|Bookmark this page! |
The History of the Nokia Ngage
The Nokia Ngage was Nokia's attempt at combining the mobile phone with a handheld gaming system. It was based on Nokia's series 60 mobile phone platform, and included many PDA abilities as well as online gameplay via Bluetooth and Internet. The device was also capable of Real Audio/Video and MP3 playback.
Originally released in 2003, the system was consistently outsold by Nintendo's Gameboy Advance, and retailers were forced to offer rebates in order to move units even as early as 17 days after the machine's original release. Although Nokia claimed 400,000 sales in the first two weeks the system was available, it was later revealed that this was actually the number of units shipped as opposed to units sold. In fact, the Ngage had only sold 800 units in the UK with an additional 5,000 sold in the United States.
Various issues plagued the Ngage, including a very small selection of games and poor placement of its buttons for gaming purposes. Nokia attempted to correct this issue by releasing the Ngage QD in 2004 with slightly improved button placement. However, the revised deck lost USB support and native MP3 playback.
By January 2005, ChartTrack, a UK sales-tracker, announced that it was dropping its chart for the Ngage as the machine was “of little interest to anyone”. This announcement damaged the Nokia's already shaky image as a gaming platform and, in 2005, Nokia appointed Gerard Wiener, who had previously worked with Sega Europe, as Director and General Manager for Games at Nokia. Wiener pointed Nokia away from considering the Ngage a gaming platform, instead concentrating on it as a cell phone that was also great at playing games. This strategy, along with a few successful games and the release of the Ngage QD Silver Edition, which was released in Europe in 2005, has kept Ngage sales somewhat steady and helped to gain the system at least some respect from gamers and the media. By 2007, Nokia had sold more than two million Ngage decks.
February 2008 saw the Ngage platform move from a separate console to a software service available on some of Nokia's higher end mobile phones, though the full version of the software was not available until April. Unfortunately, Nokia has not made original Ngage games available on the software only platform, though the Ngage QD deck is still sold in China. As of March 2009, only 36 games were available for software service, dubbed Ngage 2.0. Many more games are in development, however.