Nokia pleased with N-Gage, but there's ‘a lot to do’

Sticks to 6m units for 2004

Almost exactly a month after Nokia's N-Gage launched worldwide, a senior company staffer has stated that it is "pretty pleased" with customer reaction to the device, but that there's much to be done if it's to meet expectations.

Speaking at a conference in New York, Nokia's general manager for entertainment and media in North and South America, Nada Usina, said that the company is "pretty pleased with the viral uptake from consumers and the feedback that we are getting".

However, he admitted that the company has "a lot to do to make sure our expectations are in alignment" - although the mobile phone giant is holding firm on its predictions of selling over six million N-Gage devices by the end of 2004.

Despite releasing shipment figures of 400,000 (which were misinterpreted as sales figures by many news sources) and issuing a broadside against market research firm Chart-Track in the pages of UK trade magazine MCV for... er... reporting sales figures from games retailers, Nokia has still failed to come up with any numbers of its own for the launch of the device. This has meant that the only figures available are those from analysts who pitch the sell-through to consumers at a fraction of that 400,000 roll-out.

Usina effectively dismissed the weak launch of the device, however, stating that "we are mixing a telecom model where typically you roll out in a couple markets and [demand] builds before its peaks and drops off, and the game market where it is 'boom' then it goes away".

Sales of the N-Gage would, therefore, be expected to be somewhere between these two extremes (although we're not entirely sure we agree with his assessment of how game console sales work, since many consoles sell more strongly in their second and even third year on sale than in their first thanks to wider software libraries and lower prices) - so market watchers will be on the look out for a build-up to a peak for the device.

The N-Gage has seen price cuts from two key retailers in the USA in recent weeks, with GameStop and Electronics Boutique both slashing the price of the standalone device by $100 within a fortnight of its launch. Here in the UK, a number of mobile retailers are now offering the deck effectively for free when purchased with expensive monthly mobile phone contracts.

Copyright © 2003 GamesIndustry.biz

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