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  Nokia N-Gage, flop?  (Read 4348 times)
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Offline Captain-Goatse

Junior Member




I suck at teh 2D. XBOX IS BIG LOL!111


« Posted 2003-10-12 11:52:36 »

Interesting issue because this unique handheld provides java support. Now anyone can program games for commercial systems.

However it seems to be that nokia N-Gage is the worst handheld ever. ON launch day, they sold SIX units in new York alone! Can you imagine that. Gameboy SP sold 6000 systems on launch day. Pretty neat.

It is hilarious, because Nokia didn't listen to the indies at all.
When I first heard about the magical game swapping thing(which sucks) and said it does not work and it is a major design flaw I got banned from nokia developer.com.

Now that I have used the system couple of times, I can only say that the person who buys this thing is either stupid or confused throughly.

Offline troggan

Junior Member




no guts no glory


« Reply #1 - Posted 2003-10-12 12:07:28 »

could you be more specific in what is wrong with that thing? i played with it on a demonstration truck in cologne a few weeks ago, looked very good from my point of view...but i only played 2-3 mins on it.


(http://www.wannawork.de) - Will work for food
(http://tvbrowser.org) - Java EPG
Offline Markus_Persson

JGO Wizard


Medals: 14
Projects: 19


Mojang Specifications


« Reply #2 - Posted 2003-10-12 14:26:38 »

<opinon type="personal">The N-Gage sucks on so many levels it's almost silly.

1) The games are distributed on memory sticks. You have to go to a store, pay $50, and get a box. You can't just download(*) them from the net.
2) In order to switch games, you have to turn it off, remove the battery, and try to get the chip in there next to the sim card.
3) The hardware sucks compared to the Gameboy, and is several times more expensive.
4) No IR! Sure, it's got bluetooth, but nothing else does.
5) It's impossible to actually use the thing as a phone without the headset. The speaker is located on the thin side, so you have to hold it sideways, kinda like trying to smear a taco against your year, and the phone sound quality is horrible.
6) The commercials on TV are dull and frustrating. (oh, ok, that has nothing to do with the actual phone, but it rubs off. Wink)

(* well, you can still download java games, and as usual with the series 60 phones, they end up deep down in some strange submenu)</opinion>

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Offline troggan

Junior Member




no guts no glory


« Reply #3 - Posted 2003-10-12 14:39:58 »

Ok, thanks for that Smiley...
and to the gba: nothing beats the gamegear, even now after all those years !!

(http://www.wannawork.de) - Will work for food
(http://tvbrowser.org) - Java EPG
Offline princec

JGO Kernel


Medals: 339
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #4 - Posted 2003-10-12 16:45:34 »

And who tf. wants to play games on a feckin' phone anyway??? I mean - a few kids might, but no serious market is going to fall for that one. What we all want is ultrathin ultralight PDAs with a built in phone. Nuff said. Nokia can take their Ngage and stuff it where the sun doesn't shine, which might be anywhere in Finland this time of year Wink

Cas Smiley

Offline troggan

Junior Member




no guts no glory


« Reply #5 - Posted 2003-10-12 16:56:33 »

the problem is that these kids are quit a huge market...haven't you seen some kids playing mobile games ??
i see them everywhere.

(http://www.wannawork.de) - Will work for food
(http://tvbrowser.org) - Java EPG
Offline Orangy Tang

JGO Kernel


Medals: 56
Projects: 11


Monkey for a head


« Reply #6 - Posted 2003-10-12 17:02:06 »

I've seen many more people wandering around playing GBAs than mobile phones, especially on things like long train journeys when my GBA SP gets lots of use. Grin

Nintendo tread a fine line between good, high performing hardware and being affordable for everyone (especially kids!). How many kids have the cash to blow on an n-gage? Nagging a parent isn't going to raise that much either.

Also remember that the GBA is very robust. Besides scratching the screen they're pretty unbreakable compared with mobile phones. Even more so when you compare the cartridges with those flimsy little memory cards..

Edit: Damn, I seem to have nuked my avatar when cleaning out my webspace in preparation for the new site. Guess I'd better hurry up with it Wink

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Offline troggan

Junior Member




no guts no glory


« Reply #7 - Posted 2003-10-12 17:22:39 »

i have seen the first kid with a ngage yesterday. here in germany you can get it for 1 ยค with a 2 year contract for a provider. a gba would be cheaper in the long run, but these kids don't care Wink

(http://www.wannawork.de) - Will work for food
(http://tvbrowser.org) - Java EPG
Offline tortoise

Junior Member




<3 Shmups


« Reply #8 - Posted 2003-10-12 18:39:07 »

The N-Gage just blows my mind. It really does. How on earth did that thing get to production? Does anyone at Nokia play games?

