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Portables (Games) Communications

Nokia Declares N-Gage A Failure 216

Posted by Zonk
from the not-a-very-good-platform dept.
chrisbtoo writes "Nokia's VP of corporate strategy has admitted that the company's ill-fated N-Gage was not the success they'd hoped it would be, and they won't develop the platform further. The device sold 2 million units in 3 years, against projections of 6 million. They'll continue to build the gaming software into their Series 60 phones, but gaming won't be a priority for them until 2007." From the article: "The company launched the N-Gage in 2003 but sales have been disappointing and, according to the company's roadmap, mobile gaming will not be a focus until 2007. Nokia is concentrating on mobile music for the rest of this year, and next year's main push will be on driving mobile television."
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Nokia Declares N-Gage A Failure

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  • Not worth the hype (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unik (929502) <> on Friday November 25, 2005 @03:32PM (#14114347)
    I think the problem was a combination of bad timing and over-hype. With the PSP lurking, it just couldn't compare.
  • So Late! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2005 @03:38PM (#14114370)
    I declared it a failure back in 2003! Why did it take a big company like Nokia so long to figure out what I was able to surmise immediately?
  • Cheap Symbian (Score:4, Insightful)

    by donutface (847957) on Friday November 25, 2005 @03:48PM (#14114421)
    I have an ngage, and I love it. Granted the games are shocking, but its the cheapest Symbian phone on the market, and a very good one at that. Cheapest colour bluetooth nokia too when I bought mine. Might be a failure for games, but its still a hell of a good and cheap symbian phone!
  • by hattig (47930) on Friday November 25, 2005 @03:49PM (#14114425) Journal
    Also probably a couple of years too early, given the non-gaming-specific hardware that mobile phones use. The fun that is playing a game on an old Gameboy, never mind a Gameboy advance or DS, is down to the hardware that makes it possible - the tiled graphics modes on the old Gameboy meant faster games, for example, than the ol' 4MHz Z80 could do on its own.

    If the nGage had come with, say, 10-20 games built-in, where each game was an implementation of a classic game - space invaders, arkanoid, asteroids, pacman, tetris/columns, then many more people would have bought them. Even if these games had been £1.99 ($2.99) options to download from Nokia it would have been more tempting.

    As it is, I have a gameboy emulator on my Motorola A1000, and whilst it garbles the audio it is still reasonably playable. All I need to do is get some Zelda games on it, and I'm good to go for months. I imagine I can get C64, Spectrum and CPC emulators for it as well - Uridium, Netherworld, New Zealand Story here I come (when I find the emulators anyway!).
  • by tomstdenis (446163) <> on Friday November 25, 2005 @04:12PM (#14114548) Homepage
    hey hey hey there they have a 2px caption at the bottom that clearly states "simulated screen only" what more do you want from their advertisement? upfront honestly? Yeah next you'll want products engineered with the customer in mind!!!

    Stupid hippies...

    Personally I don't see the appeal of it. Not like you can really watch TV while walking around downtown ... and expect to survive. On the bus/train it's too noisy [and honestly you don't always get a seat] and on airplanes they tell you to shut it off cuz it could "send the plane up the bomb!"

    Well that and watching TV on a 1" screen is just pathetic. At least airplanes have 5" [or so] screens in the back of the head rest thingy...

  • by Iriel (810009) on Friday November 25, 2005 @04:19PM (#14114581) Homepage
    I think it was a bubble about as big as a cell phone actually ;) Yeah, music/gaming on your phone could be neat and all, and maybe plenty of people think it's the coolest thing since sliced bread. But nokia just 'reported' that it failed: we needed them to actually tell us this? I think the N-Gage is the perfect example of what happens when you try to cram too much into a device that already needs to be a phone, which is no meager task.

    Advanced technology be damned I tell you! (sarcasm here, people) but I still get plenty of dropped calls and basic connection failures. I think the size of phones sort of limits them to being good at being a phone and about one other task. With the possible exception of a PDA though, I don't think I've seen any multi-function phone that does a secondary task well enough to make someone stop using their dedicated camera/music player/game device.

