Nokia hit as hackers crack N-Gage codes

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NOKIA, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, has revealed that hackers have cracked the copy- protection codes for its newly launched N-Gage gaming device, allowing copied games to be downloaded over the internet.

The setback comes just over a month after the Finnish company launched the much-hyped game phone in a bid to gain a foothold in the portable gaming market.

"We take this very, very seriously and have initiated an aggressive programme to stop the people that are behind these violations," said spokesman Damian Stathonikos.

Nokia has high hopes for N-Gage, aiming to sell between six and nine million units before the end of 2004 as it challenges market leader Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance.

A vital part of the revenue from N-Gage will come from games, which are sold separately, but Nokia said it did not expect the illegal downloads to become widespread.

Mr Stathonikos said: "This is not something the average consumer can do. You need to have very specialised software tools and very specialised skills."

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