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Nintendo rolls out Wi-Fi hotspots

And new Download Stations.

Nintendo has announced the roll out of more than 600 BT Openzone hotspots in retail stores across the UK and Ireland, giving DS owners free access to the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service.

More than 500 of the Wi-Fi enabled stores, which include branches of GAME, Gamestation, HMV and Toys R Us, will also feature Download Stations, where you can try out playable game demos.

At roll out, single-level demos will be available for Polarium and Meteos, and you'll also be able to meet Shigeru Miyamoto's Nintendog. April and May will see the arrival of demos for Pokémon Link, Trauma Centre: Under the Knife and Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain?, plus special items for Animal Crossing: Wild World and a Metroid Prime: Hunters trailer.

To get online, you must must visit a store with a Wi-Fi enabled game inserted in your DS unit and select the Wi-Fi Connection option. To download game demos, you need to choose 'DS Download Play' on the system menu; demos will remain playable for as long as your DS is switched on.

The roll out begins today, and Nintendo predicts that Wi-Fi hotspots in a total of 607 stores will be up and running by the summer. There are already 7500 Nintendo Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK as a result of Nintendo's partnerships with providers such as BT Openzone.

"Nintendo has revolutionised Wi-Fi video gaming, removing all of the negative aspects whilst retaining the fun and diversity it offers and now anyone can join in with the one million other people across the globe currently enjoying our service," said Nintendo UK's general manager, David Yarnton.

"The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service truly offers the mass market a great opportunity to fully embrace Wi-Fi."