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Nokia Declares N-Gage A Failure

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-a-very-good-platform dept.

Portables (Games) 216

chrisbtoo writes "Nokia's VP of corporate strategy has admitted that the company's ill-fated N-Gage was not the success they'd hoped it would be, and they won't develop the platform further. The device sold 2 million units in 3 years, against projections of 6 million. They'll continue to build the gaming software into their Series 60 phones, but gaming won't be a priority for them until 2007." From the article: "The company launched the N-Gage in 2003 but sales have been disappointing and, according to the company's roadmap, mobile gaming will not be a focus until 2007. Nokia is concentrating on mobile music for the rest of this year, and next year's main push will be on driving mobile television."

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first post (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114344)

ngage sucks anyway. like time!

Wow (3, Funny)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114346)

NGage a failure? What a surprise *rolls eyes*

seriously though. It wouldnt have worked even if they tried. No game system is ever supposed to have a screen taller than it is wide, especially in first person shooters. no one's going to snipe you from the top. theyll all use a chainsaw on you from the side!

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114684)

No game system is ever supposed to have a screen taller than it is wide

Ah those kids today, too old to have enjoyed Tempest, Centipede, Galaga...Pac-Man...

Re:Wow (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114689)

Apart from the Gameboy! It's screen was taller than wide and that was a total failiure!

Re:Wow (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114825)

"Apart from the Gameboy! It's screen was taller than wide and that was a total failiure!"

Huh? The original Game Boy had a resolution of 160 by 144. It was NOT taller than it was wide. The DS is as close as you could get on that, and that would be a weak argument despite the its success.

Not worth the hype (5, Insightful)

unik (929502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114347)

I think the problem was a combination of bad timing and over-hype. With the PSP lurking, it just couldn't compare.

Re:Not worth the hype (4, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114385)

as a gaming system, it was pretty poor.

if it was usable as a portable gaming system, I think they would have sold the projected 6-million.

the hype was probably responsible for the 2 million sales they DID get.

Re:Not worth the hype (0)

Dehumanizer (31435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114412)

Pretty poor? Depends on what you mean.

It's more powerful than the GBA - can do decent 3D in software, while the GBA can't. The D-pad is quite decent, too.

If you mean "the games", then, sure, no contest, the GBA has many, many more games.

Re:Not worth the hype (1)

tokaok (623635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114485)

u do realize that the original ngage had u REMOVE the battery to change games, that qualifies as a pretty poor game system.

Re:Not worth the hype (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114495)

"u" do realize that there's a Y and an O in "you"?

Re:Not worth the hype (3, Interesting)

Dehumanizer (31435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114536)

Sure I do. That's why I waited for the QD. :)

I only have about 4 N-Gage games, but I also have emulators (NES, GBC, ZX Spectrum), a browser, an ebook reader, email, and some Series 60 games. And I still enjoy it, even though I also have a 6630 (much more powerful, but doesn't fit in my steering wheel, so I can't read when I drive, and doesn't have a decent D-pad like the N-Gage).

Re:Not worth the hype (4, Insightful)

unik (929502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114625)

Read while you drive? Thats incredibly scary.

Re:Not worth the hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114656)

Not just scary, but also amazingly stupid and irresponsible.

People who think they are "better" drivers then everyone else are usually the ones causing problems.

Re:Not worth the hype (1)

Dehumanizer (31435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114693)

No accidents yet. :)

Seriously, here in Portugal rush hours are terrible, so I have plenty of time to read when stopped. I don't read while I'm actually moving.

Re:Not worth the hype (2, Insightful)

gadgetbox (872707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114688)

I'm sorry, did you say "read while you drive"? What a terribly awful idea.

Am I the first to wonder... (3, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114348)

if we're experiencing a "mobile bubble" similar to the dot com?

Re:Am I the first to wonder... (1)

xoip (920266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114530)

Nope ;)

Re:Am I the first to wonder... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114558)

So "they" think. Personally, I could give a rats ass about built in camara, FM radio, MP3 player, TV, video games... I just want a phone with clear reception and the audio to not be compressed to hell. I've hear ham radio sound better.

Bubble my ass.

Re:Am I the first to wonder... (3, Insightful)

Iriel (810009) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114581)

I think it was a bubble about as big as a cell phone actually ;) Yeah, music/gaming on your phone could be neat and all, and maybe plenty of people think it's the coolest thing since sliced bread. But nokia just 'reported' that it failed: we needed them to actually tell us this? I think the N-Gage is the perfect example of what happens when you try to cram too much into a device that already needs to be a phone, which is no meager task.

