N-Gage fights back with smartphones

Nokia is hoping to hit back at critics who have branded its gaming phone N-Gage a flop by launching a range of multimedia phones based on the N-Gage platform.

Smartphones, capable of playing N-Gage-compatible games, are expected to become available during the first half of next year. They are expected to be aimed at a broader range of consumers, rather than the youth-biased N-Gage.

The multimedia smartphones will have three-dimensional gaming capabilities and a range of other convergence devices, as Nokia, which has 31 per cent of the global mobile market, attempts to stimulate growth in a near-stagnant market.

A Nokia spokesman says: “We are taking the technology that is in the N-Gage phones and making it available to all smartphones.”

When customers buy a Nokia smartphone that supports the new mobile gaming solution, they will be able to access games through their mobile or personal computer. They will also include connectivity features enabling gamers to play over mobile networks.

Nokia director and general manager of games Gerard Wiener says: “The next logical step is for us to provide a simple solution based on the N-Gage experience that will deliver a rich, consistent mobile games offering to millions of smartphones.”

The phones will be announced at Los Angeles gaming conference E3. Nokia will also showcase its new N-Gage accessory portfolio there.

Nokia faces competition in the mobile consoles market from Samsung, which has announced it is to launch two phones with three-dimensional gaming capabilities (MW May 5). It also faces competition from Nintendo, which launched the handheld DS, and Sony, which launches the PSP later this year.

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