    Spy der Mann hit it almost squarely on the head with this. People have been stretching themselves too thin in some attempt to add widgets to your cell phone because we all love everything to be portable, and most of us already have cell phones to begin with. The only problem here is that there wasn't any lack of product, but rather the quality of the products have been crippled in many (but not all) cases by limitations of the hardware.
  • by unik (929502) <> on Friday November 25, 2005 @04:28PM (#14114625)
    Read while you drive? Thats incredibly scary.
  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2005 @04:42PM (#14114684)
    No game system is ever supposed to have a screen taller than it is wide

    Ah those kids today, too old to have enjoyed Tempest, Centipede, Galaga...Pac-Man...
  • by gadgetbox (872707) on Friday November 25, 2005 @04:43PM (#14114688)
    I'm sorry, did you say "read while you drive"? What a terribly awful idea.
  • Re:Wow (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2005 @04:43PM (#14114689)
    Apart from the Gameboy! It's screen was taller than wide and that was a total failiure!
  • Re:Nokia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Minwee (522556) <> on Friday November 25, 2005 @04:43PM (#14114690) Homepage
    You're right about that, but the other biggest problem is that some developers spend too much time listening to the random, unfocused rantings of the general public, and end up trying to make devices which are soft and cuddly but with lots of firepower, telescopes, microscopes, and periscopes that never stop dancing.

    The only way to win is to walk a middle path between having a coherent vision for the product and having an idea of what your customers want.

    To pull examples from the movies, "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" and "Gigli" were examples of films created entirely from the top down without any concern for what the viewers wanted while "Catwoman" and "Showgirls" spent so much time giving the audience what they thought they wanted that there wasn't much room for anything but sucking.

    The biggest problem is that while a room full of engineers and a table covered with marketing reports is no substitute for one brilliant designer, that doesn't mean that the one brilliant designer can't use a little guidance in what people want.

  • Re:So Late! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NanoGator (522640) on Friday November 25, 2005 @04:58PM (#14114788) Homepage Journal
    "I declared it a failure back in 2003! Why did it take a big company like Nokia so long to figure out what I was able to surmise immediately?"

    Because, Nostradamus, you didn't know you were right until it played out.

    Look, I realize that the N-Gage had several devastating flaws. But you're talking about a segment of the market who aren't necessarily hard-core gamers. It was cheap, it was a cell phone, and it had better games than you can typically get on a cell phone. Heck, I almost bought one to replace my crapp-ass Motorola. Never got around to it, but it actually did have some appeal.

    I'm not the least bit surprised they tried to stay the course on it and waited a year after they built the new version of it before declaring failure.

  • Re:Frustrating (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandrese (485) * <> on Friday November 25, 2005 @05:43PM (#14114997) Homepage Journal
    From the point of view of the cell phone companies, you just designed the worst phone ever. No connector conspiracy? What are you thinking? Loading (possibly pirated) music from the computer without paying $2 for each one? Prepostrous! No DRM? What, do you want to be sued?

    Sure it would be a great phone, but no service provider would carry it because they are far more interested in new ways to pull money out of your wallet than installing features you're actually asking for.

    On the other hand, the ROKR is somewhat close to what you asked for. It syncs over USB (but has a custom connector of course) and uses an almost standard headphone jack (there's even an adapter that comes with the phone to let you use a normal one). It has good long playtime and technically the songs are stored on a memory card (a compact SD card). Of course there is the retarded 100 song limit (100 songs pretty much fill a 512MB compact SD card though). Even that took a full power Reality Distortion Field to bring to light, I wouldn't count on finding something like you actually want anytime soon.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2005 @05:51PM (#14115035)
    ...3D graphics is becoming main stream and viable...

    Sigh, the only reason I have a GBA is to enjoy the last of the 2D goodness. Call be strange but I think 2D games are often far more compelling (not to mention easier to control) on consoles, especially portable consoles.

    PS. the word at the bottom is "laments". Weird.
  • by dcstimm (556797) on Friday November 25, 2005 @06:37PM (#14115222) Homepage
    No, Sex sells regardless, if they cant sing but they are hot! then it will sell
  • by DroopyStonx (683090) on Friday November 25, 2005 @09:37PM (#14116114)
    First question they should've thought about was: Why would/should consumers choose us?

    1. Are our games fun?
    2. Is our technology up to speed for today's standards?
    3. Are our games logically affordable?
    4. Is the unit innovative, easy for someone to use as a gaming system and cell phone while keeping in mind portability?

    Answer to all of those is a resounding no. The system was horrible. Compared to what already existed, the graphics sucked and the games sucked. It was like taking a giant step backwards in the gaming industry. So who within the company honestly thought such a thing would be a good idea?

    Granted game development and being "fun" is left up to the 3rd party developers, but even in taking on a project, "Hey, Nokia wants us to create a game for their new system"... one should think, "We better make this game damn good or we're screwed."

    Releasing something less than amazing on a non-popular system is suicide.

    I realize that sometimes success is based off of taking risks, but that also assumes the heads in charge know how to use logic. You can't just take a stab in the dark and expect to hit gold.

Parkinson's Law: Work expands to fill the time alloted it.