Some of the technical details regarding just how the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection works are starting to appear in the press and amid the talk of buddy lists and USB dongles and transparent connections is the news that Mario Kart DS and Animal Crossing: Wild World will not support voice chat despite Nintendo's showcase of a DS-based IP telephony tech demo back at E3. The reason for cutting chat? Safety reasons, of course. We can't have pedophiles grooming innocent children during a K.K. Slider concert or nasty language overtaking a race through Moo Moo Farm.
Both will lack voice communication, for safety reasons - "we need to be entirely confident that there can be no untoward activity," the supplement quotes a Nintendo Europe product manager as saying, with the emphasis on "pure gameplay".
It's probably for the best. Every time I've ever played an online game that allows voice or text chat, nobody ever says anything of value. It's all insults and immature taunts. If voice chat was actually beneficial in online gaming I'd probably be disappointed in this decision, but somehow I don't think I'll be missing anything by remaining silent online when playing against random strangers.
As far as that tech demo goes, Nintendo's PR people have said that they don't want to get into the IP telephony business. Nintendo must have plans for voice chat somewhere though, otherwise why would the company have spent time and resources to develop it? I'd like to see voice chat included when playing against people that I actually know. I travel in a circle of friends who can play a video game without unleashing a stream of insulting profanity.