McDonald’s starts DS-user service

by Hiroko Nakata

McDonald’s Co. (Japan) Ltd. will start a new service Friday using Nintendo Co.’s popular DS hand-held consoles at its 3,200 outlets nationwide.

The service will provide free content for DS, DS Lite and DSi machines when users bring them to certain areas of the outlets where wireless Internet access is available.

The content includes collectable characters from popular games, including the “Pokemon” series, information about new McDonald’s services and products, and discount coupons.

“This service will become the big key that enables McDonald’s to take a further step in e-marketing,” and makes interactive communications with customers possible, President Eiko Harada told a news conference in Tokyo on Sunday.

“With this service, we hope users take their DS out more often by providing them with fun and convenience,” Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata said.

For Nintendo, the announcement is a further step in expanding its service.

The game giant, which has sold more than 26 million DS consoles in Japan, said in April it was starting new services to use the DS consoles as information and education tools.

For example, the consoles allow users to get information, including maps and guides, at shopping malls and museums. It has also started a service that allows teachers to send tests and other school assignments from their personal computers to students who have DS consoles.