A vertical screen is horrible! Puzzlers and shooters (two great genres to be sure) are about the only games that can benefit from a vertical screen. Most games need more horizontal room than vertical, and games like platformers suffer greatly without it (just look at the reviews for N-Gage's Sonic).

The only launch game I've seen with an even remotely good review is Monkey Ball. A game I've already played plenty on the Cube and is available for the GameBoy. Tomb Raider? Pandemonium? Tony Hawk? A great way to launch a new system is with a bunch of 7 year old games Smiley

Then the whole swapping games business...

I'm all for a powerful portable, Java capable at that. But man Nokia, the details are important! I think the N-Gage may break records for flopping so fast. Even if they fix the things they can fix (like the game lineup) the hardware faults aren't going anywhere.
Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #9 - Posted 2003-10-12 20:12:34 »

This may be bad news for Nokia but good news for Java on the cell phone.

Java already owns the market for the kind of cell phone games that people do play but, as far as I know, all the games released on game cards for the N-Gage were written in C++.

This was supposed to be the moment when 'serious games' written in C++ set a new standard for cell phone games and stole the market from Java. Well, it seems J2ME game programming skills will be valuable for some time still Smiley
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
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Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #10 - Posted 2003-10-14 01:57:16 »

It comes down to several key issues:

1) crap ass developer relations. If you've ever tried to actual work with the ngage you know what I mean. They acted like the ngage was the second coming or some new topsecret console and well.... people had better things to do so nokia ended up 'funding' some of the games currently on the platform. Thats a nail in the coffin of any development platform.

2) crap ass hardware design. Nokia made a hardware design that was constantly ridiculed so there was little to no chance that any serious gamer would consider picking one up.

3) crap ass marketing. Nokia didn't even bother to try to penetrate the market in a new way. They just said 'ah we have a product and some money... it will sell'. Oops, sorry it doesn't work that way.

The result - crap ass sales. Many of the people in their target market won't get it because its a terrible phone (which should have been the initial design goal). There are real numbers out there showing that people spend big money on phones and get huge discounts because phone are subsidized by subscription plans - so price wasn't a big deal. The rest of the people who were looking for it to be a good game platform were swayed by review after review calling it a taco, showing its very weak 'first party' offerings and lackluster interest of ANY kind from third parties - many of whom write code in J2ME for mobile devices. Nokia managed to in one fell swoop push the device for the minority of both consumers AND developers.

They'd do well to reevaluate what's important to the platform before relaunching it.... and they WILL relauunch it.

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline tortoise

Junior Member




<3 Shmups


« Reply #11 - Posted 2003-10-14 04:10:24 »

Quote

They just said 'ah we have a product and some money... it will sell'. Oops, sorry it doesn't work that way.


Especially disappointing considering a lot of game hardware upstarts have bombed in the exact same way. Why did Nokia think they were different? The N-Gage is a 3DO that fits in your pocket.

Quote

Many of the people in their target market won't get it because its a terrible phone (which should have been the initial design goal).


I think gaming should have been the primary/only goal. The Gameboy's monopoly has gotta be a tempting thing to get in on, they already sell a lot of phones. But the N-Gage doesn't perform any of its functions well. So it doesn't attract anyone Sad

Ah well. When I first heard of the N-Gage way back I was excited, new portable gaming is always a good thing. I just can't believe the glaring faults never got fixed.
Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #12 - Posted 2003-10-14 14:52:25 »

The sad part is that its not like people weren't CONSTANTLY telling them what those faults were over and over and over again before the platform was launched. Many early interested development shops who paid money for development kits pleaded with them to make some adjustments, but to no avail. There was no 'developer relations' strategy that any developer for a gaming platform would be familiar with so for many things you just give up in frustration.

Sadly sometimes I think Sun is in the same boat and they are just groping around in the dark trying to find the audience while their real audience is yelling "hey we're right here... listen to us, meet with us, work directly with US"

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #13 - Posted 2003-10-15 09:26:03 »

I'm just wondering what will happen to Nokia's market share in the business segment if they fix the problems and the N-Gage becomes a huge hit after a relaunch.

Will the business customers still want to buy their phones from the top "toy-phone" maker?
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #14 - Posted 2003-10-15 10:52:01 »

Quote
I'm just wondering what will happen to Nokia's market share in the business segment if they fix the problems and the N-Gage becomes a huge hit after a relaunch.

Will the business customers still want to buy their phones from the top "toy-phone" maker?


