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N-Gage customers forced to repurchase games

Nokia slammed for phone upgrade policy

Nokia has come in for criticism from consumers using its N-Gage gaming platform, since it transpired that games can only be played on the phone they were purchased on. When a user buys a new phone, the games have to be purchased again.

"I have an N95 8 GB and a number of N-Gage games, I was going to buy an N96 but if I can't transfer my games don't think I'll bother," writes one user on the Official N-Gage Forum.

"Changes need to be made soon, and sticking one's head in the sand will not change anybody's mind," writes another user in the same forum.

Nokia relaunched its gaming platform at the beginning of April with this licensing policy in place. It allows owners of the N81, N82 and N95 to download games, such as Fifa 08, World Series of Poker Pro Challenge and Tetris. Each game costs between €6 (£4) and €10 (£7).

Fan Website All About N-Gage noticed the licensing terms and got confirmation from Nokia that games can't be transferred to another phone.

Limiting the use of games to just one phone threatens the platform's future, argues All About N-Gage, which calls this the first blunder since the relaunch.

The site claims the terms punish Nokia's biggest fans the most: the more frequently you upgrade to the latest Nokia phone, the more often you will have to re-buy games.

Controversy surrounding licensing terms and downloaded content is certainly not new, according to Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at CCS Insight.

He doesn't think it's necessary for Nokia to change its licensing terms, and that the cost of the games make them acceptable.

"It's all about marketing. Nokia has to make the licensing terms clearer, so users know what they are getting," Pescatore said.

All About N-Gage takes a harder stance, saying it's not too late to allow transfers, and it would be much better to alter the policy now while the number of users is still small and the damage is very limited.

UPDATE: Nokia has insisted that the rumours are incorrect, and that a mechanism will soon be in place to allow users to transfer games. Read the full story here.

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