Nintendo has begun a Japanese nationwide test of its content download service for the Nintendo DS, allowing gamers to wirelessly download demos and bonus game content from special kiosks in locations all over Japan.
The service was originally announced as part of a pre-launch press event in the States late last year, where Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced that time-restricted demos would be available to download at said kiosks. As the service rolls out for the first time, however, it appears that demos will instead remain on DS units until they are powered down.
Bonus content, on the other hand, will be a different matter. In the case of extra music for Jam With The Band, for example, it remains there regardless of whether the unit is powered down or not - presumably having been stored on the game card itself.
The downloadable content service works in a similar way to the single-cartridge "DS Download" multiplayer option that many developers have already taken advantage of, having the game owner download content to client DS units whose owners can then take part to varying degrees. Nintendo envisions the demo download service as a way of bucking the trend where only sequels hit the sales charts by giving gamers a hassle-free way of trying things before they buy, Iwata-san said last October.
The Japanese content download test will conclude on 21st March and Nintendo has yet to reveal details of when it will launch properly - or outside Japan. However the company is widely tipped to launch various DS initiatives at the E3 trade show in Los Angeles this May and the timing of this test suggests it may well be one of them.