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Nintendo Portables (Games) Wireless Networking Games

Free 3G Wireless For Nintendo's Next Handheld? 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the keeping-up-with-the-appses dept.
itwbennett writes "'Nintendo is feeling the sting of competition from the iPhone,' writes Peter Smith in a recent post. 'At least, that's the feeling one gets when reading Nintendo president Satoru Iwata's thoughts on the future of Nintendo handhelds. According to a Financial Times piece, Iwata suggests the next Nintendo handheld (and to be clear, he isn't talking about the big screen DS launching in Japan next month) might include free 3G wireless, much like the Amazon Kindle does. The challenge is to offer the immediacy of downloading an inexpensive new game, anywhere, anytime, without forcing the user into some kind of monthly data plan.' From the FT piece: 'Only people who can pay thousands of yen a month [in mobile phone subscriptions] can be iPhone customers. That doesn't fit Nintendo customers because we make amusement products,' Mr Iwata said."
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Free 3G Wireless For Nintendo's Next Handheld?

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  • Without a doubt, as soon as a product that comes with "Free 3G," there will be hackers on it to enable tethering.

    • Re:Hack Frenzy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday November 02, 2009 @11:32AM (#29951416) Homepage Journal
      Tethering your PC to an ISP that doesn't route packets to anything but Nintendo's Shop Channel servers won't accomplish much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Urza9814 (883915)

      Just like there was such a flurry of hacks to get cheap access thorough the Peek? Granted, I don't think it's 3G and it _is_ still $15 a month, but it's also incredibly cheap (both initially and per month). And like that frenzy of hacks for the Amazon Kindle? I mean that thing has free 3G....

      Besides, all they'll have to do is put in some kind of bandwidth limit...or simply limit the connection to specific sites. I mean it's being used to download games, there's no reason not to lock it in to only be allowed

  • Does he mean "in Japan" or "everywhere in the world"?

    This sure won't work in Canada, where the cellphone providers have a stronghold on almost anything wireless.

    • by slim (1652) <john@hart n u p.net> on Monday November 02, 2009 @11:23AM (#29951282) Homepage

      Who knows. Probably Japan at first.

      You have to bear in mind that none of this will really be free. The 3G connection will be used to download content, which will cost money. Some of that money will go to the 3G network provider.

      Just like with Kindle, where a ebook sales provide Amazon enough money to pay for all that "free" browsing.

    • Does he mean "in Japan" or "everywhere in the world"?

      This sure won't work in Canada, where the cellphone providers have a stronghold on almost anything wireless.

      It'll probably work much like the Kindle does...

      Amazon has partnered with various wireless providers for the Kindle. The wireless isn't exactly free... You're paying for the Kindle, and you're using your wireless to download content purchases - part of that money goes to pay for the wireless access. So the wireless providers are getting paid for your usage. And it is in Amazon's (or Nintendo's) best interest to get as many wireless providers on-board as possible.

      But to you, the user, it appears to be fr

      • by Rotting (7243)

        But we didn't get the Kindle in Canada. I know it's only speculation but I'm guessing it's because Robbers Wireless wouldn't budge on their ridiculously over inflated prices.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Are you kidding? Bell, Rogers and Telus will be at each other's throats to offer the hottest new Nintendo product. They really don't care whether you pay for your data plan or if Nintendo does. Nintendo's habit of locking their devices down is also likely to appeal to these companies, since their goal is to collect monthly revenue without users doing anything on the network.

  • by emag (4640) <slashdot&gurski,org> on Monday November 02, 2009 @11:19AM (#29951208) Homepage

    It seems to me that it's more the large number of developers, and the diversity of games/apps, that could be a bigger issue. Sure, immediacy is nice, but...if Nintendo keeps up the policy of charging multi-thousands of dollars for a dev kit, with a requirement that it _must_ be a business location (no home offices), I don't see 3G as being much help...

    • by noundi (1044080)

      It seems to me that it's more the large number of developers, and the diversity of games/apps, that could be a bigger issue. Sure, immediacy is nice, but...if Nintendo keeps up the policy of charging multi-thousands of dollars for a dev kit, with a requirement that it _must_ be a business location (no home offices), I don't see 3G as being much help...

