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Liveblog: Nokia Games Summit keynote address

Tero Ojanpera talks N-Gage
Liveblog: Nokia Games Summit keynote address
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We're liveblogging the keynote address at Nokia Games Summit, in which EVP of entertainment and communities Tero Ojanpera will (hopefully) spill all manner of beans on Nokia's plans for N-Gage, and mobile gaming in general.

The liveblog is in chronological order, so keep refreshing for the latest info, which will be added to the end of the piece.

9.16: Tero takes the stage, and immediately draws the parallel between Rome's ancient games, and modern mobile games. Hopefully there's no rampant lions today, though. Perhaps they can be released if Tero doesn't cough up some N-Gage numbers...

9.18: "Our vision is about a world where everybody can be connected," he says, citing the one billion Nokia users, of which a decent chunk are hooked up to the mobile internet. "Phone is the new computer. It's the thing we use to access the internet, and internet is the glue that will bring everything together."

9.20: Now Tero's giving the Ovi talk, abotu Nokia's suite of content services. "The interesting thing comes when we start to mix these services," he says. "Gaming and music will go together - I'll talk about that later on - maps and gaming, and location and gaming will be connected.

A-ha, so there's a music gaming focus today. Nokia is presumably hoping to catch the Guitar Hero / Rock Band hypewave, which seems a sensible move.

9.22: Now he's talking about context-aware web services. Wossat? "Context means time, place and people. If you think about a game, and how you connect it to a time, places and people..." says Tero.

"There will be 300 million GPS-enabled phones by 2010, so what can you do with that platform when you think about gameplay? I think there is some room for innovation there. If I land in Rome, my device will know I am there. N-Gage would offer a Rome installment of the fighting game ONE, and I would start to play that one. And I would learn from Ovi who are my friends who have arrived here in Rome - they would be alerted that Tero has just downloaded ONE, we can set up a competition."

Coo. This is pretty blue-sky, though - how soon will this kind of joined-up location-based gaming community experience actually be available?

9.24: "Bringing these things together in a new way will enhance the gaming experience and make it part of your life," he says.

Gaming is hugely important to Nokia, says Tero. "People are playing 78% more downloaded games than they did three years ago on their mobiles, and 51% more embedded games," he says. Stats! But he admits that "mobile gaming is still a small market", and that Nokia wants to make it bigger.

9.26: Now Tero explains the genres that Nokia targets with N-Gage. Core gamers get titles like ONE and Dirk Dagger, casual gamers get Bounce Boing Voyage and Creatures Of The Deep, Tero says the latter is the best-selling N-Gage game so far.

Web 2.0 heads get Yamake and Reset Generation, while feminine gamers (er, women? oh, it's people who "don't like killing and beating"), and then personal development fans get something called Sports Tracker.

Is that new? Something to do with doing sports and tracking your performance against others.

Finally there's local games (for local people). "We will be introducing something very interesting in this category in the near future," says Tero. Intriguing.

9.30: Now he's onto the N-Gage application, explaining what it does. Most of the audience will presumably know this, though. "We have already today over 400,000 N-Gage Arena player profiles," he says. "This is only a couple of months that we have been active, and it's growing fast. We are getting big momentum."

400k N-Gage Arena players, that's another stat to chew over.

9.32: And more stats. N-Gage went live properly in April this year. "We are seeing people buying and making transactions in 130 countries," he says. "The most active players so far are in the UK, also italy, Germany, Australia and Spain."

The repeat purchase rate is over 35% globally, which Tero says is a "great start". "So far we have tens of millions of N-Gage compatible devices out there," he continues. The real thing would be to say how many of those devices a.) have the client on, and b.) it's actually being used.

Tero says embedding the N-Gage app is the big thing for Nokia now, having started with the N96. "The curve of registered users is bending up nicely," he says.

9.34: "Going local is critical. When you think about countries like China, where people say you can't sell anything, we think you can. We have localised the N-Gage application for China, and pay with the leading virtual currency in China" - Q2 coins? Something like that.

Nokia also has a localised service and operator billing in Russia, which Tero says highlights Nokia's desire to do business in countries that might not be immediately thought of as big mobile gaming markets. India and Latin America too.

9.36: Ooh, operators. Tero talks about Nokia's collaboration with Vodafone on an exclusive N85 bundle with the N-Gage application preloaded, and THQ's Star Wars: The Force Unleashed game. "This is going live in Europe and Canada," he says. "We see other examples going on at the moment that we are discussing. It's really a win-win for Nokia, the operators and consumers"

That'd be a win-win-win, surely?

9.40: I think it's about to get blue-sky again - Tero has a slide up saying 'Innovation and Opportunities', with a man jumping in the air in front of, well, a blue sky.

He starts with Reset Generation's web-to-mobile features, letting people play on their PCs for free. "It's an interesting game because it's really about multiplayer gaming, and it uses all the features of N-Gage," says Tero.

Right. "Anybody here likes dancing?" he says, announcing a new game called Dance Fabulous, which is a music rhythm game where you create your own dance moves, then share them with friends.

"It's about creating, customising and controlling your own avatars which can be then made to move," he says. "It was created together with Dave Stewart [a-ha!], and we got together and started to talk a year or two ago about how games and entertainment fit together."

The game will also introduce a new singer called Cindy Gomez through this mobile game - you can MySpace her, she's a real singer, not an avatar. "You will also have some of the dance moves from her that we captured in a studio, in the game," says Tero.

The game will be available later in 2009, and Nokia is looking to integrate it with the Nokia Music Store - "so you can get even more music into this gameplay".

9.46: Tero talks about Yamake as another example of innovative N-Gage games, with its ability for players to create and share simple mini-games with friends.

9.48: "We believe the unique capabilities [of devices] is driving the next wave of innovation in games," says Tero.

And that's it. Well, a few more figures would have been nice, and it seems Nokia is holding powder on any big platform announcements until (hopefully) later today. We'll keep you posted.