Act fast, N-Gage users. You only have until September 2010 to snap up games for the platform, as Nokia Oyj is putting the oft-ridiculed mobile platform turned mobile games service down for good.
Tagged With n-gage
Ah, N-Gage. Such a...tarnished brand. You'd think after two failed N-Gage handsets and a "who cares?" launch of an N-Gage gaming portal, Nokia would just give up. But they're not.
Sturgeon's Law states that "Ninety percent of everything is crap". I don't think I am being too controversial by suggesting that if Theodore Sturgeon had ever encountered mobile phone games he would have revised upwards.
The ZeeMote JS1 is a nunchuk-like Bluetooth analogue controller that we first covered back in October last year.
It was a nice idea, hampered slightly by the fact that games had to be rewritten to add support for the thing. Now Nokia has decided to embrace the ZeeMote by releasing downloadable software to let the controller work with almost any S60 app or N-Gage game.
The ZeeKey app is available for free download from the Nokia website and the mobile manufacturer has promised to bundle the app with selected handsets (presumably its more entertainment focused N-Series models).
PocketGamer got a look at a new accelerometer-based mobile racing game from Firemint.
As you can see from the video, Real Racing runs on the iPhone — and certainly confirms our hopes for that platform's gaming prowess — but Firemint also have it up and running on a Nokia N95 (all the recent N-series phones have motion sensors built in).
Multiplayer races can take place over a wifi link, and your racing stats are automatically uploaded to the Firemint web site. Brilliantly, the game will also upload videos of your best times to YouTube and share your rankings via Facebook and OpenSocial into the bargain.
Want to code games and apps for Nokia's N-Gage and don't know where to start (how about on a different platform)? Never fear, Nokia has you covered with the man-packed antics of "Sauna Talk". What better way to chew the fat about coding in C++ than inside the moist, loving grasp of your local sweat house?
It looks like this is just the first in many sauna-based chats, with the debut episode featuring an interview with Miikka Skaffari, Head of Developer Product Management for the N-Gage. If you can stomach the odd hairy chest, click the link below for the video.
I'm not really sure how they do things in the US, but down here, standard mobile phone contracts last for two years. Once that time's up, 99.8% of people go and get a new phone. Simple plan, everybody wins. OH. Except for anyone with a Nokia phone who actually buys games over their new N-Gage platform. See, the games are locked to the handset you purchase them on. If you break your handset, you'll get them reissued, but if you upgrade to a new phone, you lose your games. Nokia's explanation?
Our policy is that the N-Gage activation codes only work on the device where they were first activated. As with any digital media there is a potential risk of piracy and this policy is one of the ways we are dealing with piracy and ensuring our partners receive their rightful revenues from our platform.
Way to go, Nokia. Didn't think anybody could have a worse DRM track record than Microsoft, but then, records are meant to be broken.
In case you missed it, the "new" N-Gage service is out. The one that makes the games available over a variety of Nokia handsets, instead of a single, dedicated unit. If you didn't know that, it's OK, it wasn't that interesting. This might be. Konami have signed onto the service, and will be releasing a ton of their mobile games onto Nokia's fledgling platform, including a version of Metal Gear Mobile that will supposedly "raise the bar with respect to graphical detail and made-for-mobile features". All relative terms, of course.
Nokia's second attempt at N-Gage-ing mobile gamers has unofficially gone live, with the official N-Gage blog announcing that the revamped platform is now available for download. If you have a Nokia N81, N81 8GB, N82, N95 or N95 8GB, you can bask in the warmth of the new N-Gage, bringing a try-before-you-buy, Xbox Live-like experience to your phone. Offerings from Gameloft, EA and others are available now or coming soon, which don't look too terribly bad. Yeah! That was kind of a compliment. We won't even make a sidetalkin' dig!
The last two N-Gages were a mess. And that's being kind. The third, a software platform that will feature across a number of Nokia handsets, is more promising, but still far from a proven concept. So are Nokia worried that Sony are looking more and more likely to enter the mobile gaming market and walk all over them? No. No they are not. Nokia games boss Jaakko Kaidesoja:
I'm not scared about anybody. The real question is how do they do it? Can they create a link between the PSP games and a phone? Can they do the multiplayer and online stuff? We've been doing this for two years and it hasn't been easy.
No, it hasn't been easy! Then again, maybe you just weren't doing it right... N-Gage boss: 'We're not scared of the PlayStation phone'
Nokia's revamped N-Gage, now a multi-handset platform rather than standalone hardware, is trying to learn from its predecessor's mistakes. Ditching the rubbish hardware was a good first step. Harking back to Nokia's one shining triumph in the gaming world - Snake - might be another. This is Snake for the N-Gage, which is nothing like your granddaddy's Snake. It's got online leaderboards, a snazzy new colour scheme and reacts to the background music (though, criminally, not your own mp3s). Definitely looks like an improvement, but then...what was wrong with the old Snake?
