OK, so the N-Gage was a flop (the biggest thing I remember about the Sydney launch was that is was held in a disused power station I passed every day on my way to work — I always wondered what it was like inside)… but Nokia is commited to the N-Gage, or at least to being a major player in mobile games. It’s busy extending the N-Gage Arena funcionality to a wider range of smartphones:
“Through Play, you’ll be able to access all of the functionality presently associated with Nokia’s mobile multiplayer service, N-Gage Arena, as well as purchase and download new games and demos. In essence, Play sounds like it will be a downloadable N-Gage dashboard with some kind of emulator or enabler included. Sauter told me that the hard launch–with full carrier support, and, presumably, a fresh marketing initiative–will come midway through next year, but that some of the new platform’s features will be available before then.”
Despite that move to put the service on non-specialized phones Nokia still plans to release “game optimized devices” that have landscape-oriented screens, game controls and ATI hardware video acceleration. “Sauter confirmed that this will mean the bifurcation of the platform between accelerated and non-accelerated games, at least temporarily.”
Nokia sees a lot of promise in high-end devices because owners of those phones spend more money on games — “the company’s data indicates that Series 60 device owners purchase five times more mobile games than other users; Nokia’s gaming content will be priced at a “premium” level as well, which has excited Nokia’s publishing and carrier partners”.