All those free matches of Mario Kart DS you've been playing? Cherish them while you can, because Nintendo announced in a GDC panel today that it'll be rolling out a new "Pay & Play" service. A brand new red logo could be seen hovering just under the standard blue, "free" Wi-Fi Connection symbol during the talk, ideally to help differentiate the two services. Full details were not revealed, but speaker Takashi Aoyama did have this to say about the new logo:
"For those areas that will require a fee, we will use this symbol."
The real question becomes "what areas require a fee?" Aoyama was quick to say most of the WFC would remain free, so odds are we won't be paying a yearly fee a la Xbox Live anytime soon. However, these fee-based additions are said to fund further developments with the Wi-Fi Connection, so we're betting on it being something you'll actually want and not some superfluous junk. No prices, dates or examples were given for anything.
The rest of Aoyama's speech focused on the development of the Wii Menu pre and post launch and the updates Wii Menu 3 will see. Expect future games to come with their own channels that update daily - Wii Fit's doing this now in Japan. Other topics included the blue "you've got mail!" light and how its pulsing rhythm is based on a bird's soothing call, and small updates to the Wii Message Board.
Feb 22, 2008