Nokia pushes N-Gage-ing games

Nokia is continuing to gather partners for its N-Gage gaming platform, revealing that both Atari and Capcom USA will be make games available on the wireless gaming device.

In a smoke-filled room rife with red lights and video screens--we expected to see Wesley Snipes's Blade character strut through at any minute--Nokia revealed that Atari will bring its Civilization and DRIV3R franchises to the N-Gage. The media event came on the eve of the Electronic Entertainment Expo this week.

"There will 50-plus titles for the N-Gage by the end of the year," said Ilkka Raiskinen, Nokia's senior vice president of games.

Nokia also announced a second new partner, in addition to Atari: Capcom. But the companies didn't talk about any specific games that will appear on the N-Gage.

Nokia did talk about six other upcoming titles, however. These include FIFA 2005 and SSX Out of Bounds from Electronic Arts, which put soccer and snowboarding, respectively, on the handheld machine. Other items at the conference were the role-playing games Rifts, Xanadu Next, and Pocket Kingdom, plus an extensive look at the action war game Pathway to Glory.

"We want to bring existing franchises to the N-Gage and add unique features to them, but we also want to take risks and innovate," Raiskinen said.

Wireless Connectivity

Almost all of the new N-Gage Games take advantage of the handheld's connectivity, said Gerard Wiener, Nokia's director of network gaming services. While this may not mean that players will be able to play head-to-head in every game, it does involve Nokia's N-Gage Arena online community.

"With the N-Gage Arena we can add features to a game such as shadow racing, as we've already done, or bring in more players from around the globe," Raiskinen said.

"It's a mobile, global gaming community," Wiener noted.

Games such as Pocket Kingdom will let players from around the world interact in this vast multiplayer world online. "We want it to be a great, connected global experience," Wiener added.

The N-Gage's built-in Bluetooth capability offers more opportunity for real-time head-to-head play in games like the upcoming King of Fighters. Xanadu Next will permit four-player cooperative play via Bluetooth.

Hardware Problems

In April, Nokia launched the N-Gage QD, an updated version of the original N-Gage device. The new QD hardware fixes many flaws that beset the previous N-Gage (released a little more than six months prior), is smaller, and costs less. The QD will be available for US$99 to $199, depending on the telecommunications service contract the buyer signs up for--not bad for a combination phone, game machine, and wireless personal digital assistant.

During the question-and-answer session at the end of the press conference, some attendees questioned the difficulties Nokia has encountered in launching the N-Gage. Among the more pointed inquiries were, "Are you prepared for the same lackluster success met by the first N-Gage?" and "How many hardware versions will you come out with?" The Nokia executives took the questions in stride, replying that they have to be prepared for anything and that the company will update the device as many times as necessary.

"It's been a very interesting six months. There has been a lot of learning," said Anssi Vanjoki, head of Nokia world media. "But we are committed to connected, mobile multimedia."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joel Strauch

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?