Thursday, August 30, 2007

Persistence or Stubbornness? Keep the big picture in perspective.

Persistence is sometimes looked upon as a strength. Persistence in a vision and carrying out effectively is necessary. This is Apple’s model. They have proven it with both their iPod and iPhone. Nokia, on the other hand, is about to be persistent…yet again. The communications giant is planning to re-launch the Nokia N-Gage series after failing twice.

Back in 2005, N-Gage was one of the first to offer an integrated mobile phone and video game console device. The idea was interesting and a novelty. The younger generation opted for it as they could good quality games on their phones.

The concept of two in one devices is not new. History and statistics tend to indicate that single application devices are more successful than integrated ones. Integrated devices would be better off if they clearly defined its priorities.

We can already play games on our phones though there are limitations in terms of resolution, speed and genre. The same applies to snapping photographs on our phones. However, we accept these limitations because we understand the primary function of the device. If you try to promote a video game console on a mobile phone, you undoubtedly risk disappointing your core audience.

Nokia learnt this lesson the hard way and will now introduce new features in their product. For example, you do not have to remove the battery to play games. You can play online with your friends. You will be match to similar ranking players to avoid competing with advanced gamers. You will even be able to demo games before purchasing it.

Will these be enough to make the third series of N-Gage into a success? Somehow, I am skeptical because of the mere presence of PSP and Nintendo DS. If you are a hardcore gamer, chances are you will lean towards PSP, upcoming PSP2 or even Nintendo DS. Sony and Nintendo have produced consumer-appreciated devices in terms of size, portability, battery life and game quality.

N-Gage, on the other hand, has been unable to match it from either a size or game titles perspective. So if you are not a hardcore gamer or are someone who is satisfied with typical games on mobile phones, why would consider a bulkier device with limited game choices? It will be an unlikely option for teenagers even if Nokia dropped its price.

This is a good example of lost focus. Nokia is trying to find reasons to make N-Gage successful. Changing the design or incorporating new features is probably going to make consumers more confused. I hope for Nokia’s sake that I am wrong. The missing element here is consumer insight. Trying to hard to fulfill your desire, may only lead you to lose focus on the primary objective.

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