Christmas isn't always a time for cheer. It can be a time for crushing disappointment, too. So don't take the news too hard that Nokia's new N-Gage platform, which was due to rollout right about now, has run into unforeseen difficulties and won't be out until the new year. No explanation was given, but even if it had, would that make a Christmas spent staring blankly at a participating Nokia handset any less bleak? No, no it would not. New Update for N-Gage First Access
It's low-key in comparison to the last N-Gage's launch, but hey, maybe that's a good thing. Starting from next week, anyone who owns a Nokia N81 or N81 8GB will be getting access to the "pre-release" version of the new N-Gage platform, as well as at least one new game. Users with access to the service will then be encouraged to leave feedback on Nokia's forums. Anyone with a Nokia phone who's been left out, calm yourself, this is a beta by any other name, and you'll be included in due time when the service launches for real. Get Ready for N-Gage First Access
The upcoming N-Gage relaunch looms, and I don't know about you guys but my excitement is at an all-time 'huh' as THQ Wireless announces that Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is heading to the platform in 2008. Let's see what THQ Wireless VP Adam Cominsky has to say!
"THQ Wireless is dedicated to creating an awesome mobile Star Wars experience that delivers on the concept of unleashing the Force."
The concept of unleashing the force...right. Which is what the game is about, of course. All of that unleashing and that force thingy. So exciting! Woo boy. I get the distinct feeling Adam has no idea what this game is about. Luckily THQ's Finland studio Universomo is creating the game, and I don't think he hangs out there. For a mobile title, the game is looking rather tight. If I ever find a Nokia N-Gage compatible phone sitting in a lost and found somewhere, I might just try it out.
Know, you didn't just misread that headline, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is coming to N-Gage, not the phone, the platform.
The mobile version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed will be developed by THQ's Universomo, in Finland using Cell Weaver technology and will support tournaments, score uploads and downloadable content through N-Gage's Arena service.
We all know cellphone games are near worthless, but apparently the mass market is starting to agree. Because a recent M:Metrics (research company) report shows that the number of cellphone subscribers playing games has peaked, plateauing at 5.7 million subscribers in December 2006 and dropping to 5.4 million by last June.
Whether or not the Google Phone will be good for gaming, I'm all for the industry's numbers dropping to -100 million bajillion until the entire medium improves. You know, like until Nintendo duct tapes a phone to the DS or something. Games Once Again Slammed As Past Their Peak, But What Innovation Will Save The Industry?
Look, I know you were all sitting in front of your PC with cellphones gripped in your white-knuckled fists, refreshing the N-Gage website over and over again as you anxiously awaited the next step in mobile gaming, but you're all just going to have to wait a little bit longer. Nokia has delayed the release of their N-Gage platform client, citing problems with software development holding up the software for a few weeks. Despite the setback, Nokia is confident that the website for the service will be going live by the end of the year, delivering premium mobile gaming from the likes of EA, Capcom, and Vivendi to all the good little boys and girls with compatible cellphones (read: not me.) I am actually hoping the service proves successful, so we can finally stop having the urge to look for pictures of tacos in Google whenever we write an N-Gage story. Nokia N-Gage Gaming Service Delayed
Nokia is just pumping out the N-Gage news lately, trying desperately to get people to stop thinking taco and start thinking global gaming service. They've just announced that the N-Gage service will be available all over the world this November, first in the form of an application that can be downloaded and installed in compatible devices and later embedded in Nokia mobile gizmos right out of the box. New games revealed include EA's Fifa 08, The Sims 2 Pets, Tetris, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour, as well as Crash Bandicoot from Vivendi and whatever Capcom has up their sleeve. N-Gage.com has been relaunched with a focus on the new service as well, along with a link in the upper right to reserve your player name, which will be the N-Gage version of a gamertag. I've already reserved Fahey, despite the chances of me ever having a compatible phone being close to nil. Can't have just any jerk playing under the family name. Just one specific jerk. Hit the jump for more details than would fit before the jump.
If you had any doubts that the new Nokia N-Gage mobile gaming platform initiative would be anything short of a total success...hold on to them for awhile longer. Nokia has announced that Vivendi Mobile will be bringing none other than the world's most famous Bandicoot to the mobile platform this fall. No one could be more excited to see Crash than Gregg Sauter, Nokia's director of third party publishing. Seriously, no one.
"Vivendi Games Mobile is one of the most respected publishers in mobile gaming," said Gregg Sauter, Nokia's director of third party publishing. "Crash Bandicoot is a gaming icon as well as a global powerhouse, having sold more than 33 million units worldwide. With its fun appeal to people of all ages and incredible graphics, the Crash Bandicoot franchise is the perfect fit for N-Gage."
I'd have to agree on the perfect fit part, but not for the same reasons I am sure. Is there some sort of hard date when Crash Bandicoot stops being a selling point I don't know about?