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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