Nintendo Ponders Kindle-Style 3G DS

Could a future version of the Nintendo DS hardware use 3G for digital downloads? Nintendo president Satoru Iwata says the company could take a cue from Amazon's Kindle business model.

Unlike today's smart phones and mobile 3G cards, which require monthly fees to access the network, Amazon's Kindle eBook reader figures in the price of 3G into the initial hardware cost, so the customer effectively pays one fee for the device and a lifetime of 3G access. Speaking at a analyst briefing following last week's lowered financial outlook, Nintendo's president called the Kindle's price plan an "option for the future."

"Only people who can pay thousands of yen a month [in mobile phone subscriptions] can be iPhone customers. That doesn't fit Nintendo customers because we make amusement products," Mr Iwata said. The Kindle's one-off cost would better suit Nintendo's customer base, he said. "In reality, if we did this it would increase the cost of the hardware, and customers would complain about Nintendo putting prices up, but it is one option for the future."

I don't see any problem with the handheld's current Wi-Fi access, but then again I rarely go anywhere that doesn't have an access point these days. I suppose if you want to be able to download new games nearly anywhere, 3G is certainly one way to go. Would you pay more for a 3G-enabled Nintendo DS?

Nintendo considers Kindle tactics for consoles [Financial Times]