Advanced technology be damned I tell you! (sarcasm here, people) but I still get plenty of dropped calls and basic connection failures. I think the size of phones sort of limits them to being good at being a phone and about one other task. With the possible exception of a PDA though, I don't think I've seen any multi-function phone that does a secondary task well enough to make someone stop using their dedicated camera/music player/game device.

Spy der Mann hit it almost squarely on the head with this. People have been stretching themselves too thin in some attempt to add widgets to your cell phone because we all love everything to be portable, and most of us already have cell phones to begin with. The only problem here is that there wasn't any lack of product, but rather the quality of the products have been crippled in many (but not all) cases by limitations of the hardware.

Re:Am I the first to wonder... (1)

xoip (920266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114629)

Any bubble in the Cell phone markt goes far failure of consumer handsets. Nokia, Siemens, Moto and others are pushing the multi feature phones to support the multi Billion dollar investment in the 3G networks they are selling to the carriers. Carriers have bought into the mobile culture games,music,TV to pay for the new networks and spectrum licenses. Not sure where this will all land.

Re:Am I the first to wonder... (1)

apflwr (930636) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114645)

No, the dot com bubble was a lot more sad, because it was about rational people throwing cash and careers at products and services that were generally ill-conceived or just vapor. That was a modern gold rush, kind of an economic and cultural temporary insanity.

The bloat we're seeing with cell phones is pretty natural for any new tech product. and it's not so much a crash as an oversaturation... As in the pool of new customers is drying up, and the existing customers don't see much need to upgrade, and anyway we're not that impressed any more. We've seen it before with computers, VCRs, DVD players, game consoles... We're probably close to seeing it with mp3 players, and in five it will be hybrid cars. It's just part of the product cycle.

Re:Am I the first to wonder... (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114717)

I've been expecting this actually for over a year. Cell phone costs have actually risen as the costs have decreased dramatically for providers. What needs to happen is that either people need to start to complain at the rediculous prices or a new entrant to the market needs to come in low priced.

A single company to come in low would kill off all pre-pay providers as well as gain all of the older folks and hold outs who won't pay $40+ for a cell phone now. That is a very large market.

Greed, as always, will cause the market to collapse... I'm just waiting for the day it tumbles. Once it is no longer "cool" and ubiquitous or a new technology comes out, I can see the bubble bursting.

On the bright side... (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114351)

They sold 2 million units more than they really should have;-)

Re:On the bright side... (1)

Jarnis (266190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114430)

Hey, it was pretty cheap and had OK features for a Series60 phone - if you ignored the games. Lots of good symbian apps made it pretty useful phone for the price - at least in countries where you don't pay for your phone by agreeing into ripoff contracts and instead actually pay the whole price of the phone (and have substantially cheaper calls as a benefit).

Now today it's getting obsolete fast, and this announcement basically spells it out - there won't be a new-but-compatible respin of N-Gage, and instead they are aiming for 2007ish to release a completely new game/phone thing, hopefully learning from today's mistakes. Probably with completely new brand and look - which is not a bad idea either.

Considering the numerous job openings at nokia for 'senior programmers' with 'experience in real time 3D graphics programming & symbian', I don't think they have quite given up yet - it's just that the next attempt will take a while to materialize. If they hope to take on PSP (or even Nintendo DS), they need to work on their idea a bit...

My prediction: gaming/video/music/3D-accelerated uberphone at an attractive price point + bunch of good titles at launch, first to be unveiled at E3 in 2007, and in shops autumn 2007. Won't beat PSP in performance, but should be closer to what the new web pad is (*that* screen would be nice for gaming) than the current N-Gage.

Hey there junior (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114353)

You were a little slow on the ball there, good luck next time :D

And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114356)

...rain is wet.

tsk tsk. (1, Offtopic)

daddyrief (910385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114358)

A cell phone should't try to do a portable console's job.

Re:tsk tsk. (1)

Dehumanizer (31435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114446)

So, you mean that if there was a new GBA, 100% compatible with the others, but also with basic cell phone functions, it would automatically suck for games - even if they played exactly like in the other GBAs?

Weird logic...

Re:tsk tsk. (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114509)

that would be a portable being a cell phone and not the other way around.

Re:tsk tsk. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114521)

The form factor is different. A GBA is the wrong shape to be a cell phone, a cell phone is the wrong shape to be a game machine. Cellphones need numpads, game systems need directional controls, a few face buttons and shoulder buttons. The buttons on most cellphones have a resistance that is completely inadequate for gaming. A GBA with added cellphone capabilities would be an awful cellphone (because numbers aren't easy to input).

Re:tsk tsk. (1)

apflwr (930636) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114674)

A GBA with added cellphone capabilities would be an awful cellphone (because numbers aren't easy to input).

