Nintendo Tests Interactive Fan Technology
Nintendo uses its DS portable as a utility and entertainment provider in sports stadiums.
Nintendo and the Seattle Mariners are partnering for a project titled the Nintendo Fan Network, which allows Nintendo DS owners within Safeco Field to download a program to their hand-held and order food and drinks, watch the live television feed of the game, access baseball stats, and play trivia games from the comfort of their seat anywhere in the stadium. Recurring viewers can order the program for one game at $5 a pop, or 10 games for $30.
The project was offered by Nintendo to the Mariners in late 2005 and spent a year in development so it could be tested during the 2007 season. "It's been a work in progress," said Nintendo Corporate Affairs Manager J.C. Smith. "Once we created the technology of the DS, we started looking at other applications to use its wireless features. The program system became so popular ... so we sought other ways to make this a fun system for people to have. ... For us it's really just the initial stage. We didn't want to push it hard until we were sure the services were working. We're now to that point where we're like, 'Let's push it out further.'"
Previous attempts at smart seating technology have floundered at best. Both the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and San Francisco Giants have at one time installed "smart seats" that offered similar services to the Nintendo Fan Network, only to uninstall the seats due to a lack of use. However, as long as the fans react positively with the program, Nintendo expects to continually improve the technology and service and expand to more stadiums.