N-Gage says Pah! to PlayStation Phone

Jaakko Kaidesoja, the Nokia Games boss, has told journos at an exclusive event in Lapland that he's not at all worried about Sony's rumoured PlayStation phone.

Kaidesoja was bullish, stating: "I'm not scared about anybody. The real question is how do they [Sony Ericsson] do it? Can they create a link between the PSP games and a phone? Can they do the multiplayer and online stuff? We've been doing this for two years and it hasn't been easy".

The briefing also saw Kaidesoja comment on the issue of the N-Gage First Access being hacked to work on other handsets. And his response was surprising.

"We knew people would crack it", he said. "Cracking a sisx file isn't that hard, so of course we expected it. And it's good to get feedback on the First Access application even from people with other handsets."

As our very own Amy-Mae Elliott reported yesterday from Finland, it will just a matter of weeks before wider Nseries launches.

Kaidesoja added that there'll be six to eight games at launch, meaning there'll hopefully be two additional titles to the six already released for First Access - details of which were published at the beginning of the month.

But he continued that the games launches may be staggered: "It may be that we launch with six titles, and then two more come the week after, and two more the week after that", he said.

But the N-Gage platform will initially only be suitable for the N82 and both N95 handsets.

Kaidesoja admitted that there have been "some memory issues" with the N73 phone and so N-Gage won't be released for it until Q2.

Kaidesoja was also quizzed on the quality of the third party games being offered with the platform - which include Tetris, Block Breaker Deluxe and World Series of Poker: Pro Challenge.

"Whenever you have a new platform, you don't fully show its qualities", he says. "When you look at the EA stuff and Block Breaker Deluxe, it's not fully exploiting the SDK and all the capabilities it has to offer. But we are developing the SDK all the time, and during the second quarter we will see more innovative stuff."

Kaidesoja would not give anything away though when it came to the crunch question of whether there is to be a dedicated N-Gage games handset.

He replied only: "There are no plans to release, but no plans not to release", said Kaidesoja.

"Broadening the device base is an obvious choice. We have tried with the N81 to have some ergonomics for gaming, and I don't think we are perfect yet. We haven't ruled it out, but we are not planning it either", he added.

He did reveal, however, that Nokia is working on making N-Gage games work with touchscreen handsets and will release several this year.

"We are working with the application to make it adaptable for the touchscreen environment", said Kaidesoja.

"There will need to be games that support touchscreens. They won't necessarily be there on day one [when the touchscreen handsets launch], since you have to have nine months development time, and it has to be in the SDK. But we will get there."