Sure, there aren't any more N-Gage-branded gaming devices, and Nokia has waned in the eyes of the game-playing public, but that hasn't stopped the Finnish company's undeniable presence at E3. Its large, flashy booth was one of the first I noticed when I walked into South Hall, with the Nokia N-series smart phones splayed out on orange and white platforms, all of them loaded with new N-Gage games.
The emphasis here is new. Nokia's big announcement at E3 is the launch of six next-generation N-Gage games made specifically for the new N-Gage gaming platform. They are Creatures of the Deep, a fishing game; One, a fighting game; Pocket Aces, a poker game; Pro Series Golf; Space Impact, a space shooter; and System Rush: Evolution for racing. In addition, Nokia announced a partnership with Gameloft, a mobile-games publisher that will develop some of its more popular franchises for the N-Gage platform.
As a recap, the N-Gage gaming platform will come preinstalled on a variety of Nokia smart phones. It lets you find, buy, and play any of the Nokia games. Plus, the next-gen games will be compatible with N-Gage Arena, a community feature that allows for multiplayer gaming, one of the main forces driving cell phone gaming.
While these new games and partnerships may sound like a noble effort to repopularize the N-Gage brand, Nokia also mentioned that the N-Gage platform won't be ready until the first half of 2007. That is a terribly long time to wait, especially with the competition from the Nintendo DS, the PSP, and even cell phone carriers such as Sprint Nextel, which has its own lineup of games. We mentioned a few days ago that it's getting closer to put-up or shut-up time for Nokia. And unfortunately, we're still waiting.