They wouldn't be that hard to input on a DS touch screen.

In fact text messaging would be a lot easier if you could pull up a keyboard or use handwriting recognition.

Re:tsk tsk. (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114748)

Have the DS touchscreen, and use a handsfree type kit. I use one for my cellphone all the time anyways. As long as I have a decent holder, I'll dial, then put it in the holder for the conversation. The ability to have a larger battery/talk time is a bonus.

Re:tsk tsk. (1)

Darthmalt (775250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114701)

While you are correct about the form factor thing it wouldn't be hard to imagin a future DS with a bluetooth or even just a wired microphone/earpiece adaptor. Plus the touchscreen could easily have a numpad displayed on it.

Re:tsk tsk. (2, Interesting)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114747)

A DS, however (Touchscreen) may have an advantage here. Release one with a wireless headset and a Skype interface (WiFi, remember?) and there may be a winner.

obligatory (5, Funny)

munehiro (63206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114363)

The best innovation in human usability

http://www.sidetalkin.com/ [sidetalkin.com]

i guess it's not completely unrelated to the bad results of this cellphone

Re:obligatory (1)

maeddi (184281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114562)

shitty site, but the Sidetalkin Gallery [sidetalkin.com] is great!

Takes Guts (3, Interesting)

prichardson (603676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114365)

I think it shows a lot that they were able to do that. In a corporate environment mistakes are simply not allowed, and so lots of failures get beat to death repeatedly, costing the company a lot of money in development and a lot of consumer credibility. To be able to admit that their product was a mistake and move on will do them a lot of good in the long term, even if they suffer in the market a little.

So Late! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114370)

I declared it a failure back in 2003! Why did it take a big company like Nokia so long to figure out what I was able to surmise immediately?

Re:So Late! (1, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114788)

"I declared it a failure back in 2003! Why did it take a big company like Nokia so long to figure out what I was able to surmise immediately?"

Because, Nostradamus, you didn't know you were right until it played out.

Look, I realize that the N-Gage had several devastating flaws. But you're talking about a segment of the market who aren't necessarily hard-core gamers. It was cheap, it was a cell phone, and it had better games than you can typically get on a cell phone. Heck, I almost bought one to replace my crapp-ass Motorola. Never got around to it, but it actually did have some appeal.

I'm not the least bit surprised they tried to stay the course on it and waited a year after they built the new version of it before declaring failure.

Nokia (4, Interesting)

RichiP (18379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114376)

Nokia's problem is that they keep developing stuff in-house without seeming to gather feedback or comments from their market. They really should just host a site where users can post feature requests or comments for their next products. I've seen the N-Gage and while I think it's possible to come up with a gaming platform/cellphone, they didn't do it well.

Re:Nokia (1)

xoip (920266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114560)

Nokia has a fairly substantial development community [nokia.com] Trouble is...end users don't have exposure to it. It is mainly targeted at carriers who want to sell the apps. without much enduser input

Re:Nokia (1)

hkroger (666340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114681)

That is naive. Of course they gather feedback from their market. If it happens to be invisible to you, it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. They just took risk this time and it didn't work out so well.

Re:Nokia (3, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114690)

You're right about that, but the other biggest problem is that some developers spend too much time listening to the random, unfocused rantings of the general public, and end up trying to make devices which are soft and cuddly but with lots of firepower, telescopes, microscopes, and periscopes that never stop dancing.

The only way to win is to walk a middle path between having a coherent vision for the product and having an idea of what your customers want.

To pull examples from the movies, "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" and "Gigli" were examples of films created entirely from the top down without any concern for what the viewers wanted while "Catwoman" and "Showgirls" spent so much time giving the audience what they thought they wanted that there wasn't much room for anything but sucking.

The biggest problem is that while a room full of engineers and a table covered with marketing reports is no substitute for one brilliant designer, that doesn't mean that the one brilliant designer can't use a little guidance in what people want.

Re:Nokia (1)

zambotsu (607783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114798)

Nokia's problem is that they keep developing stuff in-house without seeming to gather feedback or comments from their market.

I think that they do listen to their market. I've been looking for a new cellphone which is smallish, comes with a calendar but without a camera, thank you very much. And there's no such thing, because whenever I go to a reseller I hear that the customers in front of me want a cellphone with atleast a megapixel camera.

Doesn't anybody want their cellphones with usefull features anymore, more towards PDA's instead of digital cameras. I guess "the market" is more interested in sneaking shots of teenage girls asses than having a phone with WLAN. Personally I blame the 3G hype, "show the birth of your baby boy in realtime to all your friends!" .. and because of that, we now have an armsrace of megapixel cameras in cellphones. The market bought it, and now the manufacturers have to ride it out in the expense of more usefull features.

