|ICell phone gaming sucks. Not only is it slow, riddled with costs, and saddled with crappy controls,
the cell phone versions of classic favorites like Madden, Call of Duty and Need for Speed tend to be
pale, watery knock-offs, lacking many of the features that make their fully-grown versions such big
sellers. You'd think, now that everyone and their dog sports whizz-bang 3G handsets, we'd have some
A new company is aiming to change all that, by bringing the rich world of PC massively-multiplayer
games to mobile phones -- and what's most impressive is that much of the hard work is already done.
Vollee's service doesn't actually install the game on your phone. Instead, the game's graphics and
sound are streamed to your phone, much like you might watch a mobile TV show or browse
YouTube. This means, in theory, you have all the capabilities of the PC game at your fingertips, and
expanding the games Vollee supports is simple.
Vollee's first supported game is popular virtual world Second Life, but the company's industry-veteran
CEO Martin Dunsby promised us many more are in the pipeline. Vollee has forged deals with several
more major publishers -- including World of Warcraft owner Activision Blizzard, and while Dunsby
won't get specific about which games are covered, it's only fair to note that Warcraft is the only MMO
Activision Blizzard has.
"Clearly there's huge demand from Warcraft players, and we'd love to satisfy that demand. We believe
mobile is an essential part of any virtual world experience," says Dunsby. "In the real world, people
want to be able to take their email and chat mobile, and the exact same thing is true for virtual worlds."
You're not going to be leading any raid groups from your handset: even with a super-fast wireless
connection, Vollee's client doesn't have the responsiveness or control flexibility of a real PC. But if
you're looking to log in to check your auctions, chat, or maybe grind out a little experience while
you're in line at the grocery store, it's more than up to the job.
If that's enough to pique your interest, Vollee's service is in open beta right now, and if you have one
of the 40-odd compatible handset models, you can try it out for free. Just be sure you have an
unlimited data plan from your cell provider -- like any streaming application, Vollee's games suck up
plenty of bandwidth.