News Article

Nintendo To Bring 3G Connectivity To The DS?

Posted by Damien McFerran

Big N considering an "always on" connection for its popular handheld

While Nintendo has always maintained that it doesn't want to compete with mobile phone manufacturers, the company has revealed that it is considering the notion of adding some form of online data connection to its DS console.

Chatting to the Financial Times, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata mentioned that he was attracted by the idea of bringing some form of "always on" connection to the device - a similar concept to Amazon's Kindle book reader.

However, the firm won't be looking to follow Apple's lead with charging users to use this functionality, and Iwata spoke of the difficulty of adopting a contract-based format:

Only people who can pay thousands of yen a month [in mobile phone subscriptions] can be iPhone customers. That doesn't fit Nintendo customers because we make amusement products. In reality, if we did this it would increase the cost of the hardware, and customers would complain about Nintendo putting prices up, but it is one option for the future.

Adding such a feature to the DS without charging owners for its use is going to be difficult, but if it's done correctly then it could end up expanding the console's user base still further - especially if Nintendo can encroach on the Kindle's territory.


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User Comments (30)




Interesting. However, by the time Ninty sort that out, surely the new, next gen handheld will be released?



FATEM said:

That's the best idea I've heard recently. Hopefully they can follow that "Not paying for connection" statement through.



City_Of_Delusion said:

It's probably too late to implement this for the DS/DSi, but it might be a good idea for the proper sucessor to the DS.



Arthur said:

I had this idea since i got my first DS, I hope they also make this as a special download at DSi Shop, not another you have to buy this again to get it.



Omenapoika said:

As far as I know, DS hardware isn't good for 3G connections as it is, so a DSi shop download couldn't make it possible.
But the successor of DS could! This has also been my dream



Hardy83 said:

So they're thinking about doing it? Well I guess that means we'll never see it then since a new DS is a couple years away.



Damo said:

I'm guessing that you could add this functionality via a plug-in device.



WiiGuy said:

The DSi Speak Channel sounds like their version of the phone to me....
What would be great to see is that you could connect to talk to a Wii also.



bro2dragons said:

is it just me.... or is Ninty focusing ALL (or at least 97%) of their resources and attention on the DS?



Raylax said:

I expect the next Nintendo handheld will incorporate this. I'm glad that they'd prefer to make it a one-off payment rather than a monthly subscription. The subscription-based service on X-Box is one of very few reasons I haven't bought a 360. For the sake of a few extra DLC features and multi-player sessions it's not worth the bother for me.

But then I'm a lonesome antisocial hermit who hates everyone. Including you.



Crunc said:

The DSi needs this. Do it now. I don't see a problem with charging for it similar to the 360's Live memberships, just don't make it more then, say, $5 per month, and make sure there is plenty of reason to have it, in the form of a ton more download and cartridge games that support internet play, and support it well.



Ren said:

sounds good to me, but it's too late to add it to the DS. Next handheld thing will have it for sure. A one off price would be great like he says, too, but I'll believe it when I see it.



Token_Girl said:

Even 3G's not really fast or stable enough for online gaming I think, so it doesn't really matter. I also can't think of a way to do this without a subscription, since all 3G networks are owned by cell phone providers. I doubt they'll give network usage away for free.



vherub said:

It's interesting, but at the same time, Nintendo's approach with the Wii and the connect24 is less than ideal. It is a power suck, huge heat source and a pain to turn on and off. Of the things Nintendo does well, they don't have a good track record with their online approach.



Kokstra said:

Well maybe if Iwata has seen the light regarding Internet connectivity, maybe the next generation DS/Wii will have a better online infrastructure. And hopefully it'll work better than WiiConnect24.



motang said:

This is awesome, just think of the possiblility of getting an DSiware app or game on the go!



Feld0 said:

"especially if Nintendo can encroach on the Kindle's territory"

I hope this means we're finally getting an eBook reader app!



CH405K1N6 said:

Holy sh*t, this would be so awesome. That way I wouldn't have to pay such f*cking high rates for 3G use on my mobile phone.



Stuffgamer1 said:

This article is missing some key points that were detailed in the GameSpot article on this news. Apparently, Iwata said that the problem with making the 3G network have no subscription fees is that the price of the device itself would go up for an up-front one-time fee (like how the Kindle costs way too much for just the hardware), which Nintendo fans would probably frown upon (most of them wouldn't understand and/or wouldn't care about the 3G network increasing the cost).

The GameSpot article also confirmed that this is NOT in the works for the current DSi, but rather perhaps for the next Nintendo handheld. And they're considering making said handheld download-only. At least that means they'll be waiting until a brand new generation of hardware instead of jumping in five years late like the PSP Go did...



mjc0961 said:

Stuffgamer, I was about to say the same thing. This article is totally inaccurate. Iwata never mentioned adding this to any DS model, it's for a possible "download only" device that would come out down the road.

And I agree: if Nintendo is going to walk that road of fail, at least they're not jumping into it in the middle of a handheld's life and making that device unable to play all the current games as a result. And they're considering a transfer medium that isn't slow as all hell like Wireless-B is.



g-silent007 said:

I agree as well but I think Nintendo should not release another half system, Im not sure if people want to go down the road all downloadable games, I for one am not this may seem weird but I enjoy looking at the game cases.



robbob88 said:

This would be perfect for the succesor to the DS. As long as there is no subscription then I am all for it



srkelley said:

I actually see Nintendo using this in future handhelds and home consoles. It would be more so for their benefit then ours. User stat tracking. For a relatively small fee they can keep track of every users usage statistics. What games are they playing, how are they playing? Do they connect to the internet, do they what a few weeks before buying games? How long before the average person quits a game? With special programming they can even find out how many people completel or play a game for a significant amount of time. They can find out what features to work on for their systems and which to ignore. We could see a Nintendo that truly reacts to their users in a huge way. We could also see better advertising and better targeting for it. It would be called Nintendo Connect and would be shown to users as Nintendo's take on Facebook and Twitter.

At least that's what I'm imagining they would do. Online stat tracking that we care about, further stats we don't see that they use, and some status updater and semi-match-maker/chatter that brings in revenue somehow to offset costs. Maybe they continue to release stuff like FlipNote Studio, but charge for premium tools or additions that people would actually want? I can see it happening. I'd even welcome it if they could increase the size of the audience for games I like. Games like Fire Emblem and Advance Wars.

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