View Full Version : N-Gage's Reinforcements Arrive


Tzer2
25-02-2009, 09:53 PM
2007 saw the N-Gage platform announced, 2008 saw it actually launch, but 2009 looks like being the year when N-Gage will actually make its way into a significant number of people's pockets. If you want to know why, see below.

Read on in the full article (http://www.allaboutngage.com/news/item/9042_N-Gages_Reinforcements_Arrive.php).

ngreatshark
26-02-2009, 12:31 AM
That's great news, and I like the strategy of N-gage installed day 1 with demos included, that's guaranteed exsposure as most people will try their installed cell games at least once, given the quality and variety of games, most people will be bound to find somthing they like.

My only concerns is exactly where Nokia is directing it's fleet? I've been a loyal N-gager for 4 years here in the U.S. and I've been waiting patiently with since the announcement of the Platform for something to come down the pike so I can get on board, but there seems to be next to no support for N-gage here in the states. Nokia does advertising, but I've seen nothing in regards to N-gage, I saw one magazine do a brief newsbit about Reset Generation. But as it stands now I don't know where or even if the N-gage platform service is available. (none of the devices I've seen so far are even offered by AT&T), I don't know if there is something I'm missing over at the N-gage showrooms.

I've been spoiled by they original N-gage, gaming is something that I consider a very important feature for my mobile device, and I want to be apart of the next generation. Maybe with things not panning out the first go round, Nokia is holding off pushing N-gage here for fear of more scrutiny.

Tzer2
26-02-2009, 01:13 AM
My only concerns is exactly where Nokia is directing it's fleet? I've been a loyal N-gager for 4 years here in the U.S. and I've been waiting patiently with since the announcement of the Platform for something to come down the pike so I can get on board, but there seems to be next to no support for N-gage here in the states

Well, first of all NO ONE has had next gen N-Gage for very long. It was delayed time after time after time since its initial announcement way back in 2005, it didn't actually launch anywhere until 2008, everyone had to wait. The first app version was made available in Spring of 2008, with the first phones to have it built in only appearing late last year. A lot of people are only just seeing compatible devices appearing in the shops now, it's still very much in its infancy.

Regarding the US though, the problem is the low sales of Nokia phones in America. It's by far their worst-selling territory. Literally everywhere else in the world Nokia have had very healthy sales and growth, which is why they're the world's biggest phone maker, but for various reasons the US sales of Nokia phones remain stubbornly low. The problem is made even worse by US networks trying to restrict the choice of handsets offered to consumers. European phone shops have a much wider range of models from all manufacturers, whereas US consumers are restricted to just a fraction of the models available.

Interestingly many US software platforms such as Palm and Windows Mobile have exactly the opposite problem to Nokia: high sales in the US but disappointing sales elsewhere. Even Apple's iPhone has seen an enormous difference between American sales and non-American sales. I suspect there's some massive gulf between what US and non-US phone users want, which is dividing the mobile world into two.

Many have made the point that US smartphone users want a computer first and a phone second, while European and Asian smartphone users want a phone first and a computer second. That's certainly how Nokia's touchscreen 5800 seems to me, they've made it narrow enough to operate with one hand which is a phone-centric thing to do, whereas US smartphones tend to have wider screens that require two hands to operate.

(One interesting footnote: Nokia's computer-like internet tablet series (770, N800, N810) has had virtually no sales in Europe or Asia, but has a cult following in America. It's the only Nokia product that isn't a phone, and it's the only Nokia product that sells better in the US than outside, which sort of confirms that Americans tend to be more computer-centric than phone-centric.)


Nokia does advertising, but I've seen nothing in regards to N-gage

Well, this generation there's not much point in advertising N-Gage because it's not the selling point of the devices that support it.

The idea is that the phones sell well as phones, and then N-Gage gets into people's pockets that way like a sort of trojan horse. It's meant to become like stereo sound on television sets, or Flash support on web browsers, something that isn't advertised in itself but which lots of people use because of its ubiquity.


(none of the devices I've seen so far are even offered by AT&T)

You do realise you don't have to buy a phone from a phone network operator?

Phones are available unlocked, and because they're unlocked you can sell them on when you want to upgrade to a new model. It also means you can switch networks more easily, and use foreign SIM cards when travelling overseas to avoid roaming charges.

Nokia USA has its own shop selling unlocked phones ( http://www.nokiausa.com/buy-online ) and Dell USA also sells unlocked Nokia models including N-Gage-compatible ones:

http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/category.aspx?c=us&category_id=6941&ck=anav&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&~ck=anav&nf=63866~0~1195874&navla=63866~0~1195874

car_guy143
26-02-2009, 09:38 PM
It seems strage to me that Nokia have only just decided to install the N-Gage platform on new phones, why didn't they do it from day one? Like previous comments said, a large number of potential N-Gage users wouldn't know about N-Gage or where to find it if it weren't for the fact it's pre installed. I, for one, wouldn't have bought a phone just for it's GAMING capabilities, i buy it for it's MOBILE capabilities as do a large number of mobile users.

