Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Portables (Games)

The N-Gage Will Rise Again 79

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The N-Gage Will Rise Again

Comments Filter:
  • The N-Gage barely rose in the first place..
  • Ok, sorry to break this to the Nokia execs, but it was a flop for more then just the multiplayer against "friends". One HUGE issue was the fact that you had to remove the battery to simply put in a new game. Doesn't look like they have mentioned that yet...
    • What the hell is wrong with you?

      At least read the fucking summary.
    • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:42PM (#20386969) Homepage Journal
      They *did* fix that problem, you know? The N-Gage QD [] added an actual card slot, did away with side-talkin' [], 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 [] (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.
      • by Reapman ( 740286 )
        To be honest, I always thought if they had released the QD first, it MIGHT have done OK. Not great, but not the laughing stock it became. I actually heard from some ppl that bought one that it wasn't that bad. However by the time the QD came out it was far far FAR too late. At least a name change woulda helped, but the N-Gage = laughing stock.
      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
        "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."

        The thing is Cell phones are already expected to check your email, surf the web, show video, and be a good phone!
        I think it all about priorities.
      • I disagree with the N-Gage being a bad concept. I have an N-Gage and enjoy it a lot and constantly have people who want to try it. The only reason the N-Gage didn't do better is that they sold it mostly at game outlets rather than at phone outlets and they never really advertised it or explained what it was. The only people who saw that the N-Gage existed were at a game store - if gaming was their priority they probably didn't want an N-Gage whereas if they wanted a solid cell phone with good gaming then N-
        • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
          IMO there is little point to 3D games on something as small as a phone anyway.

          Try playing a 3d game on the Nintendo DS and you'll find that it's entirely feasible.
          • by MikeFM ( 12491 )
            But why bother? As a whole, 3D games are less fun than older 2D games anyway. Your not going to be blown away by the amazing realism on a 2 inch screen anyway so why not play the games that are more fun? The vast majority of gamers still enjoy simple puzzle and arcade style games more than 3D so there is little benefit to going 3D.

            Now - stick some VR goggles on a phone and I'd love to see some killer 3D built-in. Or even some sort of holographic projector would call for 3D. That'd be sweet. ;)
            • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
              I'd disagree with any claims that categorically claim 3d is less or more fun than 2d. One of my favourite games on the DS is Chou Soujuu Mecha MG which is a 3d mech game that wouldn't be very feasible in 2d. Can't do much physics with thrown buildings in 2d, can't have analog up-down swings in 2d (the game would have to be top-down if it was 2d), etc. 3d is not for impressing people with realism, it's simply for having more dimensions when your game design needs them, e.g. for GTA.

              VR goggles? Most people do
              • by MikeFM ( 12491 )
                3D can be fun - it just usually isn't. Increased realism isn't that fun. Most game makers have traded game play for realism which is a turn off to casual gamers. I do see that Nintendo is making an effort to change this with the Wii. I like playing GTA but I never play the missions because they just aren't fun. I just run around like a maniac causing mayhem because that is what is fun - especially when you have the cheat codes.

                VR goggles don't have to look dorky. They only look dorky because they've so far
  • Dis-N-Gage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bloodmoon1 ( 604793 ) <> on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:30PM (#20386733) Homepage Journal
    I think that the N-Gage brand is already firmly entrenched in the minds of gamers, but for all of the wrong reasons. I know that as soon as I read the title, the first thing that came into my mind was "not again". Anyone who bought an N-Gage when they first came out is probably still very bitter about how that all went down, and most people, I'd venture, will at least remember what a mess the whole thing was.

    I don't know why Nokia is so dedicated to the brand, but they seem determined to get every cent possible out of it. Though at this point, I think they might as well just start trying to sell rebranded industrial waste as a child's toy. It seems to work pretty well for most places...
    • My thoughts exactly. This is kind of like releasing an HD-DVD format and calling it BetaMax II.
    • If they target the brand to teens, Nokia has a very good change that it works. a) N-Gage just sounds well. b) The current youth has never heard of the N-Gage before. 4 years is quite long in the mobile telephone business, so it figures that Nokia relaunches a good old name.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bloodmoon1 ( 604793 )
        While I think you have the best angle possible for the N-Gage pinned down, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good angle and it really doesn't mean that it will work.

