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Portables (Games)

The N-Gage Will Rise Again 79

Posted by Zonk
from the or-not-whichever dept.
The New York Times has an article up this week talking about Nokia's third attempt to get their N-Gage brand into the minds of gamers. This time it's a service, not a device, and the company is betting that branding mobile games will be a better tactic than their previous attempts. "The Ideo and Nokia executives concluded that users mainly want to play against their friends and, at the very least, they want to know the skill level of their opponents. As a result, the new N-Gage permits users to see what games their friends have on their phones and whether they are online. They can also see how many points a person has earned in the game, as well as how much time they devote to solitary play versus group play. The researchers also asked players what their greatest frustrations were. High on the list was buying a game that turned out to be disappointing. In the new N-Gage service, customers will be able to sample games free before buying them. The selection will lean toward the casual side of gaming, with soccer and fishing titles and the popular puzzle game Bejeweled, among others. Nokia has not yet discussed prices."
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The N-Gage Will Rise Again

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:42PM (#20386969) Homepage Journal
    They *did* fix that problem, you know? The N-Gage QD [wikipedia.org] added an actual card slot, did away with side-talkin' [sidetalkin.com], smoothed out the look, and dropped the price substantially. (I've heard of several people who managed to be at the right place at the right time to get their N-Gages for almost nothing.)

    The real problem is that the concept was ill-advised to begin with. There's no real evidence to suggest that consumers want their gaming devices combined with their cell phones. Even worse, the portable gaming market has a high percentage of younger adults and children who are even less interested in getting an overpriced phone for gaming. To top things off, the N-Gage was graphically underpowered from day #1. It wasn't quite as bad as the Game.com [wikipedia.org] (pronounced "Game Comm"), but games like Tomb Raider pushed its 3D capabilities to the limit. Nokia also failed to follow up with a more powerful device after the introduction of the Nintendo DS.

    As if things weren't bad enough, Nokia never knew how to market the thing. They kept trying to sell it as a phone rather than a game system. (On the few rare occasions that they even promoted it.) In result, the market ignored them.

    Nokia should really just stop with the N-Gage and look at improving the controls on regular phones instead. Cell phone gaming is absolutely horrendous at the moment, yet no one in the market seems to be doing anything to fix it. Go figure.

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