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The (commonly abbreviated WFC) is an online multiplayer gaming service run by Nintendo to provide free online play in compatible Nintendo DS and Wii games. The service is separate from the company's Wii Shop Channel and DSi Shop game download services.


The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection was developed to be easy to connect to, safe for everyone to use, and free. Games designed to take advantage of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection offer Internet play integrated into the game. The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection can support up to sixteen players on the Nintendo DS and thirty-two players on Wii. Basic features of the Wi-Fi Connection include worldwide matchmaking, leaderboards, tournaments, and downloadable content. Additional features are available between friends who have exchanged Friend Codes.

Friend Codes

Each game that uses the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection generates a unique twelve digit Friend Code that can be exchanged with friends and be used to maintain individual friend lists in each game. Friend Codes are generated from an identifier unique to a copy of a game and the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection ID of a DS or Wii system. Using a different copy of a game or loading the same copy in a different system generates a new Friend Code. In order for users to become "Friends", they must mutually add Friend Codes and will be authenticated as Friends once both have gone online. These measures are said by Nintendo to be conscious steps to preserve users' privacy. If a DS or Wii game is sold, but not the system, there is no risk of the purchaser impersonating the seller. If a user needs to replace his or her DS system, then the old system's Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection ID can be transferred wirelessly, to maintain the user's original Friend Codes on the new machine.

Many games have additional features that are enabled between registered friends. These may include customized matchmaking options, cooperative play, friend lists, text chat, and voice chat.

The red Pay & Play logo

Pay & Play

In 2008 Nintendo announced a new feature for the Wi-Fi Connection called Pay & Play. Games that use the Pay & Play feature may have additional downloadable content or services that require extra fees. These fees will be paid for using Nintendo Points. A special red Wi-Fi Connection logo with the words "Pay & Play" is used to distinguish these games from the regular free Wi-Fi games.

The first games to feature Pay & Play were released in Japan as part of WiiWare on the March 25 2008. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, Kotoba no Puzzle Mojipittan Wii and Lonpos each had downloadable content available for 100 to 800 Wii Points. The first retail Wii titles to feature Pay & Play functionality are Samba De Amigo, Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Band 2.


WiiConnect24 is a feature of Wii that allows the system to be connected to the Internet even when the console is in standby mode. Games and channels that utilize WiiConnect24 can send and receive data even while the game is not being played. Players who wish to send data to friends only need to register each other's Wii System Code and not individual friend codes. Players can also send friends messages using WiiConnect24 from the Wii Message Board. When a message is received, the Wii's slot light will glow blue.


The first Wi-Fi Connection games were Mario Kart DS and Tony Hawk's American Sk8land for the Nintendo DS, both released on November 15 2005, following by Animal Crossing: Wild World in Japan on November 23 and in North America on December 5. The first Wii Wi-Fi Connection games were released in 2006 in Japan and in 2007 overseas. In Japan and North America the first game was Pokémon Battle Revolution. In Europe, Australia, and New Zealand the first game was Mario Strikers Charged.

Currently, there are over 60 Wii games, 25 WiiWare games, 93 DS games and 2 DSiWare game available worldwide that support the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

Connection options

Nintendo DS

The Nintendo DS has an 802.11b wireless adapter built in allowing the DS to access the service via any compatible wireless network. Public hotspots that use a captive portal can be accessed after login using the Nintendo DS Browser. The connection settings allows players to configure access to and save settings for up to three different networks. Connection settings can be detected automatically or entered manually. The Nintendo DS is compatible with WEP encryption. Nintendo DSi, released in Japanmarker on November 1, 2008, and in the USA on April 5, 2009, is compatible with both WPA and WEP encryptions.


The Wii has an 802.11b/g wireless adapter built-in. It is compatible with WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption. The Wii is also AOSS compatible as of the 3.0 system update. The connection settings allows players to configure access to and save settings for up to three different networks. Connection settings can be detected automatically or entered manually. The Wii does not have an Ethernet port built in, but can be connected via wired LAN with a USB Ethernet adapter available from Nintendo and third parties.

Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector

The Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector
If a compatible wireless network is not available, the Nintendo DS and Wii can also connect through the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector. Broadband Internet access is not required to make use of this connectivity, though it is recommended to reduce network latency. It was priced at $34.99 at the Nintendo Online Store, however it has since been discontinued due to legal issues. Many third party products provide similar functionality.


Nintendo is working with hotspot providers to allow free access in public for Nintendo DS users. In 2005 Nintendo made an agreements with Texas-based firm Wayport, Inc. to provide access in McDonald's Restaurants in the U.S.. However, the deal was not renewed and has since expired. A similar partnership with FatPort to create free hotspots in Canada was announced by Nintendo of Canada on October 19, 2005.

In 2006 former Director of Marketing for Nintendo of Europe Jim Merrick announced that Nintendo was planning total of 25,000 hotspots in Europe, with 7,500 in UK alone thanks to a partnership with The Cloud and BT Openzone.

Nintendo of Australia initially announced on November 17, 2005 that they would roll out only 26 hotspots across the country, in partnership with selected Electronics Boutique, Myer and Dick Smith Powerhouse stores. On April 14 2007, Nintendo announced that over one thousand additional free hotspots had been added in a partnership with Telstra Wireless, providing access in selected hotels, airports, Starbucks cafes, McDonald's restaurants.

Official website

Nintendo created the official Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection web site as a portal for gamers looking to access the service or that are in need of troubleshooting assistance. The website has live statistics and data from the service's servers and recorded high scores and service status. It also allowed a user to link his or her Nintendo DS Wi-Fi Connection ID to a My Nintendo account. As of November 2008, the site has closed in North America and has now moved into a subsection of the Games section on

See also


  1. Nintendo. "How do I get a Friend Code?" Online posting. 28 Dec. 2005. FAQs. 26 Dec 2006 [1]
  2. Nintendo online store
  3. "Nintendo and Wayport Join Forces to Bring Free U.S. Wi-Fi Access To Nintendo DS Users." 18 Oct. 2005. 20 July 2006 [2].
  4. "Nintendo and Fatport Join Forces to Bring Free Wi-Fi Access To Canadian Nintendo DS Users." 19 Oct. 2005. 20 July 2006 [3].
  5. "Nintendo of Europe on DS Chat, Revolution." 1UP. 31 Oct. 2005. 20 July 2006 [4].

External links

Official Sites


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