      I don't understand. Are you saying that Nintendo should intentionally lower their revenue or raise the consumer price? Because you can forget the former, and I hope you will forget the latter. Nintendo consoles have plenty of developers. I don't see why you assume that there is a shortage.

      So Nintendo runs a different business model, which obviously produces different results, and pays off. Would you much rather have 3 clones of console makers, than the two already existing (Microsoft & Sony) one

      • Are you saying that Nintendo should intentionally lower their revenue or raise the consumer price?

        No, emag and I are saying that Nintendo should follow Apple's model of the iPhone developer program and the App Store, which in turn is a carbon copy of Microsoft's XNA Creators Club and Xbox Live Indie Games. But instead, Nintendo chooses to discriminate against people for whom developing video games is something other than a day job.

        • by Bagels (676159)

          Playing devil's advocate for a moment: what truly amazing stuff have we seen from the "not-a-day-job" indie devs on the Microsoft and Apple stores? There have been several excellent indie games of late (Braid and World of Goo come to mind immediately), but I notice that they came from small teams who put their money where their mouths were and took on game dev full-time. The biggest exception I can think of is the fabled Cave Story, which saw enough success as a freeware game on Win/Mac/PSP that it's get

          • There have been several excellent indie games of late (Braid and World of Goo come to mind immediately)

            As a point of interest, World of Goo is available on WiiWare....

            • by Bagels (676159)

              More or less my point exactly (2DBoy satisfied Nintendo's requirements even as a tiny two-many indie outfit). Actually, all things considered Nintendo is doing *fantastic* with indie PC devs - they have 2DBoy (World of Goo), Nicalis (Cave Story, La Mulana, and Night Game), and the Super Meat Boy guys. Microsoft's presently got Jonathan Blow for Braid and Derek Yu for Spelunky, and Sony has Jenova Chen (flOw, Flower, etc) and Jonathan Mak (Everyday Shooter).

              All in all, a good time to be a talented indie

          • by tepples (727027)

            what truly amazing stuff have we seen from the "not-a-day-job" indie devs on the Microsoft and Apple stores?

            As far as I can tell, the route to a career in video game development is as follows:

            1. Release some freeware for Windows or Mac OS X in college.
            2. Find a full-time job, which will be outside the video game industry because you were born in the wrong city. Hold this job while working on some freeware and/or shareware in your spare time.
            3. Once step 2 produces enough money to live on for a year, move to a city that has a commercial video game development scene, and pick your highlights from steps 1 and 2 for your re
        • by noundi (1044080)

          Are you saying that Nintendo should intentionally lower their revenue or raise the consumer price?

          No, emag and I are saying that Nintendo should follow Apple's model of the iPhone developer program and the App Store, which in turn is a carbon copy of Microsoft's XNA Creators Club and Xbox Live Indie Games. But instead, Nintendo chooses to discriminate against people for whom developing video games is something other than a day job.

          Wait what? Discriminate? Are you fucking serious? It's a source of income to match the revenue forecast. Either that comes from raising console prices/lowering dev kit prices, or keeping it the way it is. Not everybody is a homebrewer, so why should dev kits be considered as something "enjoyed by everyone"? Also as I clearly stated Nintendo is choosing another strategy, if you want to be a homebrewer perhaps it's not the console for you. But we already know that consoles cannot meet all criterias. However i

          • by tepples (727027)

            Not everybody is a homebrewer, so why should dev kits be considered as something "enjoyed by everyone"?

            Games developed by homebrewers could be "enjoyed by everyone". If the additional revenue from the console maker's commission from sales of games developed by part-time developers outweigh the lost revenue from selling devkits at a reduced price, then revenue increases. Apple and Microsoft have recognized this; Nintendo has not.

            if you want to be a homebrewer perhaps it's not the console for you.

            Then what is?

            • by noundi (1044080)

              If the additional revenue from the console maker's commission from sales of games developed by part-time developers outweigh the lost revenue from selling devkits at a reduced price, then revenue increases.

