Nokia has announced that worldwide shipments of its N-Gage game deck have passed the one million mark for the first time since the platform was first launched 11 months ago. During that time the device was heavily revised, with the newer QD version featuring many changes from the original model’s specification.
In a statement, Nokia called the news “a significant milestone” in the portable gaming market. The one million amount refers to the number of devices in circulation rather than those actually sold to customers.
The Nokia N-Gage, along with its more recent update N-Gage QD, is a pocket-sized games system that includes smartphone features.
“We’re proud to have reached the one million milestone. Thanks to the enthusiastic consumer response to the N-Gage QD and our latest titles, we’re confident that our success in leading the mobile gaming world will continue,” said Ilkka Raiskinen, Nokia senior vice president of games.
Raiskinen also revealed that Nokia had signed up more than 100,000 N-Gage Arena members. The N-Gage Arena is a global mobile gamer community where members can communicate with each other, compete against gamers in other locations and access exclusive content, events and activities. Members can connect to the N-Gage Arena via their game deck, Arena-enabled game or through the internet.
Nokia said that it would further expand the number of games available for the N-Gage platform in time for the Christmas market. Anticipated titles include Pathway to Glory, Pocket Kingdom: Own the World, FIFA 2005 and others.
Nokia did not meet its one million mark without some hitches along the route. A mere seven months after first releasing the first N-Gage, it launched the successor which addressed many of the widely perceived snags with the earlier version, including issues with battery life, gaming controls and the phone mode. The QD was fitted with a hot-swappable slot for installing new games whereas with the first N-Gage, users had to remove the battery in order to fit games cartridges.
In phone mode, the position of the microphone and speaker on the QD were rearranged and placed on the front of the device, more akin to a standard mobile phone. The earlier N-Gage came in for criticism because users had to hold the device like a seashell when making calls.
By Gordon Smith