Firstly, I'd like to thank Nokia for entering the mobile gaming industry with the N-GAGE. im writing this at very late night, so excuse for any miss spelling.
This thread is not a question, but my opinions only mobile gaming and the state its in as of now. Hoever i would also address N-GAGE and AGB pros and cons in this topic.
Nokia says it "serious" about mobile gaming, if so..please listen to my opinions. I respect Nokia for entering into the market,which has been NCL for many years. I am unaware of the business model related to the N-GAGE, or its target demographics(i assume mature people). Im not known the price of N-GAGE..
i forget to mention that i am Industrail Designer by profession, for a major computer company.
The N-GAGE name from a consumer stand point is not so appealing, due to lack of related words to gaming, what does GAGE have to with video games? Whereas, SCEI and NCL have much simplifed name in connect with gaming. The N-GAGE logo is also not appealing..
The N-GAGE hardware is interesting, to say the least with 104 MHz ARM cpu. Though you must understand that video games console are not successful by pure HW power alone. Marketing and Game content are more import. The N-GAGE falls short, in it trys to do so much at what price point? It trys to be cell phone and gaming device. In the gaming industry it is of a black and white issue, what i mean is..if is intented to be a video game handheld..then design as such. Or if it is intented to be cell phone then design it as such, the market is not ready for a hyrbid mobile gaming device/cell phone as Nokia approach to it.
The design flaws of N-GAGE is not due to the designers, but to the nature of the device and it intented usage. As a gaming device, the N-GAGE button layout is very "bad". It would be tough to play a fighting gaming or any type of game for that matter, due to the spacing of the buttons and numbers of them. In conjunction with the layout, it push the LCD screen resolution to an old aspect ratio(like and arcade) when it should be standarded 4:3 ratio. Im not aware of the 3D capabalities of this device, but to compliment it,..the LCD fps must be at least 30 fps. AGB fps is about 15 fps,which is not ideal to display 3DCG.
N-GAGE is not the only company to enter the mobile gaming industry. GamePark also one, but did not make a big impact at all..due to its policies which like N-GAGE.
To Nokia, if you really wish to be successful with N-GAGE and if you are really serious about the mobile gaming industry..listen to what i had to say, and address the design issues with the current design. Thats a good start.