Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has spoken in detail, in a document sent to the Japanese Game Watch website, about his company’s use of Wi-Fi technology, following his Game Developers Conference speech announcing that the company will offer a free Wi-Fi connection service to Nintendo DS owners.
In particular, Iwata specifically reveals that Nintendo will set up 1,000 new Wi-Fi connection points across Japan for the DS online service, in order to help those that do not have Wi-Fi connections at home. This service will be free, no additional hardware will be needed in order to use a Nintendo DS online, and connections are intended to be instantaneous – without the need to alter any software settings or enter passwords, and so on.
Configuring the DS for home use will apparently require some small amount of adjustment, although this will be kept to an absolute minimum if a Nintendo-approved router is used.
One particularly interesting piece of news is that, though Nintendo will not charge for the new online service, other publishers will be able to with relation to particular software titles – an option that is likely to please third-party publishers who may want to launch more complex online-capable RPG games or other information-retrieval services and then charge a monthly fee for them. Iwata makes it clear that any charges will be obviously signposted, however.
Although Iwata made no mention of a launch date for the Wi-Fi features of the console, he has previously indicated, during his keynote GDC speech
, that it would roll out in Japan this year. No mention has yet been made about bringing the service to the West. However, additional announcements will no doubt be made at Nintendo’s pre-E3 conference on May 17th, where Iwata himself is expected to speak further on Nintendo’s online console plans.