Nokia to Up the Ante on Mobile Games

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 21, 2006

Nokia’s last gaming foray, its N-Gage gaming platform, wasn’t exactly a success. But yesterday, Nokia announced a large-scale effort that I think could help the company make more headway into the mobile gaming market — and, ultimately, hurt portable gaming console companies like Sony.

On March 20, Nokia announced a premium games platform that will become available in the second quarter of 2007. Effectively, this software and related set of developer tools will make everything from discovering to buying good mobile games (and good mobile games are hard to find) simple. The platform will also allow users to store games in a virtual locker, accessible from any Nokia mobile phone, so if you upgrade to a newer phone, your content isn’t lost.

But here’s the service’s most interesting feature: You’ll be able to connect your phone, via a USB cable, to your computer, to download larger games. That’s right, this could change the mobile gaming industry as we know it.

Today, mobile games have to be kept simple (primitive, more like it) so they can be easily downloaded onto your phone over the air. The last time I downloaded a simple little game, the download took me about five minutes. This was pretty annoying, considering that 30 seconds into the game I discovered the game's quality was so bad, I'd never ever wanted to play it again.

This is why this USB port feature is so cool: First off, a download won't take as long. Secondly, I think that if cell phones allow for bigger games (and some cell phones come with 2 Gigs of memory nowadays), there's a higher chance that the games we do buy will be better. At least I'd like to think so: After all, with a bigger game, you offer a lot more cool features and better graphics.

I don't see why a cell phone then won't be able to offer the same kinds of games we play on Sony PSP today. I think this time around, Nokia found the right approach to tackle its rivals. Sony, beware!

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Reader Comments

Shumway

March 21, 2006 08:36 PM

This sounds like a fantastic idea. I just hope they don't lock everythign down by requiring using proprietary software which would only allow 'offical' games to be uploaded to the phone. There could be some great games produced by everyday joes if the big companies would let them into their locked down market.

MikeS

March 22, 2006 09:31 AM

I like this idea alot, and not just for gaming. Think about how much simpler it will be to transfer your phone books, calendars, etc from old phone to new when you upgrade. Providing they allow this to work through the USB as well (and why wouldn't they?).

Keith Cash

March 22, 2006 02:00 PM

This sounds great for us gaming consumers

james

May 3, 2008 07:21 AM

Ngage is a waste of time. Nokia should just stick to making better operating systems fo rtheir mobiles. SOny and Sony is the word Nokia should look up. Handsets that work anyway, I want to plug a cool app for mobiles which I found a few days ago. It's called I-Citizen and it came out recently. It's the world's first 3D world for mobile handsets. Its fun to play and you can meet people and chat to them as you might have guessed. They have promotions where they give away PS3's and Xboxes to people in a place called I-Bid in the app. Its beta release was announced in March 2008 and anyone can give it a try. You can get it from your mobiles browser or your pc by going to http://wap.Icitizencommunity.Com also check out www.micazook.com for it too.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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