By the end of the year, Nintendo DS owners around the world will be able to play their favorite franchises via Wi-Fi. Mario Kart DS, Animal Crossing DS and a new Tony Hawk title from Activision are targeted to be among the first using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, a groundbreaking portable, wireless gaming network. Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection fulfills the promise of the wireless capabilities of Nintendo DS by taking advantage of yet another innovative aspect of the system and using it to expand the gaming experience to wider audiences.
“Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection has an immediate user base of more than 5 million Nintendo DS owners worldwide, and it’s growing every day,” says George Harrison, Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. “The service invites everyone to enjoy the game-play experience for Nintendo-developed games using wireless connections with very easy setup procedures and no added service fees.”
Nintendo is partnering with IGN Entertainment to manage the service’s architecture and navigation. Using IGN’s GameSpy Technology, DS players will connect wirelessly at any Wi-Fi hub, find their friends and begin racing, battling or chatting as easily as if they were sitting in the same room. Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection also lets players post high scores and includes an option for games to have online storage space to store game data. More than 25 publishers worldwide are working on titles that will use Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
In the six months since it launched, Nintendo DS has redefined portable gaming. With Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, the next six months will bring equally exciting innovations. Mario Kart DS, due in Q4, lets up to eight players race against one another in classic Mario Kart fashion on new tracks and arenas. Zip through raceways and environments while firing shells at your opponents using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Animal Crossing DS, also due in Q4, gives players in different locations the ability to explore their worlds and manage their homes. Using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, players can hang out, collect items or visit with friends.
A number of other upcoming titles will make use of the DS Local Area Network and build on Nintendo’s reputation for innovation as they expand the definition of what portable games can be. Nintendogs puts a simulated puppy into the Nintendo DS. Owners bond with incredibly realistic – and insanely cute – puppies and train them to do tricks using both the touch screen and voice recognition. Users can toss a ball and watch the pup retrieve it, or teach the puppy to come at the sound of their voices. The puppies will stare longingly through the screen, and do everything but lick your face. When in “Bark Mode,” puppies bark when they pass by other Nintendo DS owners using Nintendogs, so that people and their puppies can interact with one another. Nintendogs received a rare perfect score from Weekly Famitsu, Japan’s leading video game magazine. Nintendogs represents a dramatic leap forward in artificial intelligence for video games and is scheduled for an Aug. 22 release in North America.
Another creative title, Electroplankton, turns Nintendo DS systems into musical instruments. Users create pulsing or soothing rhythms with the touch screen. Each new setting changes the tune and takes the user on a new musical path. Electroplankton includes 10 different enchanting musical landscapes designed by multimedia artist Toshio Iwai.
Additional games in every genre will round out the impressive 2005 software lineup for Nintendo DS. Metroid Prime Hunters brings first-person shooting dynamics to the dual screens and touch screen. Fans will rejoice about the wild adventures in both Mario & Luigi 2 and New Super Mario Bros. And Trace Memory unfolds like an interactive mystery adventure novel.
Publishers developing games for the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection include:
Activision, Inc. -- Tony Hawk game (working title)
Atari -- TBA
BANDAI CO., LTD. -- Mobile Suit Gundam (working title); Digimon World (working title)
BANPRESTO CO., LTD. -- TBA
Buena Vista -- TBA
CAPCOM CO., LTD. -- TBA
Electronic Arts -- TBA
FromSoftware, Inc. -- Tenchu DS (working title)
HUDSON SOFT Co., Ltd. -- Bomberman (working title); Momotaro Dentetsu World (working title)
KOEI Co., Ltd. -- Dynasty Warriors DS (working title)
KONAMI CORPORATION -- KOJIMA Productions Products; WORLD SOCCER Winning Eleven Series; JIKKYO POWERFUL PROYAKYU Series (working title); Castlevania Series (working title)
Majesco -- TBA
Marvelous Interactive Inc. -- Bokujou-Monogatari series (working title); Rune Factory (working title); Contact (working title); Real-Time-Strategy (working title)
Mastiff -- TBA
NAMCO LIMITED -- New RPG (working title)
Nintendo -- Animal Crossing DS; Mario Kart DS; Many more titles in development
SEGA CORPORATION -- TBA
Spike CO., LTD. -- Professional Wrestling (working title)
SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. -- Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles (working title)
TAITO CORPORATION -- TBA
Take 2 (2K Games) -- TBA
Telegames -- TBA
THQ -- TBA
Ubisoft -- TBA
Vivendi -- TBA