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Nokia N-Gage resurfaces at secret meetings

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Nokia is about to rejuvenate its N-Gage mobile games console, if online reports are correct. The Finnish phone giant has apparently begun to evangelise new models to the industry.

According to a Pocket Gamer report, behind-the-scenes developments are about to become public, with games publishers and developers already being briefed on the platform's new capabilities.

At a secret workshop in Santa Monica last week, companies including Disney, Sega, Sony, Glue Wireless and EA Mobile were reportedly shown new networking and application distribution features which will allow tracking of how and when games are played, as well as enabling some form of super-distribution - allowing customers to pass on limited-capability versions of games to their pals, which can then be upgraded to full versions over the air.

N-Gage started life as a device, but after two incarnations failed to gain any market traction, and Nokia was forced to reinvent it as a platform for gaming on mobile phones.

The N-Gage devices both used the Symbian OS with some additional APIs suited to 3D graphics and network play, so making those APIs available on other handsets made more sense than trying to push out more games-specific devices.

Nokia announced it would put N-Gage inside some of its multimedia handsets at E3 2005, and showcased a number of games at the same time. Until now, however, all had gone rather quiet on the N-Gage front.

According to Pocket Gamer, European firms can get the lowdown on N-gage at another event in Madrid next week. ®

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