Sony Ericsson in a statement. "With the advent of faster network technologies and more phones capable of downloading colour games, we see that there is a great deal of opportunities for on-line gaming."

Sony Ericsson is conducting compatibility tests on mobile networks in various countries. The tests will complete by January and consumers can then check if the gaming service is available in their country on their networks at the Games and Downloads section of the Sony Ericsson Web site.

The mobile games market was worth around €200m in 2002 and is expected to grow to nearly €3bn in 2008, according to Analysys, the analyst firm. ®

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