              And what would happen if all of these homebrewers, as (correct me if I'm wrong) is very likely amongst homebrewers, didn't bother to charge for their software? Look I'm not bashing the idea of homebrewing, but obviously Nintendo values their ordinary players/consumers the most. Their products are way cheaper for the average consumer than their competitors.

              Then what is?

              Aren't Xbox and Playstation dev kits cheap?

              • And what would happen if all of these homebrewers, as (correct me if I'm wrong) is very likely amongst homebrewers, didn't bother to charge for their software?

                Microsoft already solved this in its Xbox Live Indie Games environment: a price floor of 400 MP ($5.00), or 200 MP for games weighing under some size in megabytes.

                • by noundi (1044080)

                  And what would happen if all of these homebrewers, as (correct me if I'm wrong) is very likely amongst homebrewers, didn't bother to charge for their software?

                  Microsoft already solved this in its Xbox Live Indie Games environment: a price floor of 400 MP ($5.00), or 200 MP for games weighing under some size in megabytes.

                  And why is this the right way to do it? The way I see it with Nintendo you have the option to distribute it at whatever cost you want, allowing you to distribute free games with other sources of income (linking some parts to e.g. a web site where ads will cover your costs). Thus the investment risk is entirely on the developer side. Microsoft had a solution, so did Nintendo. They both generate revenue, only their sources are different. Microsoft gets theirs from players, Nintendo gets theirs from developers

                  • by tepples (727027)

                    if you only want a playground to play around in then Nintendo charges $1700 for theirs

                    Plus whatever the local real estate company charges for a year's lease of office space. Microsoft, on the other hand, charges only $1,000: $600 for a sufficiently powerful PC* running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7; $300 for an Xbox 360 Elite; and $100 for a year of XNA Creators Club (which starts once the game is working in XNA Game Studio on a PC).

                    * I'm assuming most laptops, Atom-based PCs, PCs with Intel graphics, and older PCs with an older CPU don't meet the XNA system requirements.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ephemeriis (315124)

      It seems to me that it's more the large number of developers, and the diversity of games/apps, that could be a bigger issue. Sure, immediacy is nice, but...if Nintendo keeps up the policy of charging multi-thousands of dollars for a dev kit, with a requirement that it _must_ be a business location (no home offices), I don't see 3G as being much help...

      I disagree.

      Nintendo has always produced entertainment devices. Sure, there have been a few productivity apps shoehorned into the GameBoy in the past... But the vast majority of their software is games. I don't see Nintendo selling a device that is primarily a PDA or GPS or phone anytime soon.

      The iPhone is competing in the smartphone arena. Folks with smartphones are used to being able to buy random apps on-line and install them. Folks with smartphones are used to being able to buy small little utilitie

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yawn, getting tired of this excuse. You don't _really_ want a dev kit to make games on it, you want a dev kit so you can pirate games.
      There are other open portable gaming devices you could use for your supposed home-brew-game-programming desires.

      If there were more than the 250 people other than you that actually cared about a dev kit, they would do something about it.
      Quit deluding yourself into thinking your desires are an important market segment worth catering to.

      • by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday November 02, 2009 @12:22PM (#29952064) Homepage Journal

        You don't _really_ want a dev kit to make games on it, you want a dev kit so you can pirate games.

        Say I start by making a PC-based demo of the game in question. "I made this game, but Nintendo and Sony won't let me port it to their hardware." Would such a whine sound more credible?

        There are other open portable gaming devices

        Which of them have a distributor in the United States? Best Buy has never heard of a "GP2X" or a "Dingoo", and Pandora isn't out yet.

        • You don't _really_ want a dev kit to make games on it, you want a dev kit so you can pirate games.

          Say I start by making a PC-based demo of the game in question. "I made this game, but Nintendo and Sony won't let me port it to their hardware." Would such a whine sound more credible?

          There are other open portable gaming devices

          Which of them have a distributor in the United States? Best Buy has never heard of a "GP2X" or a "Dingoo", and Pandora isn't out yet.