Good thing I noticed Nokia E60 before I gave in and bought their 6680 model. Once released, the Nokia E60 is going to be a step towards the right direction, at least for me.

It sucks (2, Interesting)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114379)

Not surprising : cell phone games suck. I downloaded packages on P2P with hundreds of Java games for my Nokia 3200, and hardly can find any that's good, they all use tired concepts, they just plainly lack interest. A few years ago it was said that cell phone games would soon be as good GameBoy games, but that's bullshit, none of all the java games I tried is as good as some old arcade gamles from the mid 70's that i play with MAME, you'll have much more fun playing Arkanoid or Space Wars than playing Tomb Raider on your cell phone or Splinter Cell Those cell phone games are a joke

Re:It sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114399)

There we're no arcade video games in the mid 70's. Ever hear of Pinball?

Re:It sucks (1)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114447)

You're surely aware that the N-Gage was/is a Series60 phone? Running a Symbian OS? With applications and games written in C++ instead of Java? That's not to say the games wouldn't suck, but Series60 as a platform offers more features than J2ME.

Re:It sucks (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114468)

oh, ok then, i didn't say anything :-/

Re:It sucks (1)

Dehumanizer (31435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114484)

The N-Gage doesn't play basic 64k Java games like the Series 40 phones do, you know. Its hardware is more powerful than the GBA.

I still think that if they had skipped the sidetalking version and just released the QD as the first N-Gage, even if it delayed them a couple of months, and if they had marketed it better... oh, and had not allowed the Tomb Raider port to be ruined by an incredibly stupid control scheme...

Oh well.

Anybody could have said, (1)

atomico (162710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114393)

it was not going to be a success, after having seen what I once saw:

A poor devil speaking through one of those.

He had to hold it sideways! (long edge of the phone facing his ear).

Nokia Declares Mobile Television A Failure (5, Funny)

awch (134042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114396)

Nokia is concentrating on mobile music for the rest of this year, and next year's main push will be on driving mobile television."
...to be followed by the 2007 Slashdot article titled, "Nokia Declares Mobile Television A Failure."

Re:Nokia Declares Mobile Television A Failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114514)

"Nokia Declares Mobile Television A Failure"

Great, now when Slashdot runs the story in 2007, someone is going to scream DUPE and point to your post.

And in related news.... (0, Troll)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114398)

The world is round.

Thanks Nokia, for stating what is already obvious to everybody.

Nokia 770 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114400)

And it looks like they haven't learned from it given the way the product launch for the Linux based Nokia 770 Internet tablet is going.

Supposedly on sale in Early November the date of shipping has now been put back to sometime in January. Nokia are however still taking orders (and not filling any). No official work has come from them apart from the constant date changes on their web site and conflicting stories from the call center staff.

Discussions about this are available here: http://www.internettablettalk.com/ [internettablettalk.com]

Re:Nokia 770 (1)

Jarnis (266190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114756)

It's available in Europe. I think it's so popular over here, that they are not bothering to ship any over to US just yet...

who wants tv on their phone? seriously? (5, Interesting)

dcstimm (556797) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114401)

Not only does the quality suck, it uses your call time and its will drain your battery like no other.

Plus I am getting so tired of the commericals for video on the phone that splice High quality video on the screen of the phone so it doesnt look like shit.

Nokia, I could have told you the N-gage would have been a flop the second you released it.

People seem to think if something has good marketing then it will be popular. Not true at all!

Re:who wants tv on their phone? seriously? (4, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114548)

hey hey hey there they have a 2px caption at the bottom that clearly states "simulated screen only" what more do you want from their advertisement? upfront honestly? Yeah next you'll want products engineered with the customer in mind!!!

Stupid hippies...

Personally I don't see the appeal of it. Not like you can really watch TV while walking around downtown ... and expect to survive. On the bus/train it's too noisy [and honestly you don't always get a seat] and on airplanes they tell you to shut it off cuz it could "send the plane up the bomb!"

Well that and watching TV on a 1" screen is just pathetic. At least airplanes have 5" [or so] screens in the back of the head rest thingy...

Tom

Re:who wants tv on their phone? seriously? (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114707)

Personally I don't see the appeal of it. Not like you can really watch TV while walking around downtown ... and expect to survive. On the bus/train it's too noisy [and honestly you don't always get a seat] and on airplanes they tell you to shut it off cuz it could "send the plane up the bomb!"

I heard they have invented headphones quite a long time ago...

