GDC 2008 - Nokia Talks N-Gage and First Access
"You love me. You really love me."
Joystiq's Christopher Grant sat down with Nokia's Head of Production, J. Dan Scott to talk about the release date for the new N-Gage. What he got was basically the industry equivalent of a shrug, but what we do know now is that Nokia's intends to use its recently released First Access gaming service to support the console when it does finally launch. First Access, if you don't know, is Nokia's online game purchasing system, but it also features a pre-release version of the upcoming N-Gage platform.
So far, around 30, 000 people have downloaded the First Access client; a far larger number than Scott's anticipated 2000. It seems that people are more interested in the N-Gage than anyone would've guessed (especially since its first incarnation went out with little more than a whimper). The client was only intended for the Nokia N81 handset originally, but online enthusiasts created a workaround for N95 support only a day after its initial release, and thousands of games have been purchased on the service so far.
Scott's biggest concerns at the moment, though, seem to rest with perceptions of the mobile games industry, and in that regard, he's on board with just about every other mobile publisher.
"The largest challenge: getting out of the mobile industry's 'landfill stage' and prove to consumers (and skeptical game bloggers!) that quality gaming is possible on a mobile handset, while proving to third-party publishers that investing in developing quality games can be a lucrative endeavor."