Sunday, February 15, 2009

Random Blog: N-Gage: What could have been

When the N-Gage was announced in ’03, there was very little buzz around it. Gamers were unsure of what they thought of a gaming telephone, and anyone who wasn’t a gamer sure as hell wasn’t going to buy one. Well of course not, it looked like a freakin’ taco.
Recently Nokia "moved" the N-Gage to a series of phones. Basically meaning they withdrew support and decided they would put ARM processors into new phones.
What went wrong with the entire thing is
  1. The price. $300 for a phone that played games that looked like they were below PS1-quality.
  2. It was easily outsold by the GBA.
  3. In order to change the game you had to open the back of the deck and change out game cards.

The latter was changed with the introduction of the N-Gage QD: there was a side slot to easily change games. The graphical problems continued since the games were still low-quality.

Sure, the N-Gage could do a lot of things: play games, browse the web, make phone calls, play mp3s, etc., but what did it matter if the games sucked? That’s all that gamers were looking for and that's what most of the advertising went towards. And with the promise of the release of the Playstation Portable and the Nintendo DS, what reason was there to get one?
The N-Gage could have succeeded if it had waited 2 or 3 years. They could have taken a lot from other devices, such as the iPod, with the touch-sensitivity, a touch-screen like the DS, and media compatibility like the PSP.

If they had made it a sliding phone, the above would have been possible. I’ve used the Nvidia Tegra as an example, meaning I just drew on the thing to show you what imagine it could have been.
KEEP IN MIND: THIS IS THE NVIDIA TEGRA, NOT SOMETHING DRAWN BY ME, I’ve only drawn on the imagine. Even then, I'm sure this is a prototype image.

As you can see the N-Gage could have worked, the media-type could have been games DLed to the memory stick, DLed wirelessly, or bought in a store.
The two circles represent control stick areas, this is where the iPod touch-sensitivty comes into play. During game play the numbers and letters fade and the rings light up representing the touch areas. It has standard 4-buttons and shoulders buttons like on a console controller, as well as Start and Select. The Alt keys are replaced by start and select buttons. As for the screen to be touch-compatible, I'm sure that would jack the price up by about $50-$100.

If they had only waited, the N-Gage might have survived.

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