Re:who wants tv on their phone? seriously? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114769)

Ok, I have a decent pair of headphones [40mm driver, 20-20Khz response, etc] and even with all that because of masking you don't really get a nice picture of the spectrum on say a loud train or plane. A nice TGV is quiet enough for it to be ok though :-)

But even with super duper headphones if you have 30-50dB masking accross the spectrum it won't matter. You'll get a few bits of resolution and that's about it.

That said though, while walking down the street it's probably best that you're not watching [continously] a 1" screen. I don't know where you live but walking around downtown Toronto is not something you do with a distraction like that.

Tom

Re:who wants tv on their phone? seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114648)

"People seem to think if something has good marketing then it will be popular. Not true at all!"

Clearly you dont follow the music industry much

O rly? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114403)

NO WAI!!!!!

N-Gage failed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114406)

The response from Captain Picard:
There are 4 lights!

Engage Dammit!

Frustrating (5, Interesting)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114408)

At the time the NGage came out I was doing mobile development (cell phone music downloads). We begged Nokia to build a decent music phone. All we wanted was 16 bit 44KHz stereo audio and room for an SD/MMC card -- nothing exotic. All of their phones, even the Symbian "open OS" phones, were handicapped with mono 16KHz audio which basically stinks for music. Actually, some had 8KHz mono.

When I first saw the NGage I couldn't contain my laughter ... and to hear high level officials of Nokia pronounce that they "would own the portable gaming space" was beyond funny. Any game machine you have to shut off and take apart to change games was not designed by people with a clue. Anyhow, I couldn't help but notice that *NOW* they are going to concentrate on music phones. Unfortunately for them, that horse has already left the barn. They had a golden opportunity, but blew it.

Re:Frustrating (1)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114695)

*NOW* they are going to concentrate on music phones. Unfortunately for them, that horse has already left the barn.

And look how well Motorola did with the ROKR. Let's hope that Nokia's smart enough to keep an eye on that product before rolling out their own clone-of-failure.

So... (1)

Mancat (831487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114416)

They'll continue to build the gaming software into their Series 60 phones, but gaming won't be a priority for them until 2007.

So, they plan to fail in 2007 as well?

Re:So... (1)

TheLoneDanger (611268) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114672)

No, they plan to start failing again in 2007. It'll be another 4 years (and millions of dollars) or so before they admit to having failed again.

Cheap Symbian (4, Insightful)

donutface (847957) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114421)

I have an ngage, and I love it. Granted the games are shocking, but its the cheapest Symbian phone on the market, and a very good one at that. Cheapest colour bluetooth nokia too when I bought mine. Might be a failure for games, but its still a hell of a good and cheap symbian phone!

Casual games (0, Offtopic)

core (3330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114423)

I wish they had made it easy for casual games developers like us to port or develop titles. Instead they had to behave like they were Sony and have us sign our life away before we even could evaluate the potential. Oh well. At least the xbox 360 is getting that part right.

Best regards,
Emmanuel

--
Fairies: new hit puzzle game from the makers of Atlantis
http://www.funpause.com/ [funpause.com]

Good idea, badly implemented (2, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114425)

Also probably a couple of years too early, given the non-gaming-specific hardware that mobile phones use. The fun that is playing a game on an old Gameboy, never mind a Gameboy advance or DS, is down to the hardware that makes it possible - the tiled graphics modes on the old Gameboy meant faster games, for example, than the ol' 4MHz Z80 could do on its own.

If the nGage had come with, say, 10-20 games built-in, where each game was an implementation of a classic game - space invaders, arkanoid, asteroids, pacman, tetris/columns, then many more people would have bought them. Even if these games had been £1.99 ($2.99) options to download from Nokia it would have been more tempting.

As it is, I have a gameboy emulator on my Motorola A1000, and whilst it garbles the audio it is still reasonably playable. All I need to do is get some Zelda games on it, and I'm good to go for months. I imagine I can get C64, Spectrum and CPC emulators for it as well - Uridium, Netherworld, New Zealand Story here I come (when I find the emulators anyway!).

I hope this makes people pause... (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114438)

I hope this makes people pause and reconsider the cell phone game thingies a bit, and other people who are cramming together widget functionality and saying "oh, by the way, you can play games with this thing too." (I'm looking at you, PSP.) I mean, if Nokia, being a really big company with supposedly smart people in it, couldn't do it right... what really went wrong?

I say there's a lot to be learned from Nokia's success with N-Gage (or lack of thereof).

Mobile music (1)

Crouty (912387) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114450)

Nokia is concentrating on mobile music for the rest of this year
Yeah right! When I looked for a phone that could play MP3s a year ago, only one of the dozends of models from Nokia was able to do it in stereo. By conincidence it was the N-Gage classic, which is almost unusable as a phone (short standby times and silly sidetalking).

