He may think that the 3DS and Sony's Next Generation Portable (NGP) will appeal to different demographics, but intrinsically, the two systems share more in common with each other than the rivals let on. One difference however, is the inclusion of a 3G service on the NGP, and Iwata has shared his thoughts on the possible implications of implementing a monthly fee.
Speaking to Asahi.com (as translated by AndriaSang) Iwata predicts that having consumers pay a monthly 3G usage fee will decrease the userbase. Perhaps this is why Nintendo decided to abandon the idea of having a 3G-enabled 3DS, opting for the SpotPass feature instead?
Deep down, Sony might actually agree with the possible detrimental effect of providing a 3G NGP, which could be why we'll be getting two models of the NGP: one with 3G, and one without. With the 3DS's SpotPass mode, the system connects online from time to time (much like WiiConnect24), and with plans to increase the number of Wi-Fi hotspots in Japan, the likelihood that gamers can go online as well as they can in the comfort of their own home is looking positive.
Noting that the minority of consumers that are willing to pay a monthly usage fee might get a similar service to 3G in future, Iwata offers the possibility that the 3DS might one day provide such a service:
Should the purchasers of Nintendo 3DS be willing to pay monthly fees, we could integrate a function similar to the ones embedded within mobile phones so that the machine would always be connected with the Internet. However, people who are willing to pay monthly fees for entertainment products will not become the majority.
For those of you who aren't planning to purchase a 3DS for whatever reason, would a 3G-enabled system entice you, or is the SpotPass feature substantial enough for all your online needs?
For all you need to know on the 3DS, be sure to read the Nintendo Life 3DS FAQs which will be updated as new information becomes available.