When Nintendo announced that its online gaming service, Wi-fi Connect, was coming to DS, the combination of broadband play and the handheld's unique features had our minds racing with possibilities. Top of many people's wish list was that Nintendo would include voice chat, courtesy of the DS's microphone.
Despite assertions that the feature was technically possible from various Nintendo bigwigs, no such service has been implemented - until now that is. In his keynote speech at D.I.C.E. in LA yesterday, the company's Reggie Fils-Aime, executive vice president of sales & marketing, announced that the upcoming Metroid Prime Hunters is set to allow gamers to chat online before and after matches.
As Nintendo describes it, players "simply click the chat icon and say what they have to say. The microphone of the Nintendo DS picks up voice communication and transmits it to the people on their friend list. Players can use the chat function before a match to agree on settings or after a battle to relive their glories."
We put in a word to Nintendo's European arm this morning to see if we can expect a similar feature in our version of Metroid Prime Hunters, when it hits on May 5. Slightly troublingly, voice chat has yet to be confirmed for the game in this territory. However, as far as we can make out, you should be able to use the feature if you pick up a US copy of the game on import - and as an added bonus, you'll get it sooner too on March 20.