Seeing how badly they made it... (1)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114461)

... no wonder it was a failure (I am talking about the first generation n-gage here). As far as I know, you had to turn the thing off to change the games, and the thing must have come with a 170 page manual just to change it. Plus, you looked like you had been a victim of a frisbee accident. Gee, I love to see a house built by the n-gage engineers. It would probably contain a kitchen and a living room seperated by a two door bathroom or something like that. :)

Re:Seeing how badly they made it... (1)

Vapebait (728259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114662)

As far as I know, you had to turn the thing off to change the games
...you broke your gameboy pretty quickly then?

In other news..... (1)

Rixel (131146) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114465)

The Neo Geo puts it's hands up in a pathetic "me too!" gesture.

The Dreamcast was ignoring the whole thing, of course.

Re:In other news..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114622)

The Neo Geo puts it's hands up in a pathetic "me too!" gesture.

Right, except that the NEO had tons of awesome arcade games. The N-Gage had a couple of ok games and tons of shit.

And yes, I own a QD. I also own like 25 games now that they're getting clearenced at EB and GameStop. w00t! ~ ^_^ ~

A complete and utter waste of time (5, Interesting)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114489)

With every not-so-great (in my opinion, anyway) gadget, there is always that sliver lining. That one thing that makes you go "At least they tried...it's not so bad, really".

I never had that moment with the N-Gage. Every single aspect of its design seemed to be engineered to piss off the end user and make them throw it across the room in an unspeakable rage.

The screen's aspect ratio was 180 degrees off, the device had to be disassembled to change games, it tried to be the Swiss Army Knife of phones and failed miserably at it...the brutally awful sidetalking "feature" along with the painfully awkward keypad made it something that not even the overpowering hype could render a somewhat decent product in the minds of potential customers.

Most people I encountered wouldn't even use one if they got it for free. Until the PSP came out, there was nothing for gamers who found that the GBA/DS did not offer the kind of game library they were after. They blew a perfect chance, and no amount of hardware revising could correct the fatally undermined confidence that the public had in the entire platform.

Re:A complete and utter waste of time (0)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114587)

The screen's aspect ratio was 180 degrees off, the device had to be disassembled to change games, it tried to be the Swiss Army Knife of phones and failed miserably at it...

It came off to me as a cheap knock-off of Swiss Army knives. Every try one of those? A good Swiss Army knife is a jack of all trades, master of none. You have specialized tool that are master of one. A cheap knock-off of those are jack of one, master of none but you accept it because it's cheap. But the cheap knock-off of a Swiss Army knife... jack of none, master of none. There's nothing worse than being able to do lots of things and utterly suck at all of them.

Nokia Admitted Defeat?! (1)

Firaga01 (875321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114496)

There IS a God!

Biggest problem with NGage.. (1)

l4m3z0r (799504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114549)

is when you look at it you are wondering ok is this a phone thats also a game system or a game system thats also a phone? cell phone companies have failed to recognize that consumers don't want multipurpose devices. They want individual devices that do one thing really really well. Thats why the ROKR is crap and the iPod is boss. Thats why the NGage is crap and the PSP(or Nintendo DS) is king.

Re:Biggest problem with NGage.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114768)

I disagree slightly.

I think people would LOVE a multi-purpose device that does each of it's multi-purpose things really well.

I think the big problem is that the companies try to cram CRAP into their devices.

Huge example: Camera phones. Who wants the ability to take a bad postage stamp sized pixely photo of something (as long as the light is perfect)? Nobody I know. But, if that camera could take *good* photos, then we're looking at a product. (*)

BUT, the companies shoved the crappy camera phones at us such that pretty much all the good phones had them. If you were buying a higher-end phone, you had to take the camera with it. (mostly)

(*)(Does a phone need a camera? Well, no. But cynically, it's primarily purpose was to have people use expensive bandwidth to send the photos to each other, not to take pictures. This was brought into sharp focus by those phones that wouldn't even LET you download your precious images to your PC. But I digress.)

RANT: Less art, more function. Phones *can* look good, but they *must* work well. Each person who buys a phone because it looks good, but is disappointed because the keyboard was impossible to use (Nokia!), will strongly consider a new brand of phone the next time. On the other hand, if you provide a really functional device (strong interface, good quality) people will keep buying again and again.

The Treo 650 is a good example of well done convergence, IMHO. Very usable. My first Nokia (many years ago) was a great phone - all function, no flash. I had it for years. Bring back the function, the usability, the *quality*, and people will return. It can even look good.

      --- Doug

Oh well.. (1)

EiZei (848645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114555)

They were quite shitty gaming consoles but more than adequate series 60 smartphones for the price.