          Ebay, Amazon, etc.

          As for porting it to their system, last I looked at the shelves in Walmart there were already enough crapware titles on the GBA and Nintendo DS. They want to avoid another Atari collapse from too many crap games.

          If the game and workers are talented enough to create a fun game, they probably won't have trouble getting investment from a VC to fund their work.

  • by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Monday November 02, 2009 @11:19AM (#29951226) Homepage
    The ebook readers can get away with this cheaply because ebooks don't take up much space. Games on the other hand can be quite large, and I imagine the next-gen games meant to compete with the iPhone 3GS (which has more powerful hardware than both the current DSi and and PSP Go) will be even larger. Can Nintendo really front the costs to provide access to this service without increasing game price?
    • by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday November 02, 2009 @11:41AM (#29951514) Homepage Journal

      Games on the other hand can be quite large

      How large? Classic NES, Super NES, Game Boy, and Game Boy Color games are 4 MiB or less (with a handful of exceptions). Even a DS-native game like Animal Crossing: Wild World is only 32 MiB. Compare that to the 256 MB of internal memory on a DSi or the 4 GB card in the DSi's SDHC slot.

      more powerful hardware

      Wii has more powerful hardware than the DS, but Wii Shop Channel games still weigh in less than 48 MB. (There are roughly eight "blocks" in 1 MB.)

      Can Nintendo really front the costs to provide access to this service without increasing game price?

      Full-size games cost $30 to $40 in the United States, partly due to the cost of making and shipping Game Cards. Do you think the 3G airtime to download, say, a 64 MB game will cost more than making and shipping a Game Card?

      • by AlXtreme (223728)

        Do you think the 3G airtime to download, say, a 64 MB game will cost more than making and shipping a Game Card?

        On a national level it wouldn't be a problem, but don't forget that international data roaming charges are insane (EUR 2/MB for me). That would make downloading games rather expensive.

        I have no doubt that Nintendo would be able to strike a much better deal, but with 200MB DS games out there they will have to get quite a bargain if they want to make this cost-effective internationally.

        • by arose (644256)
          You are thinking too much in terms of current mobile contracts. Your DS wouldn't have international roaming because you wouldn't have a contract to give it a 'home country'. Instead Nintendo has agreements with various networks in different countries, so that when you download a game in Germany Nintendo pays the local provider the negotiated rate, not the rate your American network dreamed up together with the German network for when you visit with your American cell phone.
        • international data roaming charges

          Your handheld won't even try to download games while on another continent as a side effect of the region coding that Nintendo has been using since DSi.

      • by Eil (82413)

        In Nintendo's defense, I have to say that in order to innovate, you have to design your ideas and products to fit the future rather than the present. Most of us here on Slashdot can probably remember a time when multiple games would fit on a single floppy disk. Many can also recall how nearly every new version of Quake or Doom required a top-of-the-line PC to play at the time of release.

        The only problem with Nintendo's plans is that the cellular telcos have traditionally refused to upgrade or adapt their ne

      • DS games are as big as 256MB, compression varies. DSi games stored on SD cards could be much larger, and they may need the extra storage space since the DSi has upgraded hardware specifications (speed, memory, etc) compared to previous DS models. DSi exclusive games could use larger textures, higher bitrate videos, etc.
      • Full-size games cost $30 to $40 in the United States, partly due to the cost of making and shipping Game Cards. Do you think the 3G airtime to download, say, a 64 MB game will cost more than making and shipping a Game Card?

        That really depends on how many times you re-download it, doesn't it?

        And also where you do the downloading.

      • Even a DS-native game like Animal Crossing: Wild World is only 32 MiB.

        An early, small DS-native game. It's not uncommon now to see DS games in the 128-256MiB, with the line being pushed to 512MiB(upcoming Ninokuni: The Another World).

    • by Ogive17 (691899)
      Cost per download is probably less than cost per catridge, packaging and distribution.
  • Translation flavor (Score:2, Interesting)

    by oldhack (1037484)

    "That doesn't fit Nintendo customers because we make amusement products,' Mr Iwata said."