I would have never known about N-Gage still being alive and well if it wasn't for the fact it came pre installed on my N85. I have to say i have since had a go on the games and done some reading up. The quality of games is pretty impressive for a mobile platform, too. I just hope that more and more games become available for the N-Gage line up. I think the major backing from some of the big names in the gaming industry, combined with the phones shipping with N-Gage pre-installed has definately helped secure the future or N-Gage even if Nokia don't sell well in the US. Well done Nokia.

Tzer2
27-02-2009, 06:06 PM
It seems strage to me that Nokia have only just decided to install the N-Gage platform on new phones, why didn't they do it from day one?

They were going to, their CEO personally announced in front of a large crowd in London that N-Gage would be in the N81 when it launched in late 2007, with other devices to follow after that.

But for some reason it just didn't happen, probably a last minute technical hitch, possibly to do with DRM. First they delayed it from November to December, then Jan 2008, then the beta appeared in February, then the "launch" in April 2008, but the actual preinstalled phones didn't appear until the end of 2008. Massive delay, pretty damaging really, no idea why they allowed it to happen like that.

However, they do now seem to be getting into the swing of it, let's hope N-Gage is locked into their feature set from now on. What would be very interesting is to see it built into ultracheap smartphones which may appear in the near future, as they would be aimed at the same kind of people who currently purchase Java games.


I would have never known about N-Gage still being alive and well if it wasn't for the fact it came pre installed on my N85

Yup, exactly. A lot of people still think it's that gaming phone from 2003, most people don't know about it being reborn as a platform. Personally I think they should have used a different name, maybe "Nokia Games" or "Ovi Games" or something like that, because the N-Gage brand itself doesn't have a great reputation.

N-Gage's success depends entirely on being preinstalled, so that it can take advantage of Nokia's large general userbase.

There was a survey done by Nokia published last year which showed that people with N-Gage-compatible phones are far more likely to buy N-Gage games if it's preinstalled on their phone, very few bothered to install the app themselves. That backs up the idea that most people are discovering N-Gage purely because of the icon being there when they buy the phone.


I think the major backing from some of the big names in the gaming industry, combined with the phones shipping with N-Gage pre-installed has definately helped secure the future or N-Gage even if Nokia don't sell well in the US. Well done Nokia.

Well, it all depends on how Nokia's smartphones sell from here on in.

There are quite a number of unknowns here, such as the economic climate (which will probably drive people towards simpler cheaper phones, or away from phones altogether) and also the touchscreen world.

The 5800 seems to be doing fairly well, but it isn't N-gage-compatible. The N97 will be the first N-Gage-compatible touchscreen phone, and that may give us an idea of what N-Gage's future will be.

car_guy143
28-02-2009, 07:34 PM
Ah thanks for the insight into N-Gage. My previous Nokia phone before my N85 was back in 2004/5 so not really kept upto date on the happenings with Nokia.

I have noticed some networks are having a massive advertising campaign to try and raise awareness and sell the Nokia smartphone. Orange, for example had a 2.5 page advert for the Nokia N85 in at least two of the major national newspapers. The advert was mainly highlighting the gaming capabilities of the N85 and the fact it comes with N-Gage.

I personally think that the current economic climate will hit the sales of high spec prepay mobiles more than the contract mobiles mainly due to price. More and more networks are now offering a larger choice of phone on lower monthly contracts to try and keep hold of customers who would find a decent prepay phone a little too expensive.

Tzer2
28-02-2009, 10:27 PM
I personally think that the current economic climate will hit the sales of high spec prepay mobiles more than the contract mobiles mainly due to price. More and more networks are now offering a larger choice of phone on lower monthly contracts to try and keep hold of customers who would find a decent prepay phone a little too expensive.

Well... it's impossible to be sure what will happen as this recession keeps entering uncharted territory with every headline! :-)

Here are my guesses regarding contract phones:

Expensive phones have the highest monthly contract fees, cheaper phones have the lowest, so even contract customers may start going for cheaper models to save money.

Even if you buy on contract, you still have to pay the full cost of the phone through your monthly payments. No "free" phone is ever actually free, and any upfront price on a contract is merely the first installment of a long term payment plan.

There's also the question of credit checks. When you get a phone on contract you're buying it on credit, then paying in installments, which means (in Europe at least) you have to pass a credit check to get a contract. If there's a recession on then more people will fail credit checks, so they won't be able to get contract phones.