On Nov. 14, Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection will begin a new era of easy, social gaming. For the first time, characters from the Nintendo universe will be playable online, as part of a unique wireless community, accessible inside or outside the home. Nintendo DS games like Mario Kart DS, Animal Crossing: Wild World and Metroid Prime Hunters will require no additional charge for online play. Each is scheduled to launch in the coming months, along with the first third-party title using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, Activision’s Tony Hawk’s American SK8Land, developed by Vicarious Visions.
From home, if the user already has a Wi-Fi network, the Nintendo DS unit will connect directly to it with minimal setup procedures. 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, 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.
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.
“Nintendo has taken the online video gaming model and rewritten the definition of community,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sales & marketing. “With easy setup and no added service fees, players far and wide will log in and play with one another as easily as if they were sitting in the same room.”
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection will create a welcome, inviting atmosphere where video game players of all kinds can log on wirelessly and begin playing. The service will be used in different ways for different games. In Mario Kart DS, four players at a time can race over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Racers can pick opponents from their roster of friends, match up randomly against strangers of comparable skill levels or simply choose to race against anyone in the world. Mario Kart DS launches Nov. 14.
People who hang out in Animal Crossing: Wild World can travel to other players’ towns or invite up to three other players to visit their own towns, simply by opening the town gate. The four players then can interact and play together simultaneously in one town. Players must know one another and register to their respective friend rosters before they can connect. Animal Crossing: Wild World is set to launch on Dec. 5.
Activision’s Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land 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 track global high scores and stats. Tony Hawk’s American SK8Land will launch on Nov. 14.
Games in development include Metroid Prime Hunters, slated to launch in the first quarter of 2006. 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.