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Community is key to Nokia's strategy, says Howard

Connected experience "the lifeblood" of new N-Gage

Scott Howard, network games product manager for Nokia, has said connected experiences are "the lifeblood" of the new N-Gage approach to mobile gaming.

In a session at the Develop Conference in Brighton, he demonstrated how the company has learned lessons from the demise of its dedicated handheld device - focusing on community aspects that can sit around the games across a whole range of handsets.

Showcasing a raft of functions which should seem familiar to anybody who uses Microsoft's Xbox Live platform, he explained how Nokia aims to transform the user experience into "smooth, efficient, easy steps". This, Howard said, could revolutionise the way that phone users perceive the device as a games platform.

The key to the strategy is the ability for players to connect quickly and easily with others to play online, and Nokia has worked with a large number of operators globally to make this possible.

On top of that users can try out, rate and recommend games, establish a friends list and, over time, win Nokia points based on various achievements within the games.

The titles themselves can be purchased in a variety of ways, including an option to buy in-game, and are available at a range of price points depending on how much of the game the user wishes to unlock.

Some of the problems the mobile industry faces, most notably price points for being online and downloading applications, is down to the operators - and according to Howard it's been a "pain in the ass" to work with them at times.

However in building a platform that's consistent across multiple handsets, with plenty of community options, Nokia is confident that the N-Gage platform is something that should improve the experience for developers and gamers alike.

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