    This guy sounds sane, unlike the crazies in the US industry where the sleazebags ramble on about "life style" and what not.

  • by wandazulu (265281) on Monday November 02, 2009 @11:26AM (#29951328)

    I loved my dslite, and played it a lot, and there are lots of games (lots and lots) of games that I had a lot of fun with (Mario Kart especially). I don't think I'll get another one only because the games I have on the iPhone, while not Mario Kart or Nintendo-quality, are good enough for what I want to do, which is kill some time on the bus or in a line. Plus, as it's my phone, I'm going to always have it with me.

    Comparing the games I've played on the ds and the iphone, the only difference is that a majority of the games on the iphone seem to be trial balloons from established companies (EA, Sega), and home-brew games that are of varying degrees of quality. What I don't see is a major benefit of the ds hardware over the iphone. Yes I can pull out the game cart quickly get going with another game, but I've lost several carts and that's $40+ down the drain. With the phone, the app is actually installed and I don't see any excessive start lag that wouldn't be there in a cart game too (setting up the db, loading graphics, initializing the engine, etc.). From a graphics, sound, networking, etc., standpoint, I don't see anything the ds can do that the iphone can't (okay, yes, there are two screens, but that's not a "killer features" as far as I'm concerned; if anything, I've never been very good at keeping focus on the "right" screen at the right time).

    I can appreciate we won't see Mario Kart on the iPhone soon, if ever, but I'd think that there are plenty of other companies developing for the ds who, if they wrote an iphone version, would be opening up a whole new market for themselves. I know there's been articles about iphone app piracy that you don't have as much with a cart, so I guess that's a legitimate concern. That said, I know lots of iphone users, none of them even know what jailbreaking is; are there really more iphone users "in the know" about how to pirate an app than users who just buy their apps and go about their business?

    I appreciate this sounds very fanboy-ish, but as someone who had an ipod, a phone, and a dslite...I was carrying around a lot of stuff. The iphone, for me, consolidates everything into one package and there's no reason I'd want to go back.

    • by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday November 02, 2009 @11:46AM (#29951592) Homepage Journal

      What I don't see is a major benefit of the ds hardware over the iphone.

      A lot of DS and PSP fanboys on Slashdot prefer the tactile response of the directional pad and physical buttons on the "traditional" handhelds over the flat multitouch screen of an iPod Touch. Some of the members of tetrisconcept.net and harddrop.com (forums for hardcore Tetris fans) have tried Tetris on an iPhone, and the control scheme wasn't suitable for the sort of 100+ piece per minute play that they're used to.

      as someone who had an ipod, a phone, and a dslite...I was carrying around a lot of stuff. The iphone, for me, consolidates everything into one package

      I'm currently on a $5 per month plan at Virgin Mobile because I don't text or use a lot of minutes. I looked into an iPhone and found the convenience of a single device not worth the money for the required voice and data plans.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What is this $5/month plan you speak of?

        • by tepples (727027)
          Virgin Mobile USA's cheapest plan costs $15 plus sales tax every 3 months. There's no way a smartphone plan will ever be that cheap, at least not in the United States of America.
    • The iPhone definitely expands the (Things I can do):(Things in my pockets) ratio by an order of magnitude or two, but I don't think it will ever deliver the same kind of gaming experience as a DS or PSP. Maybe it's my dislike for EA or my refusal to pay +$10 for a game when there are so many thousands of options in the $0-$1.99 range, but it seems like games approaching the sort of quality we take for granted on a DS are few and far between.

      I'll never carry a DS because, as you said, the iPhone is good enou

    • by jittles (1613415)

      I know there's been articles about iphone app piracy that you don't have as much with a cart, so I guess that's a legitimate concern.

      Are you serious? Pirating DS games is trivial. If I owned a DS I'd buy one of these cards [r4isdhc.net]. Not to pirate games, but just so that I wouldn't have to carry around all my cartridges on an airplane.

    • What I don't see is a major benefit of the ds hardware over the iphone. Yes I can pull out the game cart quickly get going with another game, but I've lost several carts and that's $40+ down the drain.

