The gaming convention that took place last week may have been located in Leipzig, Germany, but the major coup of the event was garnered by none other than French site Puissance-Nintendo. Why? Because they managed to get an exclusive interview with Jim Merrick, Head of European Marketing for Nintendo and successor to the Gosen-o-tron (aka David Gosen). In the discussion, details regarding the Nintendo Wi-Fi service were covered in detail, with firm confirmation of its European standing as well.
Below is a short taster of the interview:
Puissance-Nintendo: How does it work between Nintendo and the third-party publishers, if they want to use the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Service. It will be free for the players, but will it be free for them to bring their games to the service?
Jim Merrick: Yes, it is free. They have the option to charge for their service if they choose to do so. It depends on the game architecture : something like Mario Kart doesn't require servers since the DS speak directly to each other when the match-making is done.
It's very low-cost to operate. But a Massive Multi-Player Persistant world-type of game is a very expensive thing to operate: they may decide to charge for something like that, it's entirely their option. But we will not take a percentage of what they charge. That's their business.
P-N: While we're at webinterfaces, will we also be able to browse the web from the DS when it gets online?
JM: It's certainly possible, of course, but what's interesting to us is to make sure online is a natural extension of the game. So you don't go to a completely different user interface saying now I'm on GameSpy and I'm looking for somebody. It just depends on how it looks like in each game. In Mario Kart, you get there, set up a tournament and find somebody to play with, but you never really see a user selection on the screen. It's still visually part of the race track, the kart in front of you... Animal Crossing is a different type of a game. You don't really want people you don't know coming into your village and chumping down your trees, turning up your house. It's a very personal thing, so you go to the train station, you buy a ticket to get to somebody else's village taking the train. It's very much in the context of each game, even though we have a server somewhere which manages everything: we mask that from the user.
P-N: Will the launch of the service be worldwide?
JM: Yes, and we'd better have WiFi Connection Service up and running when the game launched, you know!
In order to read the full interview, which proves to be a very interesting read, please follow the link below: