Feeds

Nokia to shut down N-Gage

A brief history of fail

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

First it was a phone, then an online service. Now, Nokia's N-Gage will soon be nothing at all. The Finnish phone giant is going to shut it down.

The N-Gage site will continue through 2010, but it will feature no new games. Instead, they'll be sold through Nokia's Ovi online store.

It's hard to see the move is coincidental to the recent dip in Nokia's financial fortunes. Fiscal worries nearly did for N-Gage in 2005. Then the brand managed to survive. Not this time, though.

The first N-Gage debuted in late 2003 as a device Nokia insisted was a handheld games console not a phone, even though it could make and take calls, and send and receive text messages. It also run a smartphone operating system, Symbian.

What really did for it was the phone-sized screen - about half the size of the display you'd get on the handheld consoles of the time.

Nokia N-Gage

Nokia's first N-Gage: hold it sideways to speak

Despite the diminutive display, the device itself was way too big to be used as a handset. Nokia even suggested owners hold the phone side on when talking, because of the unusual positioning of the microphone and earpiece speaker.

Nokia tried again in 2004, shipping the more compact N-Gage QD in May of that year. It offered a slightly better telephonic experience, but gaming was much the same. Nokia's much-touted online N-Gage Arena "multi-player gaming" service was, in reality, an online league table matching solo-play high scores.

By September 2004, Nokia had shipped more than a million N-Gages - though at launched it forecast it would ship "millions" of the devices.

Come early 2005, and N-Gage's doom was already being predicted, forcing Nokia to state that it was "completely committed" to the device and platform. By now, it was facing stiff competition from Sony's PlayStation Portable and Nintendo's DS.

Bu the writing was on the wall, for the phone at least. In May 2005, Nokia began extending N-Gage Arena to its then-new N series of smartphones. Later that year, it emerged that Nokia had hoped to shift 6m N-Gages, but only managed to sell 2m or so. The QD was quietly dropped the following year.

Nokia N-Gage QD

Second attempt: the N-Gage QD

The N-Gage brand was retained for an extended service-only offering, originally due to debut in 2007 but which failed to surface in that year. The pitch was the ability to play big-name titles on N-series smartphones, and it finally became a reality in April 2008.

But only through to the end of 2010.

"We will no longer publish new games for the N-Gage platform," Nokia said on its N-Gage blog late last week. "We will no longer ship new devices with the [N-Gage] application pre-installed."

Existing games will be offered for sale until September 2010, and players will be supported until the end of that year. Purchased N-Gage games will continue to work on N-Gage compatible mobile devices, Nokia said. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND
4Gb/s speeds on a consumer drive, anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.