      Except when their DRM server or whatever thing the device phones home to is discontinued, or your device's memory gets corrupt, or you want to play those games on another device without paying for them all again, or you want to sell a game to someone else. A physical cartridge doesn't have any of the above pr

      • by wandazulu (265281)

        Except when their DRM server or whatever thing the device phones home to is discontinued, or your device's memory gets corrupt, or you want to play those games on another device without paying for them all again, or you want to sell a game to someone else. A physical cartridge doesn't have any of the above problems, but like you said, you have to keep from losing them.

        I have an iPhone and an iPod touch; one purchase allows me to use the app on both devices, simultaneously. Both my kids like a particular paint program, and they both use it on each of the devices and try to out-do the other.

        There is no DRM server as far as I know in that the iPod touch doesn't have any way to phone home; it's connected to whatever wireless network I let it connect to. Apple has stated there is a "kill switch" in the iphone OS, but that is an explicit thing...we are going to delete this app

  • Price Points (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Monday November 02, 2009 @11:26AM (#29951330)

    The challenge is to offer the immediacy of downloading an inexpensive new game, anywhere, anytime, without forcing the user into some kind of monthly data plan.

    There won't be a monthly plan, because it was be bundled into the price upfront. I also wouldn't be surprised if the median owner rarely used their 3G connection, and were subsidizing the small minority who uses it. There's a problem when Nintendo's handheld is more expensive than their full console. Especially when a large part of the success for the Wii is attributed to it's low price point.

    • The whole cost doesn't have to be bundled into the hardware - the purpose of the wireless access is so you can download games from their store. Charge a few extra bucks per game and you probably more than balance out the cost of transmitting it, especially for smaller old-school games, while keeping the cost well below buying a cartridge in a store.
    • by ookaze (227977)

      There won't be a monthly plan, because it was be bundled into the price upfront. I also wouldn't be surprised if the median owner rarely used their 3G connection, and were subsidizing the small minority who uses it. There's a problem when Nintendo's handheld is more expensive than their full console. Especially when a large part of the success for the Wii is attributed to it's low price point.

      Where is the problem exactly with Nintendo's handheld being more expensive than their home console (it's not)?
      I rather see a problem when someone:
      - is calling Nintendo's home console a "full" console, meaning handhelds are not "full" console,
      - says their handheld as more expensive than their home console when it's not,
      - have a problem with a handheld being more expensive than a home console,
      - is saying without any basis that a large part of the success of the Wii is attributed to its low price (it's not, fo

  • A 3G chip adds manufacturing cost, won't play well in all countries (look at how the kindle has had functionality removed outside the US), can be incredibly slow depending on the network and location, will be incredibly expensive for the 500mb+ downloads that will probably make up DS2 games...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tetsujin (103070)

      A 3G chip adds manufacturing cost, won't play well in all countries (look at how the kindle has had functionality removed outside the US), can be incredibly slow depending on the network and location, will be incredibly expensive for the 500mb+ downloads that will probably make up DS2 games...

      Go back and read tepples' post about the typical size of current Nintendo games...

      Current DS games are only around 32MB. Wii Ware games tend to be around 50MB. Do you really think the games in Nintendo's next handheld are going to be over ten times that size?

      • by abigsmurf (919188)
        Yes?

        Ninokuni will be on a 4gigabit (512mb) cart and will fill it to the brim.

        The DS has had its hardware maxed out for years (thanks to it having a hard limit on how many polygons it can display and tiny texture memory). The hardware was fairly weak at launch let alone now.

        With a significant spec boost that the DS2 is looking to receive from the ARM based ION platform rumoured, developers will easily match the 300mb-1.5gigs that most full retail PSP downloads take up.
        • by Tetsujin (103070)

          Yes?

          Ninokuni will be on a 4gigabit (512mb) cart and will fill it to the brim.

          Still, this is Nintendo we're talking about. Think about the specs on the Wii, for instance, and then tell me about how Nintendo's next handheld is going to be a huge upgrade in terms of storage and capabilities over the DS. :)

          Also, Ninokuni is decidedly not typical of a DS game - even new ones...

