Nokia delays N-gage gaming service launch

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HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia NOK1V.HE has again pushed back the launch of its gaming service N-gage due to delays in software testing, a spokesman said on Thursday, in the latest blow to the Internet services ambitions of the world's top cell phone maker.

The gaming service, together with a music shop and mapping services, is one of the cornerstones of Nokia’s drive into mobile Internet services under its new “Ovi” brand.

Nokia has also pushed into next year expansion of its digital music store offering. Also Warner Music Group Corp WMG.N has been withholding content from Nokia's only store in Britain.

At the same time it has signed up Vodafone VOD.L, Telefonica TEF.MC and Telecom Italia TLITn.MI for Ovi.

Nokia unveiled the gaming service in August, saying at the time it would be available globally in November. But in November it was delayed into December.

Nokia’s spokesman Kari Tuutti said the service would be opened in early 2008.

“We found one more issue which had to be solved before we could open the service,” Tuutti said.

Nokia is the first handset maker to move strongly into the content space with services like music or filing sharing site Mosh, where millions have downloaded audio or video files, programs or documents.

Editing by David Cowell