Nokia has decided to shut down its N-Gage gaming service in September 2010. This is a rare public admission of defeat for Nokia, which launched the N-Gage gaming platform to much fanfare several years ago. Ever since Nokia transitioned the service to an online gaming portal, it has failed to find users.The N-Gage launch was supposed to redefine mobile gaming. The first N-Gage handsets from Nokia were dedicated gaming phones that were more gaming device than phone. The first round of devices misfired, requiring users to do clunky things such as remove the battery to install game cards. None of the follow up devices was truly a hit, either.
Nokia let the platform sit for a while before re-thinking it. The service was relaunched as an online gaming community and service anchored on the Internet rather than devices. It seems the idea didn't work out as Nokia had hoped. Only the most dedicated N-Gage gamers followed the service online and it never really took off with mainstream users.
That brings us to its decision to kill off the service altogether.
Nokia said that gamers can purchase N-Gage titles from the store until Setpember 2010. That's a good ten months from now, so it's giving its users plenty of notice. Further, the N-Gage community Web site will remain active and open until the end of 2010.
However, "We will no longer publish new games for the N-Gage platform," Nokia said on its N-Gage blog.
Starting in October 2010, Nokia users who wish to purchase games will have to go through Nokia's Ovi Store, which is its own version of the iPhone Apps Store. Will game succeed there when they failed with N-Gage. Apple's example surely proves that there's a healthy appetite for mobile gaming. Perhaps Nokia's games will find a happy home in Ovi.