Yesterday Nokia released a preview version of its highly anticipated N-gage gaming platform, called First Access and intended only for owners of the N81 haandset. Within a few hours the S60 community had figured out how to get the app installed on other Nseries handsets, which is a good sign of how eagerly fans have been waiting for the platform, which was supposed to launch in September 2007, but got delayed repeatedly.
I’ve spent several hours with the new platform on my N95 and have to say, while there’s some serious potential, in its current state the application is clearly still alpha. There are four games available and users are currently able to fully use the social aspects such as messaging and head to head gaming.
Games come with a free trial, after which users can rent the game for one or seven days, or simply buy the game to own. Prices range from $3-15, which isn’t bad for mobile games. While the interface looks remarkably similar to Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, online play is free and works either via WiFi or 3G. I’ll be anxious to see how Nokia progresses with this platform, and if they’ve truly learned from the last N-gage foray.