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Upgrade your phone and lose all your N-Gage games

Nokia runs into trouble over non-transfer policy

Product: N-Gage (next gen platform) | Manufacturer: Nokia
N-Gage (next gen platform) N-Gage, thumbnail 1
Just when things seemed to be going smoothly for Nokia's new N-Gage platform, it's emerged that there's one great big flaw: if you buy a new N-Gage phone, you have to buy all your games again.

Hats off to All About N-Gage for discovering this. I didn't believe it at first, but it says Nokia has confirmed the fact that the games are non-transferrable, since the activation code you're sent for each game is tied to your phone's unique IMEI number.

You can delete and re-install the games as many times as you want on that handset, but if you decide to switch, say, your N81 for a swizzy new N-Gage phone in six months time… well, tough luck.

This, of course, isn't a new problem for mobile gamers. Here in the UK, when you upgrade any phone you lose all the Java games you've bought, too.

But given that N-Gage is based around creating a username and profile, it's ridiculous that games are tied to a specific handset, rather than a specific user.

Properly, embarrassingly ridiculous considering N-Gage games cost £6-8.

The problem is surely solvable, even if it initially has to be via some kind of workaround. For example, customer services issuing new activation codes if you can prove that you bought a game before for a different handset.

People are increasingly looking to upgrade their phone once a year, particularly the tech-savvy people who are buying Nokia's Nseries handsets.

Hopefully Nokia will change its policy – and soon – to ensure these customers don't have to pay for games again if they want to keep on playing them after an upgrade.

We're contacting Nokia to get their take on the issue, and will bring you further news.

Reviewer photo
Stuart Dredge 22 May 2008
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