With Nokia putting more focus on its iPhone App Store competitor, the Ovi Store, the mobile phone giant has confirmed it is phasing out its beleaguered N-Gage gaming platform in 2010.
The news came by way of a question-and-answer post
on the official N-Gage weblog, in which a company spokesperson said Nokia will cease N-Gage software publishing.
The company will maintain community features for games through 2010, and will keep the N-Gage store open through September, after which the existing set of N-Gage games will no longer be available to buy.
N-Gage launched as a dedicated game-focused mobile phone hardware platform in 2003, with games published on MMC cartridges. A redesigned device, the N-Gage QD, was released the following year.
Widely criticized early on for its form factor and limited game library, the N-Gage was largely unable to shed its negative gamer reputation even as those concerns were somewhat addressed.
Nokia completely revamped the platform in early 2008 as a digital distribution-powered software platform supporting numerous Nokia phones, rather than as a fixed single hardware platform. Since then, the library has grown to roughly 50 games.
The current N-Gage service has been considerably better received than its predecessor, although the continuity of the name has made it difficult for the platform to succeed in changing long-held gamer preconceptions.
"The Ovi Store will be the new central place for all the mobile games that Nokia and other publishers offer from this point forward," the rep said. "We will no longer publish new games for the N-Gage platform."
"*Sigh*," wrote N-Gage user jared in response to the news. "The best things in life always fade to pleasant memories."