Nokia Hits 'Play' On N-Gage Gaming Service - InformationWeek

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4/7/2008
11:35 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Nokia Hits 'Play' On N-Gage Gaming Service

Nokia has finally unleashed its new N-Gage mobile gaming service. N-Gage software is available for download to a select number of N Series handsets such as the N81 and N95. Some of the titles available include an incredible "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed." (See demo in post.) Gamers, rev your S60 engines. It's time for game on! (P.S. - Don't tell your boss!)

Nokia has finally unleashed its new N-Gage mobile gaming service. N-Gage software is available for download to a select number of N Series handsets such as the N81 and N95. Some of the titles available include an incredible "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed." (See demo in post.) Gamers, rev your S60 engines. It's time for game on! (P.S. - Don't tell your boss!)The revamped gaming service from Nokia was first announced in August 2007 with a November release date. That was pushed to December, then January, and is just now finally going live with its global launch. Nokia device owners can now find, try, and buy games made for mobile phones directly from their handsets. Players can also connect with one another through the N-Gage Arena community. They can meet friends, find others to play multiplayer games, discuss topics on the message boards and via live chat, and participate in tournaments and hosted events.

This is a big change from the original N-Gage, which was a phone and handheld gaming device mashed into one ungainly looking piece of hardware. Now, N-Gage is an application that works on N Series phones. It supports the N81, N81 8 GB, N82, N95, and N95 8 GB for starters. It will add support for other N-Series phones in the future.

With the N-Gage application on their device, people can create a Friends List, send and receive private messages, and take part in instant messaging style chat. N-Gage Points can be earned for playing games and participating in community activities. Moreover, the experience can take place via the N-Gage Web portal on the PC. Here players can interact seamlessly with the N-Gage community or purchase new games and download them to their N-Gage compatible devices.

"With N-Gage we're offering a seamless experience for people around the world to try and buy games that are engaging, accessible, and have wide appeal," said Jaakko Kaidesoja, Nokia's VP of games. "We're very excited to get this into the hands of our customers, because with them we will shape the future of mobile gaming."

I was able to see several quick demonstrations last week. One of them was for a Star Wars game called The Force Unleashed. This game looks better on a cell phone than some of the Star Wars games I played during the '90s looked on my PC! Check out the demo below:

I attempted to install N-Gage on an N95 that I have, but unfortunately the firmware on my handset isn't updated enough. I have to buy a new Windows laptop to update my phone's firmware. Once I get around to that, I'll give you some thoughts and first impressions.

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