In another setback for its push into the services business, Nokia is to close its N-Gage gaming platform.
The platform, which has only been operating since last year, will continue to run until the end of 2010 but no new games will be published, Nokia said.
From now on users will be able to buy games from the Nokia’s Ovi app store, Nokia said. “As mobile gaming evolves and begins to encompass social gaming, we want to offer one store front with an even broader portfolio of games – games for everyone,” said a blog posting from the Nokia games team.
It noted that games were the second most downloaded category of premium content from Ovi.
Nokia said it would continue to sell devices with the N-Gage app pre-installed for some time, but it would not be pre-installed on new devices.
Games will available through the Ovi Store, which is supported by 100 Nokia phones. Ovi will be pre-installed on “most” new Nokia devices, including the Symbian S60 and Series 40, from Q4 2009.
Nokia launched N-Gage with a much-derided taco shell-shaped device in October 2003, with a price tag much higher than competitors such as Game Boy. Nokia has not released sales, but it reportedly had shipped 2 million units by 2007.
Its N-Gage online gaming service, launched last year, attracted games from leading firms such as Electronic Arts and Gameloft, but never gained traction with gamers.
“It's a sign of a more realistic approach. It's time to bury the dead and focus on the future,” Tero Kuittinen, an analyst at MKM Partners, told Reuters.