        The whole "teen branding" thing has been proven to more or less not work when it comes to technology. Teens often do not have the technological savvy (knowing how to use MySpace and an IM program to propagate the decay of the English language is not the same as possessing sound technological abilities and understanding, a point that i
        • by macshit ( 157376 )
          Basically, you need a target to not only know that there is a word "Engage", but that is savvy enough to understand the play on words associated with it here

          Gee, I'm not sure if it's my nerdishness or my lack of savvy, but I always associated "N-Gage" with "N gauge", the model railroad size (below HO)! [The association even kind of makes sense -- N-gauge railroads are tiny, jewel-like things...]
    • I think that the N-Gage brand is already firmly entrenched in the minds of gamers, but for all of the wrong reasons.

      I think their only real competition is the Phantom [].

    • Execs apparently have no concept of branding, or what it means. To further explain: account for franchises like "Turok - Dinosaur Hunter" or "Outpost." These games where horrible, and sold horribly too, yet they got sequels, and in Turok's case, several! How the hell does that meeting go down? "We've got this property, it sold wretchedly in its first iteration, and is universally reviled by critics and our target audience alike, but we'd like to have another go at this financial rat-hole." "Brilliant!
      • by macshit ( 157376 )
        account for franchises like "Turok - Dinosaur Hunter" or "Outpost." These games where horrible, and sold horribly too, yet they got sequels, and in Turok's case, several!

        Huh? The original Turok game for the N64 was an absolutely excellent game, and sold well because of this. That's why there were several sequels (which by all accounts got increasingly bad; I've only played the original though).
    • "Anyone who bought an N-Gage when they first came out is probably still very bitter about how that all went down

      Lucky for them that was only about 12 people.

  • With the PSP and DS, as well as home consoles and computers, the gaming console market is pretty much flooded.

    3 consoles, and 3 portables is MORE than enough to keep any human busy. I know I as an adult dont ha ve enough time in life to balance all the consoles, and as a father dont want my kids to play games all day when they should be focusing on schoolwork and getting exercise playing sports.

    • I thought that's what they said about XBOX?
      • xbox worked because of the PC ports and because the Dreamcast was all but dead by the time it hit.
        • by L-Train8 ( 70991 )
          I guess you could say the XBox "worked," but if it was any company but Microsoft, that console would be dead. They still are subsidizing the hardware to the tune of hundreds of dollars per console. They've lost billions of dollars on it, and they have 2nd or 3rd place numbers to show for it, depending on which statistics you look at.

          Now, I'm not saying the XBox sucks. I love a lot of the games (mmmm... Dead Rising), and I think XBox live is one of the best innovations to hit gaming in a long time. But from
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      With the PSP and DS, as well as home consoles and computers, the gaming console market is pretty much flooded.

      3 consoles, and 3 portables

      You mention 3 portables: PSP, DS, and what else? GP2X that I can't convince the local game store to stock?

      is MORE than enough to keep any human busy.

      Any human, including an independent developer? Is there any handheld gaming system sold in U.S. retail stores that is not locked down, other than perhaps a Nintendo DS system with a Datel Games n' Music accessory?

    • by Brigade ( 974884 )
      That's the point .. they don't want you to have 3 consoles, 3 portables and a computer. That's the hardcore gamer segment. Mr. Reggie was quoted pre-launch last year as saying something along the lines of "We're not in competition with those guys [Microsoft & Sony].

      They want to pull a Nintendo. They don't care about what consoles you may/may not own, so long as you keep spending money on THEIR console/software/peripherals.

