Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection already online

Launch of shows DS network is now "Fully Operational"; new site gives tips on how to find hot spots, connect at home.

With the official launch of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection just one week away, Nintendo has launched the Web site dedicated to its first comprehensive online enterprise.

Located at, the site offers a host of information for DS owners who want to play online in numerous countries. It has an extensive section on how to log on to the service from home, as well asa list of routers that are compatible with the Wireless DS USB connector.

The Web site also has a section dedicated to help users find a Wi-Fi Connection hot spot outside the home. Apparently, many of these sites are already fully functional. When given the zip code "94105," the hot-spot locator displayed six sites in downtown San Francisco where the network is up and running.

Indeed, proudly displays the words "Global Wi-Fi Gaming Service Fully Operational" on the upper right-hand side of every page. There are also active leaderboards listing the top players of Mario Kart DS and Tony Hawk's American Sk8land, the first two games to use the Wi-Fi Connection.

Nintendo reps contacted by GameSpot said that the system was indeed online, and had been for weeks. However, they also confirmed that the only people playing online at the moment were authorized beta testers and game journalists reviewing American Sk8land and Mario Kart DS, which don't go on sale until next week.

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Can I chat online? Not all games will contain a chat feature. Each individual game developer determines if chat will be in the game and how it will operate. Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection games that contain a chat feature will work as follows: "Open" chat is allowed between friends who have exchanged Friend Codes. "Closed" chat may be available during play with others who you have not exchanged Friend Codes with. "Closed" chat means you can select from a set of phrases to send to an opponent but you may not type whatever you want. One of the great features of the Nintendo DS is Pictochat, which allows players to chat using the local wireless mode of the system. At this time, Pictochat is not a feature of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Keep checking for news of any future uses of the Pictochat feature. ..........sounds like fun. Pre-written chat messages. Nothing about voice chat. This is straight from the DS WiFi site. Like i said, have fun.