15,000 Wi-Fi Connection hotspots will be active in time for the European launch of the service says Nintendo. More than half of the hotspots will be in the UK alone, thanks to deals with BT Openzone and The Cloud. Piggybacking their infrastructure, Wi-Fi Connection will allow gamers to play Wi-Fi-enabled multiplayer games like Tony Hawk's American Sk8land (Nov 18) and Mario Kart DS (Nov 25) from a vast number of locations.
These will include branches such as Coffee Republic, Hilton and Ramada Jarvis hotels, Road Shef, Welcome Break service stations, McDonald's, First Great Western railway stations, 25+ student unions, city center BT payphones, football stadiums, British Library, Canary Wharf and airports.
NintendoWi-Fi.com has been launched by nintendo and visitors can input a postcode and find their nearest hotspot. The site will also give gamers the chance to see how their high scores compare with other players, and will offer technical support - those with wireless networks at home will be able to search a database of more than 200 routers for advice on configuration.
Those who don't have a home wireless network will be able to purchase the Wi-Fi USB Connector dongle, which attaches to a PC, to get their DS online. It will retail for around GBP 30. Nintendo is keen to stress that there are no fees or subscription costs for playing, and no risk of harassment as players do not directly communicate with each other. Instead of entering a name and password, each DS owner has a unique identifier number entered into the DS's memory. Users can swap numbers offline to build up a friends list, or play anonymously against gamers from all around the world.
Wi-Fi Connection will launch in Europe on November 25. Nintendo has confirmed that its next-generation console, codenamed Revolution, will also make use of the service.
News source: gamesindustry.biz