Ahh, poor N-Gage. Nokia’s cell phone/game platform/commercial flop was finally put out of its misery today, after six long, brutal, unspectacular years.
In a reorganization of their mobile game strategy, Nokia is consolidating its N-Gage store into their new Ovi Store in an attempt to consolidate all their games/mail/music/apps under one all-encompassing service.
The N-Gage service for downloading and playing games online will be shut down at the end of September 2010.
Did you know that N-Gage games were still being produced and distributed? Just this month, in fact, Gameloft released a port of the recent Prince of Persia game, and Guitar Hero: World Tour Mobile also just came out.
A bit of history for the N-Gage uninitiated: the original system was released on October 3, 2003 (over a year before the PSP), in an attempt to bring console-worthy graphics to a handheld. It did. Unfortunately, they were original PlayStation launch-day worthy. Not too pretty.
Also, a slew of weird design choices (strange button placement, having to hold the N-Gage sideways – “taco” style – to make a call, being forced to remove the battery to change games) and the ridiculous $299 price tag doomed the system to failure before it even had a chance to take off. In less than three weeks after launch, GameStop and EBGames were already offering $100 rebates on it.
In May 2004, Nokia launched the N-Gage QD to quell some of the criticisms faced by the original. However, the public would not be swayed. Shortly thereafter, manufacturing of both systems ceased as Nokia converted the N-Gage infrastructure to be compatible with dozens of different models of smartphones.
N-Gage was no longer a system – it was a service. As of February 4, 2008, you could download new and old N-Gage games directly to your smartphone or through your computer at N-Gage.com. Further, you could play online with other N-Gage gamers through the N-Gage Arena service (including the world’s first handheld MMORPG, Pocket Kingdom: Own the World).
Sadly, none of this was enough to turn the N-Gage’s fortunes around. According to an N-Gage Blog posted this morning:
N-Gage games can be purchased until the end of September 2010. While the N-Gage.com site together with the N-Gage Arena and other community features will remain in operation throughout 2010, the Ovi Store will be the new central place for all the mobile games that Nokia and other publishers offer from this point forward. We will no longer publish new games for the N-Gage platform.
Your games will still play after that date, just not online, and all the community features such as leaderboards will no longer be active as of next September. Hurry! It’s your last chance to try a six-year-old system that has apparently been chugging along under the radar for a long, long time.
Downloadable games at the N-Gage Store average $6.99 each and play on over 100 different models of Nokia phones, and you can still find many new-in-box N-Gage games on Amazon for just a few bucks, as well.
Despite the console performing poorly in pretty much every aspect of its implementation since launch, it’s still sad to see another fallen comrade in the video game war, especially one that aimed so highly.
The saying goes, “Aim for the Moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Unfortunately, Nokia’s N-Gage will probably be relegated to a footnote on the annals of video game history.
R.I.P. N-Gage. We hardly knew you.
Source: N-Gage Blog