And for chrissakes, before you start posting any sidetalking-jokes try to remember that those models havent been made for ages now.

Re:Oh well.. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114682)

They were quite shitty gaming consoles but more than adequate series 60 smartphones for the price.

And they probably sold better than similarly designed adequate-to-decent phones would have... for the price. But is a decent but unconventional phone going to sell the 6 million units Nokia was looking for? How well would something designed to be a good phone first, with the same gaming capabilities, have sold?

Hahaha!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114561)

pheel the phailure. dis-n-gage, biatches!!

too bad i beat them too it..... (1)

ndruw1 (921682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114564)

i declared it a failure before it came out

eat it, nokia

i win

The sad thing (2, Funny)

Kortec (449574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114569)

The really depressing part about this headline is that it probably took eight or nine senior market analysts a full quarter's worth of work to figure this out, and all they had to do was Ask Slashdot (tm). Ah well; guess they have to make their Christmas bonuses somehow.

HO Gauge is clearly superior. (5, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114574)

Much more pulling power, anyway, and the little fake trees scale better.

Bad Design and the reality of facing Nintendo (1)

Solr_Flare (844465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114575)

You really do have to admit, when it comes to the portable gaming market, Nintendo is king and will do anything it takes to protect their market space. Now, yes, the PSP has made *some* headway against big N. But, when you look at the sophistication of the PSP's hardware combined with the Sony name, it just shows how strong Nintendo's hand is when Sony only has captured a small portion of the market.

Nokia also made the mistake of not understanding that if people are buying a machine for portable gaming, the games need to be first, and all other functions secondary. Sony has made a similar mistake with their PSP, but to a much lesser extent, still the numbers reflect this gaming first trend.

To be honest, I think the "big convergence" of phones and gaming units is going to come first *from* Nintendo or Sony, perhaps partnered with a mobile phone company, rather than by the phone company itself. With their already existing Wi-Fi features, and the touch screen and mic capabilities of the Nintendo DS, it doesn't take a huge stretch of the imagination to see phone features coming in future generations. Or, at least, VOIP.

Re:Bad Design and the reality of facing Nintendo (1)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114730)

I have to agree. First, no-one is going to buy a portable system from a no-name in the business. And unless you are nintendo, you are STILL going to have to put a LOT of money into it. Second, nintendo is simply better suited for the area. The screens are smaller, the buttons are less, and the graphics will always simply be worse. Portable game systems live and die on their gameplay. And nintendo is the only console developer who's games live and die on their playability rather than their graphics or realism. (Not to say developers such as Squarsoft don't make games that do as much.) A phone company will basically have to enlist a company, most likely nintendo, to develop the hardware, co-develop the OS, and develop the games. And the phone capability will likely have to take a back seat. My guess is it will need to have bluetooth and a bluetooth headset to avoid shoe-horning a game system into a phone form factor or holding something painfully aquard to your head.

Mobile TV (4, Interesting)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114593)

Before any of you dismiss it with a "who wants to watch TV on their phone", you should give it a try at your local mobile phone reseller, you will be surprised. I purchased a Nokia 6630 [nokia.co.uk] and you should've seen the jaws of my co-workers when I showed them the latest TV news being streamed to my phone over a 3G connection. The 6630 can play fullscreen 16:9 video and has 16 bit 44Hz stereo sound. On a related note, the was recently a poll in Finland (which is where I live), asking people if they would be interested in watching TV on their phone. Slightly [b]over 60%[/b] answered YES.

Re:Mobile TV (1)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114714)

I use ffmpeg to transcode episodes of TV shows for my phone (Nokia 7610). They run about 30M per episode, and are surprisingly watchable. The only thing I wished is that I had the Nokia stereo headphones (even though the 7610 only does mono it still outputs to both ears) if only so that I wouldn't have to have one ear open. It helps a lot to kill the four hours between classes I have on Tuesday and Thursday. Having a 512M RS-MMC card comes in handy.

Even if I transcode them at 35kbps (video + audio) they are OK to watch. You can stream that over standard GPRS. At 96kbps they get pretty high quality (keep in mind this is QCIF so the video is really low res, but the screen is too so you don't notice). That can be streamed over EDGE fine.

Re:Mobile TV (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114738)

I have a 6630, and it came with a movie on a micro-botched-fako-SD card. If you think normal people can sit through a whole movie in 208x164 pixels, you need your brain tested.

Its quite a good phone, and has some handy features. The camera is good too.

but needs to have some kind of illumination, It makes a really good case for a 320x240 screen. Infrared would be nice too (so you can run a program to make it do remote to the TV).

