Will the Nintendo DS really have free game downloads?
I'm psyched! The Nintendo DS is getting more and more cool features, but I'm amazed to hear rumors that it's going to actually have wireless Internet access and even let you download games from the Internet, totally unlike the Sony PSP, which blocks just about every cool Internet capability. Is the DS really going to allow this feature?
We here at Ask Dave Taylor really wish we had a couple of these little gizmos in the office, but, alas, we haven't gotten our hands on them yet. Fortunately, though, we are in communication with the Nintendo team and they sent us a press release that neatly answers these questions, even if these capabilities aren't actually available yet.
Here's what they say:
"In a matter of weeks: DS owners will sample free games simply by visiting their local game retailers; players will enjoy live, real-time Wi-Fi voice interaction with their portable game play; the 1 millionth DS owner will log onto Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection, Nintendo's wireless gaming service; and a new lighter, brighter DS will make its debut in Japan."
The download service is apparently called DS Download Service and is described this way:
"Starting next month, Nintendo will offer all DS owners free downloadable game demos and other downloadable content at thousands of participating retail locations around the United States. An in-store kiosk will beam wireless demo versions of games and other downloadable content into a players' Nintendo DS system. Users simply stop by the store with their Nintendo DS, click "DS Download Play" on their system and choose one of a variety of DS games they want to sample. The game will download automatically and users can play all they want (even if they leave the store) until the Nintendo DS is turned off."
"Sequentially, players can try out as many games as they want, letting them test drive the wide array of games that can only be played on Nintendo DS. The first DS Download Service stations will include free demos of Tetris® DS, Brain Age™: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day, Mario Kart® DS, Meteos™, True Swing Golf and Pokémon® Trozei, along with a Metroid® Prime Hunters video clip. The selection of games and other downloadable content at DS Download Service kiosks will refresh quarterly."
So you can see, it's not quite allowing you to download games directly off the Internet since you have to find one of these DS kiosks, but it's still darn cool and a much better solution for sampling games than having to buy 'em for $40-$50 per unit, just to find they're terrible!
Other features aren't quite so cutting edge, but are still worth knowing about:
"The new Metroid Prime Hunters game for Nintendo DS will give gamers the ability to chat directly with one another before and after matches played via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Players in North America simply click the chat icon and say what they have to say. The microphone of the Nintendo DS picks up voice communication and transmits it to the people on their friend list. Players can use the chat function before a match to agree on settings or after a battle to relive their glories. This Teen-rated first-person adventure arrives March 20 and promises to open a dramatically fun new facet of gaming to Nintendo fans."
Nintendo DS Momentum
"Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection now boasts more than 20 million different connections, representing more than 850,000 unique users worldwide. Nintendo DS has enjoyed extremely strong sales worldwide, selling more than 14.4 million units worldwide through December. The Japanese sell-through of the existing Nintendo DS hardware exceeded 5 million within 13 months, which made Nintendo DS there the fastest-selling video game launch ever. In addition to Metroid Prime Hunters, Tetris DS also launches March 20. Using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, up to four players can compete in wireless two- or four-player Tetris DS battles against friends or strangers, near or far."
Nintendo DS Lite
"The lighter, brighter Nintendo DS system goes on sale in Japan next month. Nintendo DS Lite is about two-thirds the size of the original Nintendo DS and more than 20 percent lighter. Its availability in other regions will be announced at a later date."
There. That's a lot of marketing-speak, but it points to the Nintendo DS being a highly capable and darn interesting handheld gaming device with its two small screens and touchscreen technology.
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