      • And the responses. Tepples' numbers are wrong.

  • that'll be expensive...

    Good luck Nintendo. They better be building this cost into online game sales...

    • They're trading a production/distribution model that requires banking on how many units will sell, and producing that many (or slightly more), and distributing them to stores in the hopes that none of the stores will run out, with one that allows them to immediately produce a copy on demand, and pay for distribution only when it's actually needed.

      It's not going to be *that* expensive. They're limiting network access to their store, and the games aren't *that* big. The cartridges can store 256MB or larger ca

  • I'm skeptical of how successful this can be. For one thing, their analogy is flawed. It's easy to build the price wireless of service for ebooks into the purchase price because ebooks are, on average, less than 1MB in size. Contrast that with modern portable games, which can regularly exceed 1GB in file size. If Nintendo plans to build that cost into the price of games, they could be looking at a substantial markup. Also, acquiring the game is not the only consideration for portable game buyers. They'

    • ebooks are, on average, less than 1MB in size. Contrast that with modern portable games, which can regularly exceed 1GB in file size. If Nintendo plans to build that cost into the price of games, they could be looking at a substantial markup.

      I addressed that in this post [slashdot.org].

      Also, acquiring the game is not the only consideration for portable game buyers. They'll also want online functionality within many games.

      But how many friend codes do you think a player can gather? Playing without a friend code is little different from playing against the CPU.

    • Re:Skeptical (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tonycheese (921278) on Monday November 02, 2009 @12:06PM (#29951854)

      Perhaps I'm biased, since I love my DS, but I really don't see how the iPhone is hurting the DS in any way. My girlfriend owns both a DS and an iPhone and beyond the initial "Oh look at this cool game!" reaction, I've never seen her play a single game on the iPhone.
      Are there really games on the iPhone that people would be willing to invest time on? Even with all the hype and articles about the issue, I really don't get the sense at all that the iPhone is in any way taking customers from Nintendo or Sony. Saying iPhone games are convenient is like saying regular cell phone brick games or tetris games are convenient - it doesn't change the fact that it'll drain your battery in an hour and fifteen minutes and isn't particularly engaging anyway.

      There's no way an iPhone replicates "70-80%" of the functionality of a DS or PSP, they're two different things.

      The way I see it, Nintendo isn't looking to gain back market share or anything - its sales definitely are not weak or faltering in any way, 115 million units compared to the PSP's 56 (or the iPhone's 21). Instead, they're probably just looking to expand their market more and more, and they may feel that downloading little or full-size games whenever the user wants may be the way to do it.

      • by Itchyeyes (908311)

        I don't really have much to say about your argument other than I think your personal experience is somewhat subjective. As evidence I'd just point out that the iPhone games market is something that is clearly on the minds of people at Sony and Nintendo. Since the iPhone has launched both Sony and Nintendo have introduces low priced, downloable tiers to their platforms (DSiWare and "snackable" games on the PSN) to compete directly with the game market on the iPhone. And in this very article, Iwata directl

        • by ookaze (227977)

          I don't really have much to say about your argument other than I think your personal experience is somewhat subjective.

          You just missed all the facts in his post then.
          Like lots of people mixing iPhone with "cellphones" when cellphone is needed to imply "huge market".

          As evidence I'd just point out that the iPhone games market is something that is clearly on the minds of people at Sony and Nintendo. Since the iPhone has launched both Sony and Nintendo have introduces low priced, downloable tiers to their platforms (DSiWare and "snackable" games on the PSN) to compete directly with the game market on the iPhone.

          iPhone game market clearly is not on the mind of Nintendo. Sony I don't know, but sure enough not Nintendo. At best, Nintendo have tried to protect itself from a potential threat coming from iPhone apps market. The game market for the iPhone sure enough is not profitable for big publisher companies doing games for DS or even PSP. Those that entered the market (mo

  • Next up... 3G on Casio calculators...
  • Nintendo is famous for not buying into the "all-in-one" device and has always focused on games only. Adding 3g sounds interesting but its reality is really limiting. This would likely be only for access to DSi type mini game downloads since actually supporting online gaming with "free" g3 is financially impossible unless the handheld is prohibitively expensive. There is also the added cost of supporting different architectures since there is no real global standard for cellular technology.

