How do you make the lion roar?

Friday, 11 March 2005 — 1:26pm | Video games

I echo what Carter asks Mysterioso in Carter Beats the Devil, but here I direct my question to Nintendo instead. It concerns their wireless networking plan, which I briefly discussed in this post. As it turns out, I should have waited for the full transcript of the Iwata keynote, as it appears some of my questions have already been answered.

Quoth Iwata-san:

Every aspect of DS is designed to be friendly to all audiences. Therefore, Wi-Fi should be easy for everyone, too. Our goal is to make this process simple and seamless. Users shouldn’t have to give it a thought. Wi-Fi connections will feel like local area network connections because they will use a common API. We will let DS owners enjoy Wi-Fi without the difficulty of entering an SSID or WEP key. And maybe most importantly, we will remove the most important consumer barrier – Nintendo’s Wi-Fi connections will be free. As I said, simple and seamless.

How? How? What dark magic has been invoked to perform this miracle? How can this happen without compromising wireless security? What of the legal implications, if any, of using neighbouring private networks as hot-spots? Has Nintendo somehow conjured some new unheard-of infrastructure? I appreciate answers from any Wi-Fi experts in the audience who are not already bound by non-disclosure agreements.

For a long time, I have perceived Wi-Fi as the one key area where Sony has an edge over Nintendo, given its in-house expertise in developing personal computers and related hardware. No evidence of this was greater than how the PSP has wireless network configuration – SSIDs and WEP keys – embedded in its firmware, whereas with the DS, Nintendo seems to have left wireless support entirely to the software end. Now it looks like Nintendo’s pulled an Apple, playing the “ease of use” card and negating its competitor’s advantage – if it delivers on its promise.

On a related note, IGN is really on the ball with their GDC coverage: here’s their preview of Animal Crossing DS, with a video attached that at one point, shows how your character can change out of the goofy horns in the original game in favour of more fashionable headwear. They also have the complete GDC keynote on video, which has not yet been banished to the infernal realm of subscriber-only content.

Lastly, I have indeed seen the outstanding trailer for Revenge of the Sith. Comments will hopefully come when a stable, high-quality version is linkable.


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