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Nokia NGage Games For Free?

Jakko Kaidesoja, the Head of Nokia’s N-Gage business has spoke of the idea of giving N-Gage games away for free with its handset in a recent interview.

“The concept of free is not a very appealing concept when you are investing a lot of money and creative power in creating the content, and trying to make something that will make people happy,” he says.

“Our first and foremost task as a mobile gaming industry is to prove there is value in mobile gaming. When you have proven that value, then you can think about monetising it in different ways. But if you have a bunch of crappy games that you give away for free by selling some ad space, I don’t think it’s a long-term business model. You destroy the value by creating as low-production cost games as possible and giving them away for free.”


In an interview with Mr Kaidesoja he had very strong and well thought-out views on the risks of the ad-funded model.


“I’m really passionate about this thing, because I’m seeing things I don’t like – even sometimes very near to me – and I get upset,” he says.


This could be in reference to the news from earlier this month that Nokia’s MOSH service has added 800 ad-funded free games to its catalogue. It seems the N-Gage team won’t be adopting the same strategy.


“We need to prove the value first,” he says. “With N-Gage we are taking the first steps with richer graphics, better gameplay, and adding in friends, community and context. But we haven’t proven the value yet. If we send the message out to people that mobile games are free, but they are not very high quality… I don’t think that’s really the thing we should be doing.”

However, Kaidesoja does admit that different business models could have a role to play in the future.

“We are not ruling our advertising titles, subscription titles or all-you-can-eat models in the future, but they would come in the secondary phase once we have got feedback from users,” he says. “We have a long-term strategy behind N-Gage, so we don’t want to do something as a hasty trial that destroys value.”

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