Focus (1, Redundant)

g0at (135364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114600)

While the "N-Gage" was a hilarious farce unto itself, I find it similarly amusing that Nokia will now be "concentrating on mobile music for the rest of the year."

I have an idea: how about concentrating on making a decent phone? You know, one with practical and ergonomic telephony features?

-b

I love my Ngage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14114614)

I have the original Ngage (Not the QD) It does FM, SD card support, full stereo mp3 playing (hardware playback, not software like the QD) The games are relatively fun, i can monitor people's bluetooth with it, and i could at one time play over my cell phone connection against other people (haven't tried that in a long time). I think what made it fail was the entry price point of 300 dollars. Just way too much for its market..

Maybe it's because i got my Ngage for 100 dollars with 6 games, but i don't think it's that much of a failure, just could have been better.

Why not team with Nintendo? (1)

NigelJohnstone (242811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114618)

So why not team with Nintendo and make their phones play Ninento games?

Two years too late... (1)

ApuD2 (929032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114620)

It took them a while, but Nokia finally acknowledges what most of the gaming public already knew. Seriously, when you have good-to-great handheld systems like the DS, the GBA, and the PSP out, what room is there for a mediocre system like the N-Gage? Heck, even if those three weren't out at this point, I don't think Nokia's handheld taco would have survived.

WHAT? (0, Offtopic)

ankit_shankar (927386) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114636)

But I love tacos!

nokia 770 limux based pda (2, Interesting)

ericcantona (858624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114640)

hmm, wonder if their new 770 [nokia.com] linux based [maemo.org] tablet will suffer the same fate?
It was finally released in europe & US last week and there has been a rush. New stock due in next week

Rifts (1)

BrockH01 (914945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114692)

A shame, though. I was looking forward to the Rifts game. I don't own an N-Gage, but if the Rifts game became popular I might have purchased one. Without continued support for the platform I doubt I will invest, though. Rifts URL: http://www.n-gage.com/rifts-promiseofpower/ [n-gage.com]

The N-Gage: A gaming device loathed by gamers (5, Interesting)

Andrew Lenahan (912846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114744)

A full analysis of "what went wrong" with the N-Gage could easily fill a book, and perhaps it will someday. There were certainly design issues aplenty, especially with the original device.

But more than anything, I think Nokia's major mistake was lack of understanding, perhaps not lack of understanding of gaming as a market or a business or a segment or consumer base, but of actual gamers themselves. I'm sure they must have done some sort of market research, but it apparently was focused more on cel-phone fans and mobile-gadgeteers ("What cool features would you like in a phone?") than on gamers ("what makes a good mobile gaming experience?").

They did market to gamers, or at least a merketing-executive's vision of what a gamer might be like, but it seemed woefully misdirected: one early print ad featured a 1993-style gen-x grunge rocker dude, playing his N-Gage in a totally X-treme manner while atop a skateboard.

The launch titles included some of the hottest game licenses... of the original Playstation of the mid 1990s. Tomb Raider, probably the one game most closely associated with the N-Gage, hadn't been a hot property for years before her N-Gage debut. Once again, the N-Gage seemed drastically out of touch.

The result? At launch, the N-Gage was already (among gamers at least) not much more than a punchline. A Penny Arcade strip from around the launch parodied the launch event at a local game store (nobody came except two employees) and online forums were merciless in blasting the device. It's now three years later, the design has been vastly improved and a few decent games have trickled out, but the N-Gage has never really been more than the butt of jokes. Those who do own one tend to get defencive about it, (it's not my fault, my gran bought it by mistake, etc.) as though having N-Gage is like having some horrible disease. It's been struggling since it came out, and the competition has only increased, with the DS and PSP now vying for more of the marketplace.

But the industry rarely seems to learn its own lessons, no matter how hard they come. Tapwave's Zodiac is already dead, and the Gizmondo seems near certain to follow. How many more millions need to be wasted before someone gets it: before you release a gaming device, understand gamers!

Mmmmm... Taco (1)

dentrecords (924128) | more than 8 years ago | (#14114757)

As an ex Nokia employee, I had the opportunity to purchase one of the first revisions of the Ngage at a low price. While I can say that the screen was awesome for regular cell phone use, it was simply too small for gaming, and an awkward shape. The physical design just plain sucked. The games were OK at best, and the whole Taco talking position was so reviled that when they updated the Ngage to the QD model, they listed "Classic Talking" as a new feature. Unfortunately, the device was just doomed to be a failure from the onset. Too costly, too small a screen, and mediocre games. Thank goodness I was able to recoup the cost entirely by selling on ebay. I'm more than happy with my 6820 all in all.
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