Major Japanese wireless carrier NTT DoMoCo said Wednesday it is discussing implementing 3G network technology in portable video game systems with unnamed companies, according to a Wall Street Journal report
"Video game makers know that in order for portable game machines to take the next step forward, they need wireless communication," said NTT DoCoMo president Ryuji Yamada. "We are discussing this with various players."
Yamada did not specify which video game companies NTT DoCoMo has been speaking with, but he made the comments as new details of the next generation of portable gaming devices come to light.
At the E3 video game industry trade conference in Los Angeles last month, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata officially unveiled the Nintendo 3DS, a follow-up to the market-leading Nintendo DS that adds more control features, better graphics and most notably 3D visual effects without the use of glasses.
But Iwata made no mention of implementing 3G. The original DS used a wi-fi connection, and the 3DS will be able to automatically download updates even while the device is not in use, the exec said.
The Nintendo DS launched at $150 in 2004, and analyst Todd Greenwald with Signal Hill said following the 3DS' reveal that $199 is the "best bet" for Nintendo to reach a wide audience. The company has yet to confirm a price, but the inclusion of 3G technology would have an impact on Nintendo's typically careful console pricing plans.
According to the WSJ report, Iwata expressed interest at an analyst briefing last year how Amazon included the cost of a wireless connection into the price of content for the Kindle reading device, as opposed to the monthly service fee people pay for mobile phones, for example.
Sony has yet to announce a follow-up to its current PSP hardware, let alone plans for 3G implementation in the handheld's successor. But wireless connectivity appears to be more of a factor for Sony than Nintendo -- the slow-selling PSP Go has the ability to download content via a wi-fi connection, with no way to play disc-based games and video.