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Gizmondo fishes for game coders with cash fund fly

Handheld console needs titles. Now

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Another week, another Gizmondo press release. This time the publicity hungry handheld console developer has said it wants to offer developers money for games.

Gizmondo Europe today announced a "game innovation fund". The hoard will be used to "support emerging developers who want to take gaming to the next level by leveraging the outstanding range of features of the Gizmondo mobile gaming device".

If the handheld is as exciting as its creator would have us believe, you'd have thought developers would be queuing up to code for the console, not waiting for such financial inducements.

The truth is Gizmondo, which is due to be launched in the UK and Europe later this year, and in the US during Q1 2005 - about the same time that the PlayStation Portable is expected to show up on that side of the Atlantic - is desperate for games.

Last week, the company announced it was buying Swedish games developer Indie Studios, which has already agreed to create two titles for the handheld. Gizmondo is spending $8m of parent company Tiger Telematic's money on the developer.

Some 12 more games have been promised by UK-based Fathammer, which is also providing the console's games engine, X-Forge. Other titles may be coming from other developers, but the Gizmondo web site currently lists just four upcoming titles: two apiece from the aforementioned studios.

"We're seeing that the industry is suffering from stagnation in innovative titles," bemoaned Gizmondo Acquisition Manager Mikael Astrom. Or they're simply too busy bashing out PSP and Nintendo DS games.

"So at an early stage, we've decided to make incremental support money available to our publisher partners in bringing new, innovative titles to our platform," Alstrom adds.

Until recently Astrom was the producer on Colors, the urban gang warfare first-person perspective shooter Indie is developing for Gizmondo.

Astrom did not say how much cash his company was putting in its game development fund. ®

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