Nintendo of America has signed a deal with McDonald's to put Wi-Fi hotspots in more than 7000 restaurants across the US, giving DS owners free access to the new Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service.
McDonald's already offers wireless Internet access to laptop owners in restaurants all around the country, but charges a fee. The access points are supplied by Texan firm Wayport, which will receive an undisclosed sum from Nintendo for providing wireless access for the DS.
"This agreement with Wayport will bring countless people together to play games in a single, simultaneous wireless community," said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's executive VP of sales and marketing.
"Beginning with free access at participating McDonald's, we have removed one of the major barriers that have kept people from going online to play games."
Wayport CEO Dave Vucina commented: "By enabling Nintendo DS customers to access Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection via our Wi-Fi World network and business model at McDonald's, we are continuing to drive more customers to the restaurants we serve and increase the relevancy of Wi-Fi to a broader customer base."
"Nintendo is a pioneer in providing a new way for their customers to play the games they want to while away from home or the office, and McDonald's is the perfect venue based on their ubiquity and accessibility."
The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service will launch in the US on November 14, with a European launch to follow on November 25 - the same day as Mario Kart DS, complete with online mode, hits shop shelves. Other forthcoming Wi-Fi titles include Metroid Prime Hunters, Animal Crossing: Wild World and Tony Hawk's American SK8Land. Nintendo was unavailable to comment on whether European McDonald's restaurants will also offer free access to the service.
However, it has been confirmed that "Nintendo DS is just the first Nintendo system to connect via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection," according to an official statement.
"The same service will be incorporated into Nintendo's next-generation home video game console, codenamed Revolution, which is set for release in 2006."