      The one benefit multiple consoles bring to bear is competition and forced
  • "....all I have is an NGage. Is that okay?" [] []
  • I love Nokia and my 6131 but let's face it, anything game related they would do it just won't compare against DS.
    We are talking dual screen, touchscreen, mic, hundreds of cool games, etc.
    • by forgoil ( 104808 )
      Exactly. A mobile phone is far from a good game machine, for many a reasons. The biggest ones being java (C/asm in a jail would have been the way to go), the hardware (horrible buttons compare to a DS or PSP) and the size of the games. I can whip out my DS and play Final Fantasy III which will smoke whatever crap you have on a mobile phone. Nokia had the concept right with the N-Gage, the just couldn't deliver that concept even in the least.

      I mean, how far is the DS from getting a skype cartridge? It as wif
      • The N-Gage along with other N-series phones are S60 i.e. Symbian i.e. Epoc32 i.e CPP/C/Asm are all fine. In fact Nokia has recently release POSIX complaint C librarys so porting is easy.

        Unlike the DS the SDKs are also free and you can install new apps over the air (or via trusty USB mass storage).

        The newer models trounce the DS in resolution (yes counting both screens), processor power, and memory. And I am willing to wager quite a lot the successor to the N95 will have a touchscreen.
      • The DS web browser is terrible, IMHO. I can only imagine how they'd botch the implementation of a skype cartridge. Also, the built-in mic and speakers aren't ideally situated for a phone call, so you'd pretty much have to plug in a headset. In much the same way that cell phones make for crappy portable game machines, so would the DS make for a really crappy phone.
        • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) *
          What are you comparing the DS web browser to? If you compare it to Firefox on the desktop, I can see your problem, but if you compare it to, say, the bundled browser on the PSP (which keeps running out of RAM) or Pocket IE on any given Pocket PC (which keeps crashing) it's possibly the best mobile browser out there.
        • In much the same way that cell phones make for crappy portable game machines, so would the DS make for a really crappy phone.

          And yet your comments show exactly why this might work. There are people in the world who don't want a portable game player, but enjoy playing games on their phone because for them a phone is important, and games are a nice extra. There are other people in the world that are exactly the opposite. I use my cell so rarely that I often forget it; I never forget my DS and having the ability to make a rare phone call off of it would be cool.

  • Rise again? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:36PM (#20386863)
    To rise again, wouldn't it had to have risen once before?
  • ...the only way it will rise again is from the grave, groaning "Brrraaaaiiinnnnsss!"
  • I can't read the artical because it's NYT, but I think their talking about the N-Gage platform, which is a development platform for all system 60 phones.
    As far as I remember it was a 3d sdk based on top of the symbian os and was a closed system only available to select companies.
  • Proverb for the highly educated idjits (aka management) at Nokia:

    "Beating a dead horse a third time will not make it live once more." - me
    • by operato ( 782224 )
      idjits?? where is that derived from? it seems similar to eejit. but i don't think peeps at nokia are eejits. they know there's a market out there but they just can't pin the mofo down.
  • NGage indeed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrCopilot ( 871878 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @02:32PM (#20387791) Homepage Journal
    I've got a NGage QD sitting right here.The games I've tried tend to suck. Using it as a phone is uncomfortable to say the least.

    I'd prefer Nokia continue to work on their Tablet products. If the NGage is destined to becomes a gaming service, my only hope is it will be available for 770 and 800. []

    All in all a great idea, horribly executed. If the cost hadn't been next to nothing I would feel I wasted my money.

    HA, Article tagged Patrick Stewart..........Classic

  • I went into a game store with a friend (a non-gamer). The store guy was trying very hard to persuade us that the n-gage was amazingly good.

    His best selling point: The game goes in BEHIND THE BATTERY. That means you'll never lose a game cartridge, because there's no way to get at it without taking the thing apart, yanking the battery out, and messing around inside. MUCH better than those lame cartridge systems, where the cartridge can just sort of fall out.


    There's probably no way they can ever rec
  • But for some strange reason, all it can play is zombie-shoot-'em-ups. Weird.

