Sunday, November 20, 2005
Nintendo- WiFi Connection
See the global Nintendo map here
The UK Nintendo WiFi Connection map is coming soon...
See here for Nintendo UK
See the Nintendo WiFi guide web-page and video here
Nintendo announces Wi-Fi Connection plans for Europe
Ellie Gibson 11:25 04/11/2005
More than 7500 hotspots to be active in UK alone from launch on November 25
Nintendo has announced that more than 15,000 Wi-Fi Connection hotspots will be active in time for the European launch of the service - a figure which is set to almost double by the end of the year.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, senior director of marketing Jim Merrick said: "We've been on the sidelines of online gaming for a long time, because we just didn't see the right combination of value for the consumer and technology and gameplay."
"Now I think the time is right. We talked about the promise of Wi-Fi when we first introduced the DS, and now we can show you what Nintendo's vision of online gaming is."
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 of McDonald's and Coffee Republic, Hilton and Ramada Jarvis hotels, Road Chef and Welcome Break service stations, First Great Western railway stations, more than 25 student unions, city centre BT payphones, airports, football stadiums, the British Library and Canary Wharf.
Nintendo will be launching a new website, Nintendo Wi-Fi.com, where visitors can input a postcode to find the location of 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.
Free Wi-Fi access for Nintendo users
November 04, 2005, 11:50 GMT
The launch of Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Connection service is good news for gamers and could help make wireless access an easier process for everyone
BT and The Cloud are offering free Wi-Fi access to people who use Nintendo's DS gaming device in a move that could benefit mobile workers too.
Nintendo is launching its Wi-Fi Connection service on 25 November 2005, which will allow users of its DS consoles to access Wi-Fi at several thousand UK hot spots run by The Cloud or BT.
To access the service, DS users will just have to turn on their device and select the Wi-Fi option without, in Nintendo's words, "complicated menu screens and minimum configurations".
This may prompt service providers to create more accessible Wi-Fi networks and open out the market to a wider audience.
George Polk, chief executive of The Cloud, said showing how easy and accessible Wi-Fi can be could trigger business service providers to follow suit.
"The power of the Nintendo service is that it's so easy to use — everyone who has a DS wants to play games, and now to play networked games all they have to do is be in a hotspot. This simplicity will have a huge spill-over effect in the business market," he said.
The complexities of using Wi-Fi are believed by some to be holding back mass adoption in the business market. Although BT and The Cloud have a roaming deal that allows Openzone customers to use The Cloud's hot spots, such deals are still rare. This means that a subscriber to one hot spot operator often can't use another's service. Aggregators such as iPass do exist, but again don't have roaming deals with every operator.
Some users have also complained that logging into a Wi-Fi hot spot can be a fiddly and time-consuming process, as well as an expensive one. For example, one hour's access at a BT Openzone hot spot costs £6.
But Polk claims that usability, not cost, is the major hurdle.
"The biggest barrier to hotspot usage until now has been that its so complex and difficult for a user to connect. There's no problem with demand — every business user wants access to email — but I can't count the number of times I heard people say, 'I'd love to use it but I can't figure out,'" he said.
"By showing that Wi-Fi connectivity can be easy and convenient, the Nintendo service will set the benchmark that will push the business service providers to create fabulous and easy service experiences," Polk added.