Nokia has nothing to worry about w.r.t n-gage. They could write it off tomorrow morning as an experiement that went wrong. Their current levels of brand-recognition, loyalty, and product-association (when someone says "mobile phone" what do you picture in your head? Chances are, it's a generic nokia) are to-kill-for; they are cited again and again in other industries as the one to copy...even outsting Sony as the poster-child for consumer-goods-mindshare in several kinds of analysis - I imagine because Sony could play off good recognition in a wide range of markets for 30 years, whereas Nokia has achieved godlike status just through one market in much less time?

Although I'm not saying n-gage isn't important to them: they must be getting increasingly worried about running out of customers to sell to (companies have to grow by approximately 33.7% annually to keep their shareholders happy). Mobile phone penetration in parts of Europe is way above 100% (people now own 3 phones each) - but it can't go much further.

So, they need new markets, preferably where they can leverage their reputation for funky, lightweight, easy to use handheld devices. But they've got plenty of time (and cash to burn) to find them..

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #15 - Posted 2003-10-15 19:08:44 »

Quote
They could write it off tomorrow morning as an experiement that went wrong. Their current levels of brand-recognition, loyalty, and product-association (when someone says "mobile phone" what do you picture in your head? Chances are, it's a generic nokia)

Exactely, they can consider themselves lucky that the project wasn't a huge success that weakened the strong mobile phone position of the brand. Heinz was once the specialist in pickles, then it got really successful with ketchup and now everyone associates Heinz with ketchup while they've been pushed out of the pickles market.

Over a year ago I insinuated that Nokia may not be serious about gaming phones because of their decision to put the Nokia brand on the N-Gage, and that it may just be a big blocking move from a market leader. After all, Ericsson was once the leader in mobile phones but they did not block Nokia when Nokia started focusing on design, and they lost their leadership. Maybe Nokia understood that the same thing could happen to them if someone focused on game-optimized phones and built the N-Gage to preempt such a development.

But you're probably right, they probably did released the N-Gage in their hunt for growth and it's possible that mobile gaming is the way to go, but I think they need a separate brand to be successful.

The whole hoopla reminds me of Java and I just hope the language does not encounter a focused competitor for its enterprise space, considering the way Sun has been milking the brand by pasting it on everything from mobile phone games to office desktop solutions. Us Java programmers can thank our lucky stars that Microsoft managed to accomplish an even less focused marketing effort for .NET.

Then again, what do I know, I'm still just a student with a big mouth Smiley
Offline shawnkendall

Senior Member





« Reply #16 - Posted 2003-10-15 20:41:55 »

Quote

Then again, what do I know, I'm still just a student with a big mouth Smiley

Best time to have one!  Wink

Shawn Kendall
Cosmic Interactive, LLC
http://www.facebook.com/BermudaDash
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #17 - Posted 2003-10-15 20:46:54 »

Quote

...it may just be a big blocking move from a market leader....Maybe Nokia understood that the same thing could happen to them if someone focused on game-optimized phones and built the N-Gage to preempt such a development.


That's a good point. It's become quite trendy in business analysis to notice and understand examples of this happening (although the jargon for it still seems to change from year to year). If you've got MBA's, mgmt consultants and analysts around, and you have a massive market dominance, it would be hard NOT to hear about this over and over again Smiley.

Quote

The whole hoopla reminds me of Java and I just hope the language does not encounter a focused competitor for its enterprise space, considering the way Sun has been milking the brand by pasting it on everything from mobile phone games to office desktop solutions. Us Java programmers can thank our lucky stars that Microsoft managed to accomplish an even less focused marketing effort for .NET.


I'd give you 250-1 odds on that. The enterprise space is still ruled by the big-iron companies (although HP has been desperately trying to make itself bankrupt/irrelevant/a taiwanese no-name box shifter ;P) - these days in some ways more so than ever before, with many realising that MS is in danger of taking their last, highest-margin, markets from them. The enterprise space is all about ongoing support, integration, services etc. A replacement for Java would have to somehow win over the major service depts, which I rate as next to impossible, given that neither Sun nor IBM is likely to give up Java...ever. J2EE is close to being a final nail in the coffin for the hopes of any successor - support is so widespread, the feature sets are so strong, there are so many contractors who love it, and you can start on JBoss for free, and scale up to a mainframe without rewriting any code.

That's a hard position to fight against Smiley. Sure, java the brand may (or may not) be in trouble, but the enterprise customers generally couldn't care less about brands - they generally just want to know that their preferred vendor can support it, that it's going to be cheap, powerful, and that they can easily swap vendors in the future.

Just my 2 cents worth Smiley. I haven't worked for an IT giant for 4 years now, so I could be very wrong Smiley.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #18 - Posted 2003-10-16 08:04:21 »

Quote
I'd give you 250-1 odds on that.

That's a pretty safe bet to make against most dominant market leaders, since the general rule is that the leader stays leader. Even when a leader wakes up late to an aggressive competitor, their dominant position usually gives them a second chance to save their leadership.

