Following Nintendo of Japan's earlier confirmation
of wireless plans for the Nintendo DS, representatives from Nintendo of America have revealed further details on the Wi-Fi hardware and software plans for the DS.
Nintendo's statements are particularly useful for explaining the Wi-Fi USB connector's use in plain English. According to the company, if the user already has a Wi-Fi network, the Nintendo DS unit will connect directly to it with minimal setup procedures. However, those who have a high-speed Internet connection such as cable or DSL, but no wireless network, can use the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector, sold separately, that will plug into a computer USB port to create a wireless access point to connect to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
Outside of the home, Nintendo indicated that players will be able to connect in a variety of ways, including at thousands of free Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection hotspots nationwide. More details about these hotspots and how to connect outside of the home will be announced shortly, according to the firm, but it stressed that using the Wi-Fi network, whether in or out of the home, will always be free.
As for software, the American announcement of Wi-Fi for the DS specifically mentioned Mario Kart DS
, for which four players at a time can race over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, and which launches November 14, in addition to Animal Crossing: Wild World
, in which players can travel to other players' towns or invite up to three other players to visit their own towns, interacting and playing together simultaneously in one town - this title launches December 5th. Nintendo also announced a much more Western-centric Wi-Fi-compatible third-party title, in the form of Activision's Tony Hawk's American Sk8land
. This title will let players compete head-to-head in multiplayer games in a variety of modes. Players also can create custom skateboard art and graffiti tags, and share them with other players via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The service will also track global high scores and stats, and the game will be available on November 14th.
Finally, Nintendo re-announced Metroid Prime Hunters
, now slated to launch in the first quarter of 2006, and including online Wi-Fi play. Players can hook up for play with registered friends, automatch with other players based on a skill-level match or play with anyone; Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection quickly finds the best match with other players online. The game had originally been delayed
into 2006, following negative reaction to the announcement that the title would not feature online play.
In a sidenote to this announcement, Nintendo again mentioned the integral part that wireless services will play in its next-gen console, commenting: "Nintendo DS is just the first Nintendo system to connect via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The same service will be incorporated into Nintendo's next-generation home console, code-named Nintendo Revolution, set for release in 2006."