N-Gage jumps to the N-Series

We've known for ages that any old Series 60 handset – from the Nokia 6600 to the Siemens SX1 – is capable of playing N-Gage games, provided you have t

We've known for ages that any old Series 60 handset – from the Nokia 6600 to the Siemens SX1 – is capable of playing N-Gage games, provided you have the right software on board.

We've also known that Nokia has been considering rolling out that software – in an official version – on all of its new N-Series phones.

Well, it now looks like that's going ahead with a date pencilled in for this January. In an interview with Reuters, the head of Nokia's Multimedia division admitted that the purpose built phone-gamer's been about as successful as a Man Utd Champions League run [story here]. After selling just a third of the numbers he hoped for, he's decided it's time to wave the white flag and call in the N-Series cavalry.

It's hardly surprising. The Finnish firm's already stated it won't be building any new N-Gage replacements till at least 2007. With most people ditching their handsets every twelve months it would have left very few punters still buying the N-Gage games that Nokia says it's still committed to making.

The question is whether gamers will really be interested in playing the games on a phone with a standard keypad and no dedicated controls. With the likes of the PSP and DS to compete with, we can't see this sticking plaster move saving Nokia's gaming skin.

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Nokia not best pleased with N-Gage