Nintendo Builds on Wireless Gaming
Posted by jgaudiosi :: Mobile Gaming
Nintendo has proved that U.S. consumers will take the leap to wireless portable gaming, at least when it's free. Over the nine months since its free wireless network debuted, two million Nintendo DS users have logged in and played against friends. There have been 70 million individual Wi-Fi gaming sessions to date. Nintendo allows gamers to play online for free, as long as they have a Wi-Fi hot spot. To help gamers out, Nintendo teamed up with McDonald's to offer free hot spots around the country. Most gamers have some type of Wi-Fi or broadband set-up at home to tap into Xbox Live or some type of PC gaming experience, so the ability to easily tap into Wi-Fi from there is readily available.
Nintendo has made a point of introducing an array of AAA games for Nintendo DS and the hot-selling, smaller and sleeker Nintendo DS Lite, that utilize the gaming device's Wi-Fi capabilities. "Mario Kart DS," "Tetris DS," "Animal Crossing," "Madden NFL 07," and the new "Star Fox Command" all offer some type of multiplayer experience through Wi-Fi.
Many game makers and experts in the industry have said that online multiplayer gaming, and the community that it builds, is the future of interactive entertainment. The success of online community sites like MySpace.com and Youtube.com shows that today's consumers want to share and reach out to other people. Online gaming through Xbox Live or Nintendo DS allows this community to communicate with one another while gaming. The new Vision camera for Xbox Live will add another dimension to this interaction this fall. And Sony will introduce a robust online experience for both PlayStation 3 and PSP this fall, as well.
While downloading content, which includes games, music and movies, will be part of this online gaming network, the heart of it is the interaction among players. Nintendo is the first company to tap into this potentia with a portable game system. Sony is trying with PSP, but Nintendo has the lead in hardware right now.
Next generation consoles, including Nintendo's Wii, will utilize online gaming in a whole new way. Down the line, game veteran Dave Perry recently told me that he seed online gaming, especially with MMOs, becoming the next evolution of gaming. It could well be that the retail store becomes a thing of the past 10 to 20 years from now, when most gamers will download experiences straight to their console or PC. It's already happening with Xbox Live Marketplace, which has grown exponentially over the past year with Xbox 360's rollout.