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Saturday, 28 July 2007

Next-Gen N-Gage Will Launch On 4Q 2007!

NextGen NGageThe big news is that Digital Chocolate has signed up to make games for N-Gage, and according to O'Driscoll, there are 35 games in development for the platform, although not all will be out when it launches this year.

However, he also said that N-Gage is due to roll out "during Q4" this year. That sounds like a minor slip from its previously announced launch date of September, but hopefully means we'll have N-Gage games in our hands by Christmas.

We should note that he was referring to the European launch, so it's possible that the platform will launch somewhere in September, to iron out any last-minute teething problems.

In terms of strategy, Web 2.0 is clearly a big influence on the platform, in terms of social networking, user-generated content and connectivity. He also talked about what mobile brings to Web 2.0 services, allowing people to access them on the move.

But what does it mean for games, and specifically the new N-Gage stuff? He revealed some stats indicating that gaming is already popular on the company's high-end phones.

Apparently, 85 percent of Series 60 handset owners are playing the preloaded games on their handsets, while 45 percent are playing downloadable games a few times a week. However, when you look at all mobile users, just 5 percent are actually downloading games.

"We need to move to a point where we're creating true mobile games, as opposed to just puttingNextGen NGage existing games on the mobile," he said. "We know what the barriers are, yet we're not doing a great deal to resolve them."

So, more Nokia research. Apparently there's three different categories of mobile games - solo gamers, social gamers and passive gamers. It's the social gamers that Nokia is focusing on, who want gaming to be "a catalyst for social interaction" (think Web 2.0 again).

Apparently this category includes 22 per cent of mobile users across the world, so it's a decent potential market – and unsurprisingly the target market for the next-gen N-Gage.

O'Driscoll also talked about what's needed to get more people playing mobile games, including "better games at higher prices", a better buying experience, free demos and multiple ways to buy a game, and more connectivity and the ability to share games with friends.

He gave few specifics on new N-Gage games, although he did promise "Xbox 360 quality graphics" in the future on Nokia's Nseries handsets (although bear in mind that's still on a mobile phone sized screen).

O'Driscoll also showed off the N-Gage shopping experience, although this has been reported before – the combination of a mobile portal, an online iTunes-style store, and the ability to try games before you buy them.


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In case you do not know, Nokia is currently working on cross platform games that will make some of its games playable not only on NextGen N-Gage game capable S60 phones but also on our desktop PCs! Pretty cool, isn't it?

NextGen NGage
[via: Pocket Gamer]

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