  • Unfortunately, it will be the top of the landfill - and it will be there because it will be physically on top of the previous NGage attempts.

    Is it true that they buried tens of thousands of these in the desert under a layer of concrete in the 1980s, or is that just an urban legend?

    Brilliant use of resurrecting a brand, though. Other product names that could be used as part of a rebranding effort:
    - Union Carbide
    - Asbestos
    - DDT

    • "Unfortunately, it will be the top of the landfill"

      How does one dump an SDK on a landfill? Do you have to take the developer's computer with it, or do you burn it on a CD, and then dump it? Or maybe the developer manual?

      I wonder what percentage of slashdot readers never read the articles people post about before commenting on it?

      I wonder what percentage of slashdot readers never read the summary before commenting on it?

      It does look like when the article is about N-Cage, the percentage is about 80%.
      • What we have here is a failure to communicate. Jokes, man. Jokes. I know how to read.

        That being said, I advocate physically throwing Nokia in the trash, along with printouts of all the trademark registrations related to the N-Gage.

        Also, I'm sorry I messed up the hyphenation pretty bad. I hope you're not too upset.

      • by Deaney ( 1014409 )

        NGage sux0rs!!!!

        I can't believe they are bringing out another Taco!!!
    • That stuff really doesn't belong in your list. South Africa stopped using it in 1996 and the malaria cases rose in a certain province from 8000 with 20 deaths in 1996 to 42000 cases with 340 deaths in 2000. They started using it again, and the death rate is back to less than 50 per year.

      In addition to the deaths of its citizens the stint cost South Africa a pretty penny, but the currently available, affordable alternatives just are not as effective as DDT.

      About the topic at hand, I'd really like if No

  • When did it rise the first time?
  • by jadin ( 65295 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @06:10PM (#20390941) Homepage
    "..attempt to get their N-Gage brand into the minds of gamers... with soccer and fishing titles and the popular puzzle game Bejeweled, among others."

    Gamers rejoice! Finally the games we've been waiting for!
  • As the owner of an N-Gage who upgraded to a Nokia 6680 when the games dried up, I'd certainly be interested in installing the new N-gage software service thingy (or whatever it is) if it works on my current phone. The original N-Gage attempt wasn't nearly as bad as everyone makes out, it just seems to be very popular to slag off at it whenever the topic comes up.
    • Aha! Another one! Kudos to you.

      I still have one of the original N-Gage models (I got it cheap after the announcement of the QD), & I totally agree that it was nowhere near as horrible as some claim. Yes, the whole 'field strip it to change games' thing was clearly stupid, & the shape of it when using it as a phone was a bit awkward. However, back when I got mine (initially primarily just to use as a Bluetooth modem for my laptop), it was dirt cheap by S60 handset standards, & I was actually pre
  • No. It won't.
  • I owned an original N-Gage back in the days and even if it seemed to be quite fun for some to watch me talking "Taco-style" most of my friends got used to it and eventually I ended having phone which was more technically advanced than every other one. Even the real expensive business-class Nokias fell short in terms of features.

    I had an mp3-Player with lots (back then) of storage and an external speaker that functioned quite weill, a radio, games, a USB-port (!) and last but not least, a Series 60 system th
  • by Mechanik ( 104328 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @08:43AM (#20396869) Homepage
    What really needs to happen in order to make mobile gamers happy is Nintendo needs to make a version of the DS that has an integrated cell phone and a soft-keyboard on the lower screen for SMS/IM/email. Let me seamlessly drop out of a game to answer the phone or type a quick message and come back again where I left off.
  • One plus of the DS is that however much I use it I can still make calls on my phone. The main problem with my N95 (which is being used as a graphics on TFA, though this may not be Nokia supplied) is that the phone doesn't last long when multimedia items are being used. I wonder if this affects all phones with nice displays - the models may not be there to support multiplayer gaming for this reason ATM.
  • Did anyone else gravitate to this article thinking it was about really tiny model trains?

When you go out to buy, don't show your silver.