Nokia is taking the axe to its mobile gaming platform, N-Gage. In a Friday blog post, the company said it will stop publishing new games for the N-Gage platform next year.
Games will be available through Nokia’s Ovi Store until September 2010, and the platform’s Web site will remain in operation throughout the next year. N-Gage games will still function on compatible handsets after the store closes, but Nokia is disabling the community features of the games in September 2010.
The end of the problem-plagued N-Gage service came after several launch delays and the 2006 cancellation of a gaming handset named after the service. Nokia said it will instead focus its mobile gaming efforts on its Ovi Store, where games are currently the second most popular app download.
The nixing of N-Gage comes as Nokia is trying to gain a foothold in the increasingly important smartphone market. Nokia’s dominant global market share is widely attributable to entry level handsets, and its forays into the high-end market have so far met with limited success.
According to In-Stat, Nokia has seen its market share in Wi-Fi handsets slip significantly over the past year. The handset manufacturer had over half of the market in the second quarter of 2008, but that number slipped to under 40 percent by the second quarter of 2009 as competing smartphones from Apple and Research In Motion ate into Nokia’s market share.