You're right that the high-costs provide an effective barrier of entry into the enterprise computing industry though, and most of Sun's big competitors are too unfocused to pose a real threat to Java. Still, there may be opportunities to establish a niche product that could grow in importance and steal market share from even enterprise computing leaders.

Becoming relevant in the operating system business has been very difficult for quite some time with Microsoft owning the desktop and Unix the enterprise, but Nokia and Ericsson succeeded by creating a focused mobile phone OS brand (Symbian) and that category is rapidly becoming a very relevant part of the whole OS market with the established players rushing to catch up.

Of course enterprise customers say they don't care about brands, just like the majority of cola consumers say they buy Coke because it tastes best but pick Pepsi in blind tests. Don't forget that it was the enterprise  people that once established the phrase "you'll never get fired for buying IBM".
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #19 - Posted 2003-10-20 07:17:05 »

http://theregister.co.uk/content/68/33455.html

"Falling handset prices and the weak dollar hit Nokia's results, leading to a 5% decline in third quarter sales,..As usual, the market was focusing on the short term, something that increasingly frustrates CEO Jorma Ollila,...Not that it has any problems with market share - its unit shipments rose 23% in Q3 to 45.5m, which equates to almost 40% share"

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline Preston

Senior Member


Medals: 4



« Reply #20 - Posted 2003-10-24 15:15:06 »

Quote

(..) A replacement for Java would have to somehow win over the major service depts, which I rate as next to impossible, given that neither Sun nor IBM is likely to give up Java...ever. J2EE is close to being a final nail in the coffin for the hopes of any successor - support is so widespread, the feature sets are so strong, there are so many contractors who love it, and you can start on JBoss for free, and scale up to a mainframe without rewriting any code.

That's a hard position to fight against :). Sure, java the brand may (or may not) be in trouble, but the enterprise customers generally couldn't care less about brands - they generally just want to know that their preferred vendor can support it, that it's going to be cheap, powerful, and that they can easily swap vendors in the future.

Well, that sounds good. Nice to read.  It gives good mood also to try to write some (small) Java games. :-)
Some years ago I've been working for a large IT company and indeed they did use Java (J2EE) heavily (but I've been one of the poor C++ boys). From some ex-colleague I hear they still use Java very much. So probably your thoughts are still valid.
Offline Preston

Senior Member


Medals: 4



« Reply #21 - Posted 2003-10-31 11:48:51 »

I read that last week Nokia said they sold 400 000 units of the N-Gage in total now.
It's been started in the first October week? If so: this number doesn't sound really bad, doesn't it?
Offline Golthar

Junior Member




;)


« Reply #22 - Posted 2003-10-31 12:10:56 »

Quote
And who tf. wants to play games on a feckin' phone anyway??? I mean - a few kids might, but no serious market is going to fall for that one. What we all want is ultrathin ultralight PDAs with a built in phone. Nuff said. Nokia can take their Ngage and stuff it where the sun doesn't shine, which might be anywhere in Finland this time of year Wink

Cas Smiley


Don't dismiss it too quickly.
More and more people are getting phones these days and phones are becomming more powerful.
If you could deliver good games for phones that apeal to casual gamers, you have a large market waiting to be tapped

come visit us: http://www.otf1337.com
Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #23 - Posted 2003-10-31 16:49:19 »

Quote
I read that last week Nokia said they sold 400 000 units of the N-Gage in total now.

When I saw that annoucement I immediately guessed that most of the phones are still lying on the store shelves... but I guess I could be wrong.
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #24 - Posted 2003-11-01 05:55:45 »

Quote

When I saw that annoucement I immediately guessed that most of the phones are still lying on the store shelves... but I guess I could be wrong.


Yes thats my understanding.. that that num,ber is the number pushed out into the retail channel, which means very little, they could be all returned tomorrow.

What matters is the number sold through to end users which I'd guess is much much smaller...


Got a question about Java and game programming?  Just new to the Java Game Development Community?  Try my FAQ.  Its likely you'll learn something!

http://wiki.java.net/bin/view/Games/JeffFAQ
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #25 - Posted 2003-11-12 15:40:25 »

Nice to know your platform is worth hacking, though:

http://theregister.co.uk/content/68/33932.html

At least it shows *someone* cares about the games Tongue

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline cfmdobbie

Senior Member


Medals: 1


Who, me?


« Reply #26 - Posted 2003-11-12 15:50:40 »

...And I think the funniest thing about the current situation is that Sonic has been sucessfully run on competitor's hardware, and it runs fine.  No stuttering, frame dropout, sound problems or anything.

So... Nokia... what's special about your hardware again? Roll Eyes

Hellomynameis Charlie Dobbie.
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