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View Full Version : "Dismal First Week for N-Gage, say Games Retailers" - The Register

Jason Dunn
10-15-2003, 06:06 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/33405.html' target='_blank'>http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/33405.html</a><br /><br /></div>"Figures from videogame retailers around the UK are showing an extremely low sell-through of Nokia's new N-Gage game deck in its launch week, with fewer than 500 units sold by the 6000 game stores polled by Chart-Track. Although these figures don't include sales from mobile phone stores, which might well be expected to shift a few units of the N-Gage, they still mark something of a setback for Nokia's ambitions in the console space. By way of comparison, Nintendo's Game Boy Advance hardware outsold the N-Gage by a ratio of almost 30:1 last week, despite the fact that no key titles launched on the GBA over the course of the week, and that the system is long overdue a price cut."<br /><br />I got a chance to play with an N-Gage or two at the recent Mobius event, and it was quite impressive from a graphics point of view - the games looked great, very smooth frames rates on Tomb Raider. The fact that you had to take off the back cover and remove the battery just to change the memory card (which is where the game is located) is quite silly though, as is the fact that you can't copy the games off the ROM MMC card onto a larger MMC card and carry multiple games with you - Nokia is literally forcing people into a cartridge-based system. Still, it looked to me like a well executed device. So the question is, why aren't more people buying them? Is the market not ready? Is it price?

10-15-2003, 06:16 PM
Personally I would rather buy the GBA...

I think N-Gage will fail. People who buy Nokia phones buy them 90% because of the looks, and buy a new one 6 months later... N-Gage just don't fit into that profile. And one thought Nokia would have learned from the poor selling 9000 series.

10-15-2003, 06:39 PM
Say what you will about PalmOS, the Tapwave Zodiac looks way better than the N-Gage, at least it looks like it was better thought out from the ground up with standard SD slots, analog joystick, Bluetooth, bigger screen etc. I'd buy that long before the N-Gage.

I love the idea of getting away from what is traditionally thought of as a PDA or phone though. Pocket PCs are the worst about this right now, same button placement, same buttons, 64MB RAM, 32MB ROM, blah blah. Its nice to see the new iPaq 4355 with the keyboard - maybe we can get away from the Pocket PC by the numbers specs since Microsoft may have loosened up on OEMs. Imagine a gaming Pocket PC with 128MB ram and analog joystick with the old Casio EM-500 button layout and a nice speaker, big battery, etc. (oh yeah, and a flip lid!) If they could sell such a beast for a reasonable price I think they would really realize the mass market appeal of such a device.

David Horn
10-15-2003, 07:01 PM
A friend at college must be one of the 500 because he has one - not overly impressed. The Zodiac looks way more impressive, or even a PPC Phone Edition is better.

It comes down to price, I think. For 50, you can get a 3G phone which is subsidised to a cost of 1000 by the operator. Video calls and streaming news etc.... much better. Though that's not selling well, either ;)

10-15-2003, 07:13 PM
This device does not appeal to me for my personal use but I would consider it for my sons (aged 11 and 8) - I feel they are both too young to have mobile phones but most of their friends have a mobile of some sort and peer pressure is a real issue at the moment. I do however see the advantage and like the idea of being able to contact them quickly if they are staying at friends.

So - If I were to purchase a phone for them calls would probably be a secondary factor - I would first look at a device that they could get some real use out of. A gameboy/MP3 player/Radio/ Organsier would fit this profile - so the ngage begins to look ideal. The only thing holding me back is the price - get it down to a sim free 150GBP and I will buy two.

10-15-2003, 07:39 PM
Nokia's N-Gage was doomed months before its release because:

-Weak marketting
-No amazing original titles
-Horrible platform hinders expandibility
-High price (why buy an N-Gage when
you can have an XBox or PS2 for $100 less)
-too little too late

I think that last one is most important. With companies like Sony announcing new handhelds that will revolutionize mobile gaming, why would anybody want to blow $300 on Nokia's N-Gage? If you're a die-hard gamer, wait a year for Sony's mobile Playstation. If you want a phone first of all with games as a second priority, buy a Smartphone when they come.

10-15-2003, 07:42 PM
While I think that having the MMC card nehind the battery is a terrible idea, and that the use of the phone edgeways on is also stupid, I don't think that these are the reasons for the poor figures.

I believe that the reason is more due to lack of intelligent marketing. Sure, there have been adverts on the telly and stuff in the magazines, but not much has been said about what it is. Do people know that it is a phone at all?

On the other hand, getting figures from game stores alone isn't reliable. In fact, I didn't think the N-Gage would have been on sale outside of the normal mobile phone retailers, so it was news to me when I heard that it was available in shops like Electronics Boutique.

I don't expect to figures to be good (heck, it'll be lucky to reach SPV sales figures, and that's bad enough), but at least it's a learning experience for a company which I hope will learn from it.

It has proved, however, that Symbian is a drop-dead-stunning platform for some awesome and powerful games and that it is versatile enough to fit into more than just your 'two handed phone' and 'one handed phone' mould. With it's true multimedia capabilities stretching from video playing to FM radio and MP3 playback, I think it's a cracking-good device that's been marketed on one feature when it is capable of so much more.