Capcom, Vivendi Games Mobile Supporting Revamped N-Gage
Nokia has made it a habit to make an announcement every time a publisher announces its intention to support the Finnish company's next generation N-Gage platform, with two such announcements coming this week. Vivendi Games Mobile and Capcom Interactive will both be supporting Nokia's new initiative, joining the likes of Digital Chocolate, Gameloft, EA Mobile, and I-Play, who have already announced their support.
First up is VG Mobile, which is bringing its mascot franchise Crash Bandicoot to N-Gage this fall. No gameplay details were announced, but its likely that the title will be another SKU for Vivendi's Fall 2007 console and mobile Crash title, Crash Boom Bang. That game shifts the focus away from platforming, and more towards cartoony combat.
Capcom's specific-N-Gage plans were not announced, beyond that its first title for the platform will not be available until 2008. Of note is that Capcom is the first Japan-based publisher to announce N-Gage support.
Nokia has taken significant steps to right perceived wrongs with the initial N-Gage. Rather can creating a dedicated mobile gaming device, Nokia has instead placed its focus on an N-Gage application that will run across a variety of high-end Nokia handsets. N73, N81, N93, N93i, and N95 support has been confirmed for this fall's launch.
The new N-Gage application strongly resembles Microsoft's Xbox Live, only modified for the third screen. Gamers have a friends list, messaging system, and trophy room system that sits above individual games. Gamers can also download free game trials and discover new titles more organically.
Qualcomm and Microsoft itself are also both entering the space, Qualcomm with its BREW Signature Solution, and Microsoft with MS Live Anywhere. All three companies have legitimate reasons to claim that they're the company best positioned to power a mobile gaming social & shopping platform, but as of yet no clear frontrunner has emerged.