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N-Gage First Access debut date slips... again

November December 2008?

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Nokia's revamped N-Gage online gaming platform has fallen further behind schedule, the Finnish phone giant's official N-gage blog has admitted.

An "unexpected" issue exposed by N-Gage First Access Platform testers prompted Nokia to delay the launch, planned for this week, the blog said. The launch has been put back until after Christmas at the earliest, and probably into the New Year. However, the games and the service itself were said to be "working smoothly".

Originally due to be made available in November, the opening of N-Gage First Access Platform was first put back to December, with the launch planned for this week in order to get the service up and running by the end of the year.

When it goes live, the service will allow owners of Nokia's N81 and N81 8GB handsets - reviewed here - to download games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, The Sims 2 Pets, World Series of Poker, Brothers in Arms and Dogz.

N-Gage will eventually work with the N73, N82, N93, N93i, N95 and N95 8GB.

The First Access programme is essentially a glorified public beta test, allowing Nokia to gauge demand for the service.

"As we work on a solution, we will continue to polish the overall experience, ready more games for N-Gage First Access, carry on our extensive internal testing over the holidays, and prepare for the new year and the new wave of mobile play," the blog said.

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Nokia N81
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