updated 11:10 am EDT, Fri October 10, 2008
N-Gage vs. App Store
Nokia's N-Gage download service has the potential to dwarf the App Store in terms of mobile game sales, say parties within the gaming industry. Reuters reports that while N-Gage has achieved relatively little so far in its six months of operation, this is mainly because people have mostly had to install the necessary software themselves, something which is beginning to change with phones like the N85.
While the App Store has been instantly accessible from iPhones since July 11th, and Apple expects to have sold 10 million phones within 2008 alone, Nokia is said to be such a dominant force in the global market that it could reach 10 times the number of people. N-Gage is also described as an ideal vehicle for selling games. "In many ways the N-Gage design reflects an insider's view of how to solve the merchandising challenges that we have all seen in this business for so long," says Greg Ballard, CEO of game publisher Glu Mobile. "It was like a bunch of us had gotten together and said, 'Here, this is how it should be done,'" he comments.
This view is echoed by Javier Ferreira, Electronic Arts' head of mobile publishing for Europe. Despite EA's heavy presence in the iPhone world, the company is also heavily invested in N-Gage. "All the right pieces are in place from our perspective. We're very excited about this platform. It is very difficult for this not to be successful," says Ferreira.
N-Gage is only expected to become a significant factor in 2009, as phones like the N85 and N96 enter widescale distribution. Apple and Nokia may both stand to gain considerable revenue from gaming, as games currently account for about 50 percent of all cellphone downloads, and the total worth of the 2008 gaming market is expected to sit between $4 and $8 billion.