updated 03:25 pm EDT, Fri October 30, 2009
Nokia N-Gage closes in 2010
Nokia today closed a chapter in its online history today with news that it would close its N-Gage gaming service. The company plans to shutter the game download and community in September 2010 and is moving all its users over to the Ovi Store. Games on devices and in the store will remain, but Nokia warns that community features like high scores will come to an end as part of the switchover.
The move is explained as a desire to consolidate all its downloads into a single location and promises to add the community element back at an unspecified date.
The service merger reflects pressure on Nokia to emulate the iPhone's business model, which unlike N-Gage doesn't segregate games from regular apps. Apple's platform lacks a cohesive community but has also popularized mobile gaming and encouraged many game developers to write only for the iPhone and iPod touch despite Nokia's larger market share and theoretically longer reach.
N-Gage as is relatively short-lived and, outside of Nokia's ill-fated N-Gage cellphones, only began in earnest with the release of the N81 as the first gaming-specific phone from Nokia.