Behind N-Gage Relaunch, Nokia ‘Underperforms’ On Mobile Games

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) resurrected its N-Gage games device as a platform for Nseries phones at CTIA last week – now M:Metrics has given us data showing why the handset maker is trying again.

Some 20.1 percent (5.9 million) of Nokia owners played a mobile game in February – behind the 21.4 percent market average. Just 6.2 percent of Nokia owners played a game they had downloaded themselves, versus 8.9 percent across the market. And only 2.7 percent of Nokia owners downloaded a new game, against 3.4 percent more generally.

Nokia is currently underperforming in the games market today primarily due to the fact that the US market is flooded with low-end, free Nokia phones that came with carrier contracts,” said Mark Donovan, senior analyst, M:Metrics. “Today, N-Series devices are still quite expensive and are not widely distributed in carrier channels, resulting in low market adoption.”

It’s a different story for those Nokia handsets running the latest Symbian OS, though – 30.8 percent of them played a game, pointing to justification behind the N-Gage strategy.

M:Metrics said 48.4 million people played a mobile game in February (up from 45.2 million the previous year), 20.2 million downloaded a game they had downloaded (up from 18.5 million) and 7.6 million people downloaded a new game (up from 6.8 million)