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Iwata voices interest in Kindle-like free 3G service for DS


Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has gone on the record with the Financial Times as being "interested" in the strategy Amazon has adopted for free internet access on its Kindle eBook reader. "I'm interested because it's a new business model in which the user doesn't bear the communications cost," he told the publication.

There's no fee for accessing Amazon's "WhisperNet" 3G network on Kindle, as the cost is built into the price of the device up-front. Taking a similar route with DS would mean the handheld would have a free, "always on" connection, something PSP doesn't and mobile platforms such as the iPhone do, but at the cost of a cellular data plan. "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," Iwata said.

Such a move would definitely expose more DSi (and DSi XL) buyers -- especially those without access to home WiFi networks -- to Nintendo's DSi Store, but Iwata admits there would be mixed reactions among consumers, saying, "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."

[Via Pocket Gamer]

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