Nokia N-Gage: First impressions

Okay, sure, we’re doing a lot on the N-Gage, but it certainly is a different sort of device. While most of the discussion so far has been from the perspective of the wireless industry, it’s probably more interesting to hear what folks in the gaming industry have to say. The first impressions of the people at don’t seem very good – and the issues mainly have to do with things that a company in the gaming industry would know – but a wireless company wouldn’t. So, for example, they say Nokia is making a big mistake in not subsidizing the device, since the gaming industry has always worked on a “razors/razorblade” strategy of giving away the platform at a loss and making money on the games. They also say there are way too many buttons for game play. Finally, they’re worried that Nokia is going too gung ho in courting the developer community by giving out a free SDK. They’re basically afraid of people creating crappy (or even broken) games, since there’s no real quality control. So, an underwhelming first review from some gamers. It remains to be seen, though, whether people are buying this device to be a phone with some neat gaming ability… or a gaming device that also acts as a phone (or whether people are buying this device at all, actually…).

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