  • by hellfire (86129) <(deviladv) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday November 02, 2009 @12:06PM (#29951866) Homepage

    Okay, we need to get moving faster on wireless networking oversight. It's getting worse than the cable/dsl nightmare of crappy service and quality they provide. How about we unbundle these wireless connections from their devices and simply allow us to select the right one and drop in the appropriate chip? Someone put some pressure on the US market to standardize on something. then have them compete on price, speed, service, and support. Right now they compete with lock in and fancy stupid commercials.

    And it's not "free". At the very least, it's included with the price of the device. And how does one exactly subsidize that on a single device? It's $30 a month for the iPhone data plan, that's $360 a year in fees. Are they going to tack on $360 to the price of the device? And how do they expect to do this in multiple countries? And in the US will anyone accept the hit their network is going to take? They saw the iPhone, they should be wary of the nintendo with 3G wireless.

    There are too many questions here, and so many fail points. The best way to serve consumers is to UNBundle the wireless component so we can all make choices. I'd love to be able to do that on all the networks, and I'd sacrifice visual voicemail to do it.

    • by JSBiff (87824) on Monday November 02, 2009 @12:18PM (#29952012) Journal

      I don't have a Kindle, so someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the concept is, the Kindle isn't a 'general purpose' Internet device, like a smart phone - that is, I don't think you can really just browse the web, stream audio and video from youtube, hulu, or whatever. Basically, the data connection on the Kindle is special-purpose - for downloading Kindle eBooks/eZines/eNewspapers, which are a) relatively small, and b) the price of the 3G network bandwidth for the download is essentially bundled in the price of the content you purchase.

      So, Amazon, I think, worked out a deal with carriers in different countries to pay for the cost of the downloads, by sharing the revenue generated by the content purchases with the network operators(granted, there is also some activity, like the user browsing the amazon kindle 'store', which doesn't directly generate revenue, but which is recovered by the user purchases).

      In such a business model, the individual users are probably generating, collectively, much less bandwidth-use per device (on average) than your average smart-phone user, so the costs to the 3G network operator are relatively small. Any users who are using a lot more bandwidth than the average user are also paying a lot more for content than the average user, so the high-use users pay for themselves (as do the low-use users).

      I could very easily see Nintendo working out such a deal with network operators if the only thing the online connectivity is used for is browsing the Nintendo store to find and purchase games/DLC, and then download the games after purchase. If, however, the Nintendo device allows web browsing and online play against/with other Nintendo users, then I have a harder time seeing that business model succeed (because the users, then, aren't necessarily paying indirectly for all the network bandwidth they use).

  • it gets hacked and people tether it to get free 3G data access. Its happened in the past, and it can happen again, especially with Nintendo's stellar record of console security.
  • From the FT piece: 'Only people who can pay thousands of yen a month [in mobile phone subscriptions] can be iPhone customers.'

    Ummm, 1000 Yen ~= $10 USD. So paying thousands == between $10 and $100 per month (I think most people here fall into the higher end of that range). I fail to see how that's an astonishing figure worth pointing out...

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      $100 per month just for access to a mobile data network is a fair chunk of change to most people and considering that kids are a big segment of Nintendo's consumer base...

      • Well, if you told me that it would cost me tens of dollars per month, in my mind that means 12, 15, 20, perhaps even 30... But if you said it was 90, while technically correct, I think it is misleading... That was my point...
    • by Toonol (1057698)
      It's worth pointing out, because if their next gaming device cost $90, $50, or $20 a month to use its features, it would fail miserably. I don't think Nintendo is competing with the iPhone at all; but if it is, it's by owning the audience from 8 to 18 years old, and then holding on to them as they age.

      Nintendo is a smart and conservative company, and they're looking at the long haul. Apple's model is far more unstable; it'll collapse again as soon as the fashion tides change.

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