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Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

Nokia Admits N-Gage Sales Below Expectations 54

Thanks to the UK Financial Times for its article discussing Nokia's first public acknowledgment that the Nokia N-Gage 'mobile game deck' has not performed to expectations. According to the article: "'The sales are in the lower quartile of the bracket we had as our goal,' Jorma Ollila, the Finnish group's chairman and chief executive told the FT.", and it was further noted that "Nokia has set a target of selling 9m of the devices in the first two years, but the company has now corroborated early evidence from game stores that sales have been sluggish." Nokia had previously reported positive results in the short post-launch period, despite apparent evidence to the contrary, but the FT article ends with the Nokia chairman's comments that "the N-Gage had to be given until November 2005 before it could be judged a success or failure."
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Nokia Admits N-Gage Sales Below Expectations

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  • November 2004? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by happylight ( 600739 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @03:10AM (#8360404)
    Forget it. 'Cause it'll only get worse as people start to forget about the taco phone. So unless they start selling those at below $100 people won't buy them. And even then they'll only buy it for the phone, not the gaming.
  • Give it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @03:15AM (#8360424)
    Give it a total redesign. Get rid of the taco shape, make the cartridges easier to swap in and out, drop the price to near free once you sign the phone contract and then maybe it might sell.
  • Is this correct? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by woohoodonuts ( 734070 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @03:24AM (#8360450)
    How can they expect mass appeal whenever they're offering these things for $380? I can go buy a freakin gamecube and a PS2 for less than that, then go sign up for a phone plan and get a phone for free.

    The pricing point in this article can't be correct. I just can't possibly fathom how they would expect people to run screaming into the stores for these things when they're charging this much.
  • Re:November 2004? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by secolactico ( 519805 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @04:18AM (#8360591) Journal
    And even then they'll only buy it for the phone, not the gaming.

    Only if they are giving them away with cell phone plans. That thing is too bulky and cumbersome compared with phones of similar (minus gaming) features.
  • Re:What went wrong (Score:2, Interesting)

    by iainl ( 136759 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @05:51AM (#8360822)
    "You have to turn off the N-Gage, and take out the cover and battery in order to CHANGE GAMES."

    Actually, the grandparent poster was on a relevant line to this talking about the DRM on the games. They are actually just plain ol' Symbian games that (as unscrupulous crackers have done) can be played on any Symbian phone once you've got them in an unencrypted format.

    If that were the case as standard, then you could easily fit several games on one large MMC card and choose between them without even a reset. The fragility of the games is because they have to come on the standard MMC cards, and they just happen to be horribly fragile as a medium.

    So its really a fault of whoever designed MMC, and let it become the standard for Symbian generally (which would still be partly Nokia, then, come to think of it).
  • Re:Give it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @05:52AM (#8360824) Homepage Journal
    if they 'fix' it(the non 'standard' screen), then it will become less desirable for people who do their homework(what is standard anyways? 320*240?)..

    as now(the current n-gage) it's a pretty damn cheap series60 phone(with more ram than 3650/60 too).

    why is it important? because of all the 3rd party software available for series60(irc, opera & etc) that seperates it from a plain gaming device.

    they will redesign it of course(who thought they would sell the same design for 2 years??), maybe drop the mp3 chip too(though the mp3 chip is quite handy when you have 128mb+ free for mp3's when you have a 256mb mmc).

    sonics 'problem' is that it was not designed for the screen in the first place(screen that's pretty good for shooters actually). the screen with the 'borders' is a screen that's scaled from the 'big' view(you can get unscaled screen on too, by press of a button). in fact most of the games so far have been just cheap ports, and I mean really cheap(the dev costs can't have been that high).

    as to providing it for nearly no cost with plans, that's up to the telecoms(besides, such tying is illeagal here as it becomes impossible for the consumer to consider how much is he paying for the phone and how much for the connection, this law didn't hurt adaptation at all btw, if anything it helped it).

    anyways.. some sort of gaming is going to be continued to be published for their more powerful phones so they might just as well try to get a bite of that. coding for them is relatively simple anyways.
  • by pommaq ( 527441 ) <straffaren@s[ ] ['pra' in gap]> on Monday February 23, 2004 @07:01AM (#8360995) Homepage
    But I'm not going to declare it DOA just yet. Yeah, the N-Gage had so many design flaws and stupid decisions I can't even begin to count them (and I gotta wonder what those finnish engineers were smoking), but the idea is still sound. I played Pandemonium on one of these monsters a few days ago, and... it's not too shabby. The N-Gage sucks - I agree - but you have to keep in mind that phone companies roll out new models OFTEN. I think the people at Nokia have learned a few lessons and unless they get cold feet from this debacle and terminate the N-Gage, version 2.0 will probably be quite nice. As long as they stick to their standards (as in 100% backwards compatibility) and keep improving the model, it could really turn into something nice. Integrating phone/pda/handheld gaming isn't such a bad idea, really, but the devil is in the details and Nokia screwed up. If they can listen to consumer feedback and improve the phone, they might end up with a winner.
  • Re:Final Comment (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @09:01AM (#8361315)
    As in, yes we promise that we won't screw Symbian up as badly as we screwed up this whole N-Gage thing...

    They won't. Mainly because they can't afford to.

    Nokia are shit scared (like every other manufacturer - bar Motorola) that Microsoft are going to muscle into the mobile phone industry and take it over. If that happened, all mobile phone manufacturers would be relegated to producing hardware on flimsy margins and licencing the OS from Microsoft (a la the current PC situation).

    The biggest thing that Symbian has in its favour is that the Microsoft Phone OS is truely truely aweful. However it won't be like that forever.

  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @10:39AM (#8361860) Homepage
    Is that most phones aren't designed to support having multiple keys pressed (and understood) at the same time. This will make games like Tony Hawk a lot trickier, since you won't be easily able to do tricks.

    Still, I'd be happier if Nokia had actually put some sort of video processor in the N-Gage which wasn't standard on all other S60 phones.
  • Re:Give it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PainKilleR-CE ( 597083 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @10:43AM (#8361887)
    if they 'fix' it(the non 'standard' screen), then it will become less desirable for people who do their homework(what is standard anyways? 320*240?).

    320*240 is more or less standard, but then cell phones follow different rules, and have different standard dimensions from gaming systems or PDAs. Still, to solve problems like homework you would use the same solution most PDAs use: allow display rotation, or set it up so that most applications run with more vertical space, while most games can run either way, according to the developer's needs. As long as it's comfortable to use as a gaming device in widescreen mode, it'll be fine for most ports. If it can be somehow comfortable to use for gaming in either direction, then it'll just be an added bonus for shooters and such (I find that an interesting note, too, since SquareEnix announced some time ago that they were going to start developing cell phone games, and the first game they announced was a shooter).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @06:57PM (#8367430)
    It's one thing to hear someone say something stupid. They may not know better, but when a group of people choose to be ridiculous, well, my sympathy goes way down.

    Ever hear of the Abilene Paradox? A group of people can unanimously agree to something that each individual member opposes. It's much easier for a group of people to do something incredibly stupid than it is for one person.

In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur