Who is steering the SS N-Gage towards the iceberg?
Published by Ewan Spence at 8:51 UTC, September 9th 2009
You are only as good as your last performance. It's an adage that performers live by, and one that content producers are all too familiar with. It's also the case with online services and content offerings. Irrespective of their future plans for the N-Gage (see here), the next-gen N-Gage platform is still with us. And how good is the platform? Here's why it matters.
Can the N-Gage coast along on the glory of titles like Reset Generation, Dance Fabulous or One? Short answer to this one.
Because of the nature of the N-Gage platform, and the steady stream of games (stop laughing over there in the corner), their target is constantly moving. The games that get the most attention will be the most recent ones. Because of the casual and shorter term nature of the games (with some notable exceptions), the last few games released will be the ones that the system is judged on.
And the last few games from the N-Gage team have not placed the platform in the best of lights. This all came to a head in my head (as it were) with the last release – Guitar Hero World Tour. Now I've already reviewed this title as an Ovi store release. Let me save you reading the full review... It's bad. Really bad. Poor sound, bad controls, and it gives off all the appearance of a cheap cash in on a name (and that name probably lets it sell buckets).
And this was given pride of place for a fortnight as the latest N-Gage game. That's going to help the platform no end. Not.
You are only as good as your last release.
Yes, N-Gage has lost its way a little bit lately. There have been some staff departures that have impacted on the development side, and their departed community manager has not yet been replaced... but there must be someone inside Nokia pulling the levers. Someone had to press the web button marked 'publish' for Guitar Hero World Tour (and all the others). That person must have a superior, and somewhere in that chain is the person who is, right now, Mr N-Gage.
And that person is the one ultimately responsible for the current slide in N-Gage quality. I wonder if they've actually sat down and played these games as they go out the door? Let's assume that they are – that means they're played the game, they're aware of the goals of N-Gage (“N-Gage is mobile gaming at its best!”) and decided that yes, this 'cheap cash-in of a java title ported from a basic handset to the top of the line smartphones' is “gaming at its best” and “exceptional games”.
Because the alternative is that Nokia don't care any more about N-Gage, nobody has any professional pride in making sure that what is going out is more than just filler, and that a brand that has been placed on millions of phones and is still actively advertised is being destroyed through negligence.
To be honest I'm not sure which option I want to be true. What I know is that I look at the current state of the N-Gage and I see a poor platfrom, struggling to breathe or find an identity.
-- Ewan Spence, Sept 2009.
Categories: Industry, Editorial Thoughts, Games
Platforms: N-Gage, S60 5th Edition
it's unfortunate, but n-gage killed itself by putting crappy/bad games into their line up.. had they kept their titles to the best of the bunch, people will still see n-gage as high end...
games that make n-gage account for about 25% of the total titles... the likes of hooked on creatures of the deep, dirk dagger, reset generations, space impact, one to name a few..
while others are ruining the image, when n-gage was 1st launch it was a high grade premium gaming platform, now a bunch of crap games got in the line-up and it's no longer cool...
I don't think that there is a Mr. N-Gage anymore. Only the bravest of fellows would want that responsibility. I'm glad you've reminded us of what Nokia promised for N-Gage. The deserve all the grief they currently get from the likes of EA and journalists like yourself.
Sadly, I think it will soon go from "Iceberg dead ahead!" to "Is there anyone alive out there?". And all this without even a hint of "Paint me like one of your French girls". Sad.
Long ago, Nokia promised that it would a simple process to upgrade N-Gage game licenses when upgrading to a new Nokia phone. Uh... we're still waiting. After going through a month-long hassle to upgrade the first time (when my N95 died and I switched to an N82), I was forced with having to do it again soon after when I crushed my N82 and had to replace it.
I have several games/utilities from small publishers and each of them had no trouble upgrading my license when presented with proof of purchase, my old IMEI and registration code and my new IMEI. The only company that couldn't and still can't manage that process is Nokia with N-Gage games.
As a result, I've abandoned N-Gage. I never got my licenses transferred to my new phone. I don't play those games any more. I don't buy N-Gage games any more either. N-Gage is done.
I still remember the initial titles on the N-gage, the Golf game was 60mb, completely in line with the releases on the old N-gage. The current lineup of 2-3mb games is bound to look worthless. Its all Nokia's fault, they failed to specify strict quality requirements for the games that get published on Ngage
For more proof that NGage is dead try getting some customer support. Or asking for a password reset. Gave up after 10 emails over 6 months. Absolutely shocking.
From a PC gaming background I find it a weird concept that Nokia is somehow to be blamed for bad titles released through N-Gage platform. Shouldn't it be the game developer and publisher who make themselves look bad with a blatant money grab? The consumers should still read the reviews rather than hope everything on the platform will always be worth buying for everybody.
I really wouldn't like them to filter the content that much. Someone's crappy title could still be a small group's cult hit, and if the developer and publisher want to put in the time and resource to bring it out, great!
The real issues with N-Gage, to me, are the customer support issues mentioned here and perhaps the lack of clout in making sure there are good games on the platform in addition to anything else. I mean a steady stream of good games, keeping with the as-good-as-your-last-performance thing. ;)
I remember the Nokia spokes person Rafe told us there will be an easy way to transfer game licenses through n-gage and n-gage was going to take off big time... Both have failed miserably. I wish I didn't waste money on n-gage games with the vast majority worse than java releases. At least with java games you have a much larger selection. I can't even tranfer my licenses over!! :(
Oh, forgot to tell you guys, transferring games is very easy if you visit the n-gage.com forum and do a search for one of the moderators there. The guy/moderator helps me transfer games I brought for my N95 2-3 years ago into my N97 with no problem.
It's a shame but they didn't let people know how easy it is to transfer games.. just like the way they do silent advertisement in US.
Id have to disagree with the "Guitar Hero World Tour Mobile" being "Really, really bad" on the N-Gage, the original JAVA/Symbian game did have low quality midi-sound dodgey graphics, however the N-Gage version of the game did improve.
the N-Gage edition had 2 minute "MP3-Styled" songs and (on most phones) had 15 songs to play, which is only 15 less than the DS Counter-part (which kills your hand after 2 songs). Not to mention online score boards etc - as you can probably tell im a GH Fan, but i did not like DS or the Symbian version - but i really enjoyed the N-Gage version, nice quick dose of fun at work (espically on Expert) :D
regarding the "N-Gage" concept in general over the past few months it has seemed to go down hill a little, nothing "exciting" at nokia world, no N-Gage blog poster posting rumours, nice and other interesting stuff.....atm its just a platform "left in the dark" and tbh its getting treated worse than the original platform ever was!
old n-gage fan
I was a very devoted fan of nokia n-gage i still have my old n-gage device that has wonderful games and you could really tell that the mobile gaming it is at its best ! I had for about an yer a nokia N95 8GB that i gave away recently. i really loved hook on , worms, age of empires, system rush, one and next generation. But all the other games were a big disappointment for me an i think for all the other players out there. And even if n-gage has n-gage arena there is nobody online to play with :(. Now I really didn't like the iphone but now i have one and i can really say that the iphone has gaming at its best on a mobile. I have tones of games with beautiful graphics, story line etc. And i really enjoy them! And i really hope that one day Nokia will make a n-gage device ( n-gage 3).Until then i will stick with the iphone that has tones of apps, and tones of beautiful games.
N-gage now sucks cause no games and whenever a game comes out it is bad i'd say release many games better than release 1 game rarely i cry as i look at n-gage 1.0 games they are pretty nice and resonable and some of them can beat the current n-gage games in graphics and gameplay :| so i'd say release mm and other games or port old n-gage games like panadomium
Thank you! Here I want to introduce you the ugg boots. I believe there are so many girls dream of a warm wool ugg 30th anniversary and practical ugg lo pro button.You may be intersted in ugg bailey button and ugg classic cardy! Letís go and look at their new style. http://www.uggboots4buy.com/
11 Comments / Post New Comment