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N-Gage price drop, redesign

Underperforming "game deck" drops to $99, with software also dropping a few bucks.

The N-Gage QD is to drop in price to $99.99 in the United States, Nokia has today announced, in an effort to make the system more attractive to consumers in the region - which has so far been the toughest for the N-Gage products to crack.

As well as the fall in the price of the hardware, Nokia has also taken the more unusual step of dropping software prices, with new titles now set to appear at $14.99 to $24.99 - far cheaper than most games for other handheld consoles, and close to being competitive with high-end downloaded games.

Speaking to news agency Reuters at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week, Nokia's director and general manager of the games business, Gerard Wiener, revealed that the firm is also considering a second redesign to the hardware.

"We're looking at new colours, a new look and feel for the QD in the next few months," he admitted, going on to say that the firm is also working on brand new N-Gage designs and that the future of the platform may involve versions which talk to high-speed CDMA mobile phone networks.

Despite putting significant weight behind the launch of the original device, and responding quickly to consumer feedback by launching the much-improved N-Gage QD handset within a matter of months, Nokia has had very limited success with N-Gage - selling only 1.5 million units of the platform worldwide to date.

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