Nintendo Japan's attempts to turn the DS into more than just a game system already kicked into high gear with the recent announcement of a program that will turn the system into an educational tool for classrooms. Now the company's efforts are going into overdrive with a new program called Nintendo Zone.
Nintendo Zone is a new Wi-Fi service that will offer downloads and other free content to DS, DSLite and DSi owners at various public facilities. The first two examples are nationwide McDonalds restaurants and train stations along one Tokyo train line, the Tsukuba Express.
Both the McDonalds and Tsukuba Nintendo Zones will offer demo downloads and Wi-Fi Connection hot spots for players. Nintendo will also offer other types of downloads, including Jirachi Pokemon data for Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum.
The Tsukuba Express implementation will exclusively offer access to news and television program downloads, as well as full access for DSi users to to the DSi Shop, where they can download DSi Ware games.
While McDonalds won't allow for the DSi Shop access, Nintendo and the restaurant chain are teaming up for some special promotions (click here to see a pic at Famitsu.com of Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata holding a really big Big Mac). DS owners will be able to collect digital Pokemon stamps as part of a digital stamp rally. Each restaurant will offer a different stamp, cycling daily. Collect eight stamps, and you'll get a coupon for a cheeseburger. Sixteen will get you a Bic Mac!
There are at least eight McDonalds restaurants in the vicinity of IGN's Japanese office in Tokyo, so we'll be sure and see if Nintendo and McDonalds really do give us a free burger once the service kicks off on June 19.
Those who have been keeping up with Nintendo's expansion efforts will recall a similar program from last year called Nintendo Spot. That was just a test run of Nintendo Zone.
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