N-Gage Gaming Platform for Nokia
Email this case study to a friend
Exploring the social side of mobile gaming
As mobile gaming reaches a $7 billion industry, the race between developers, publishers, and platform holders to set the standard in user experience is heating up. Nokia, having emerged as one of the market’s prominent players, looked for a partner in IDEO, who had a shared passion for consumer understanding, to reinvent the gaming experience for the their new line of Nokia Nseries smartphones.
In 2004, Nokia launched the original N-Gage, a dedicated gaming device that was more controller than a handset. Looking to define the platform’s next generation interface and take gaming from a niche offering to an integral part of multimedia handsets, Nokia and IDEO began looking at the complete user experience, from social, emotional, and functional standpoints.
IDEO observed the gaming experience around the world in both direct and analogous environments. The team learned that currently, in most countries, mobile gaming is about killing time. However, it is increasingly becoming a way of forging and nurturing social connections with people near and far.
Using these and other insights as a framework, Nokia and IDEO created a holistic user interface that pulled together existing Nokia offerings to enable people to seamlessly shift between gaming, socializing, and working.
By navigating through a series of menus on the Nokia Nseries smartphones, the gamer can quickly access a game portal and management system—N-Gage Arena—to try, buy, and play games. A number of features geared toward promoting a social culture of gaming were also included in the interface, such as ratings and award systems that allow gamers to track and share their scores and progress.
Project date: 2006
Facts & Figures
- Tomi Huttula, Director, Product Management, Nokia