DS Wi-Fi masterplan details

Nintendo’s free global multiplayer network is on the way

DS Wi-Fi masterplan details

It’s all very well getting a bunch of mates together and using DS’ Wi-Fi ability to play multiplayer games. But it’s not always easy to get everyone in the same place at the same time. What to do then? (Notice we don’t ask about the other case of Billy No-Mates). But no matter - Nintendo’s plan is to open up the world of wireless by setting up a global multiplayer system. This will employ the same technology as used in the Wi-Fi hotspots which you connect to the Internet with your PC in places like Starbucks, although Nintendo is still in the process of working out which locations and companies will be involved as it reckons the DS gaming service will be free.

Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata said the company wanted to create an environment where more than 90 percent of the people who buy Wi-Fi-DS compatible games try them online at least once.

Plans for the DS network are most advanced in Japan where Nintendo expects to have 1,000 hotspots in places such as department stores and game retailers by the end of 2005. This would potentially allow any Japanese DS player to play a game against any other Japanese player, although the exact details of how this would occur will depend on the matchmaking and lobby service used. Currently the only games able to take advantage of the system are Mario Kart DS, Animal Crossing DS and a forthcoming Tony Hawk title but around 25 developers and publishers are said to be interested in supporting the network with their games.

Plans for similar networks in the US are also being worked on. IGN Entertainment will be providing the Internet architecture and match-making via its GameSpy technology. A European service is also expected at some point although there are few details when it would go live.