Play with Nokia's next-gen N-Gage now!

Er... but only if you're on Finnish operator Elisa

Play with Nokia's next-gen N-Gage now!

As we've previously reported, Nokia's next-generation N-Gage platform will launch in September this year. However, some lucky gamers will get the chance to play with it before then.

Nokia has announced a pilot of the new service, in partnership with Finnish mobile operator Elisa. The pilot started this month, and will run until mid-2007, with the aim of fine-tuning the service before the rest of us get hold of it in September.

The pilot itself isn't that interesting if you're not in Finland, but what is intriguing is the related announcement that once the platform launches fully, Elisa will be supporting it with 'a full service offering through its own portals, in addition to the N-Gage application installed on Nokia devices.'

To put it into context, that's like Vodafone selling next-gen N-Gage games on its Vodafone Live portal. The move shows that Nokia is keen to team up with operators to make N-Gage a success this time around – the operators were notable for their lack of interest with the original N-Gage devices.

Will Nokia sign similar operator deals in the UK? Watch this space (by clicking 'Track It! of course).