Nintendo officials have held a press conference in Tokyo in which the company has revealed more details of its plans for the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service and several new games for the Nintendo DS.
The company will launch the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection this autumn with two compatible titles being published by the company (Animal Crossing: Wild World on November 23rd and Mario Kart DS on December 8th). The games will be free to play online, although Nintendo will not prevent third party publishers from charging fees. The marketing campaign for the service in Japan will be organized around the tagline of “Easy. Safe. Free.”
Nintendo has organized over 1,000 free Wi-Fi access points in game stores around Japan, and has also developed a Nintendo-branded USB adaptor in partnership with Japanese Internet company Buffalo. Full worldwide pricing for the adaptor is not wholly available, although a Mario Kart DS-related press announcement has confirmed that the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector will be priced at around £30 ($52) in the United Kingdom, and the Japanese price for the connector will be 3500 yen ($31).
In the West, the release of Animal Crossing: Wild World has been delayed, making Mario Kart DS the first available Wi-Fi compatible game when it is released in North America on November 14th and in Europe on November 25th. Details released at the conference list four Wi-Fi multiplayer options for the game, allowing users to play with previously registered “friends”, with random national players, with random international players and with “rivals”.
New games revealed at the Japanese conference include Daredemo Asobi Taizen (a collection of 42 board and table games incorporating 8 player wireless play), Motto Nou wo Kitaeru Otona no DS Training (a sequel to the hugely successful DS Training for Adults) and Eigo Zuke (an English language training tool with similar presentation to the Brain Training series). A new Wario Land title and a basketball simulator from Square Enix named Mario Basket 3 vs 3 were also shown.
Other third-party announcements included the first public showing of role-playing game ASH (Archaic Sealed Heat) from Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi’s Mistwalker studio, and the announcement from Square Enix that the Nintendo DS version of NES title Final Fantasy III would feature fully revamped 3D graphics (the company also announced more straightforward conversions of SNES titles Final Fantasy V and VI for the Game Boy Advance).