A Word or Two About N-Gage

fantastinen floppi kirja

So, I read a book about N-Gage. It was a phone slash hanheld gaming console that was developed by famous and legendary Finnish phone company Nokia. The way that Nokia tried its hand in also gaming business just shows how huge the company was. It had the money and power to make it.

Finally N-Gage proved to be a flop. As it wasn’t a successful product it did open up many doors to Finnish gaming developer companies. N-Gage sold 3 million copies worldwide. If you consider that Sega Dreamcast sold 9 million copies and was a failuire for Sega you can get a picture of how the market was back then.

If we think about Nokia a bit we can figure that it was at its time a huge leader in personal phones markets. After all iPhone that was first released in 2007 took the crown from Nokia and a new generation of smart phones started to conquer the markets. Things changed quickly as Nokia depended on phones that had buttons while IPhone had a touch screen.

Smart phones took a step to this new direction. In 2014 Microsoft bought Nokias mobile phone business. For a while we had a smart phone that was called Nokia Lumia. Soon it was clear that Nokia couldn’t compete even when it had a partner like Microsoft. Rest seems to be a history and it tells us of the success of Android and iOS mobile devices.

The roots of Nokias phone games are actually very deep. I have some personal experience about this also. Back in 1990s I had a Nokia 5110 that had “matopeli” that can be translated to “worm game”. It was a casual game that you could start playing while waiting for the bus for example. With N-Gage Nokia was actually targeting some more serious gamers.

N-Gage was an ambitious attempt from Nokia to get seriously into gaming business. You can think how interesting it would have been. The markets were growing all the time. We saw at the same time how Microsoft entered the competition with its Xbox gaming console.

N-Gage had its critical flaws. When you wanted to change the game you had to turn off the device and remove the battery. Only after that you could change the game cartridge. The way you actually talked to N-Gage was a bit akward. You had to place the phone sideways on your ear. Also, the screen was placed just like in every phone model and it had more height than width which was a different approach compared to other gaming devices of time.

Nokia was trying its hand in a new field. This wasn’t cool with other big gaming companies. There were lots of memes moving around where people were mocking N-Gage. It was difficult to enter the field of video gaming. There were some negotiations with Nintendo about some co-operation but this never lead to anything. Sega seemed also interested in supporting Nokia. There were huge game titles like Tony Hawks Pro Skater that were introduced for N-Gage, also.

While N-Gage seems to be a flop it did affect the gaming industry at least locally in Finland. They had resources and money that they brought to the industry. I must mention here also the best selling N-Gage game: Pathway to Glory. It received good scores from reviews of different internationally known video game magazines.

N-Gage wasn’t a huge success. It does have a small group of supporters. I am not sure if this book that I read, “Fantastinen floppi”, is available in English. So, its a bit akward that I am writing about this book here in this blog that I write to in English. However I thought that it would be cool just to tell you all about the book.

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