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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Nintendo To Offer Free Online Games At McDonald's

Nintendo Co. Ltd. on Tuesday said it has signed an agreement with Wi-Fi provider Wayport Inc. to offer free access to the video-game maker's wireless gaming service at nearly 6,000 McDonald's restaurants.

Under the agreement, the new service, called Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, will be available Nov. 14 to users of the Nintendo DS handheld gaming system.

Similar to how cafe chain Starbucks Corp. has lured adult customers with Wi-Fi service for cruising the Internet while sipping cappuccino, McDonald's has joined with Nintendo in offering kids the chance to eat burgers and play Nintendo games Mario Kart DS and Activision's Tony Hawk's American SK8Land. Games that are expected to be available in the future include Animal Crossing: Wild World, and Metroid Prime Hunters.

"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," Dave Vucina, chief executive of Austin, Texas-based, Wayport, said in a statement.

Nintendo DS is the first Nintendo system to connect to the company's Wi-Fi service. The same service is expected to be incorporated in the Tokyo-based company's upcoming home video-game console, code-named Revolution, which is set for release next year.

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