Thursday, March 8, 2007

N-Gage again

However stupid it might be to keep the N-Gage brand, which I "discussed" yesterday, this blog isn't focused on marketing, but on technology. Therefore it's nice to see some talk about the new N-Gage platform from a technological perspective. Finally we get some facts, although they may not be as detailed as we'd wish for.

What's said in this interview gives me some seriously good vibes. Open C and custom API:s are used to give the developers a much more convenient platform to work with than the regular Symbian framework. It's really nice to see Nokia people admit that Symbian is a horrible platform to write code for. It seems the games team are also having some positive influences on hardware design within Nokia, although it remains to be seen what consequences that will have in practice.

One thing I've been wondering about is how they're going to tackle the problem that some devices will have 3d hardware, while others won't. I'm assuming that you'll be able to run N-Gage games on non-accelerated phones as well. I suppose they'll try the usual solutions: provide both 2d and 3d versions of the same games, or make the real high-end games available in heavily stripped down software 3d versions for non-accelerated devices, or just require a more powerful handset for some games. However, the last option will seriously limit the market for some games, until cheaper devices will also be equipped with 3d cards.

No matter what happens, I'm pretty sure we're going to see some mobile games that will put everything that's available today to shame. With 3d hardware and TV-out (eg. on the N93) mobile phones could soon be competing with "real" consoles, like the PSP and DS. (Yes yes, I know, mobile phones suck as gaming consoles, but that might actually change some day...)

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