DS hits 3m online connections

UK set to get 1000 new hot-spots.

The number of connections to Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection online service has topped three million worldwide, according to the company's UK general manager David Yarnton, who revealed the figure at an event in London this afternoon. That's thought to represent more than half a million actual users, according to Yarnton's later clarification of his comments.

Wi-Fi Connection, which is currently used by Nintendo DS titles but will eventually also service the Revolution home console, was launched with the online-enabled Mario Kart DS late last year and is playable both over home wireless networks and at public hot-spots in Nintendo's partner network.

The service now has over three million players online, according to Yarnton, continuing the phenomenal success which was first indicated when almost 50 per cent of US purchasers of Mario Kart DS used the online service in the first week of availability.

The numbers will have been boosted significantly by the launch of the Wi-Fi Connection enabled Animal Crossing: Wild World, which launched in December in Japan and North America and sold well over a million units in Japan alone in its first fortnight on sale.

Yarnton also revealed that a thousand new hot spots are to be equipped for DS use in the coming months, adding to the existing network of public hot spots in locations such as cafes, pubs and transport stations.

He was speaking at a special event held at the Science Museum to promote key forthcoming Nintendo DS titles including Electroplankton and the European version of the hugely successful Brain Training titles.

The venue wasn't chosen simply at random; Yarnton took the opportunity to announce that Nintendo has agreed a sponsorship deal with the museum for the next four years, worth over a GBP 1 million, which will include new touring shows designed to bring in new audiences and a "launch pad" gallery.

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