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N-Gage boss slams GBA

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gamesindustry.biz logo Nokia's head of entertainment and media, Ilkka Raiskinen, has attacked Nintendo's GBA in today's Dow Jones, accusing the system of failing to appeal to adult demographics, and has revealed some details of the development business model for N-Gage.

"GameBoy is for 10-year-olds," Raiskinen is quoted as saying. "If you're 20 or 25 years old, it's probably not a good idea to draw a GameBoy out of your pocket on a Friday night in a public place." Nokia would have us believe, of course, that the N-Gage will be a far more socially acceptable piece of kit.

While there's no doubt that Raiskinen's comments hold some truth - GBA's demographic does indeed skew a lot younger than other consoles - they're far less on the money now than they would have been before Christmas. Many retailers have commented that the audience for GBA SP is significantly older than it was for the original GBA, with the new clamshell design appealing to a market which previously wouldn't have touched a portable console.

The comments also reveal that Nokia seems to be taking Nintendo seriously as a competitor, having previously argued that the N-Gage exists in a market space of its own and does not compete directly with the GBA.

Nintendo has described itself as "unthreatened" by Nokia's entry into the market, while Raiskinen now believes that N-Gage's appeal to an older audience gives the company a "bigger opportunity" for the device.

Interestingly, the Dow Jones article also reveals some details of Nokia's thinking on the development business model for the console. Some developers are being paid a flat fee to create content for the N-Gage, it transpires, while others are receiving royalty fees - in some cases, royalty rates can be as high as 70 per cent.

The cost of developing N-Gage titles runs at between $100,000 and $500,000, according to Raiskinen - significantly higher than the cost of developing most GBA titles. © gamesindustry.biz

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