December 12, 2005


Mario Kart and more come to McDonald's (Hiawatha Bray, December 12, 2005, Boston Globe)

At McDonald's restaurants across the country, the idea of playing with one's food has taken on a whole new meaning.

Look around on your next visit and you may notice that some of the guests are letting their french fries grow cold while they sit twitching and giggling, their fingers wrapped tightly around a silver-gray box.

You may have seen the box before. It's a Nintendo DS, the Japanese company's popular portable game machine. But you'll likely see a great many more of them at McDonald's in days to come.

That's because the DS contains WiFi wireless Internet technology that enables an owner to play electronic games with other DS owners anywhere in the world. All that's needed is a WiFi hot spot where the DS can log on to the Internet. And now, there are 6,000 such hot spots in McDonald's restaurants from coast to coast, part of a three-way deal between the hamburger titan, Nintendo, and Wayport, a wireless Internet company best known for serving hotels and airports.

Anybody with a WiFi device can use the McDonald's hot spots, for a sensible price -- $2.95 for two hours.

How long will $2.95 get you on the pay phone in the corner?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 12, 2005 9:39 AM

You have pay phones where you live?

Posted by: Rick T. at December 12, 2005 9:53 AM

No cell towers.

Posted by: oj at December 12, 2005 10:00 AM

How long can you sit in a chair designed to push you out of it in 20 minutes?

I wonder if they thought this strategy through. They have to re-design every seat in every old location.

Posted by: Bruno at December 12, 2005 11:10 AM

That's the first Hiawatha I've ever seen in real life.

Maybe I've just had a sheltered life.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 12, 2005 11:50 AM

Bruno: I assume that's why the price point was set so low.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 12, 2005 11:52 AM

i bet you pay $2.95 regardless of how many minutes are actually used. congratulations to McDonalds for ruining children in a second way.

Posted by: uh huh at December 12, 2005 12:25 PM

Does the wireless signal extend out to the parking lot, I wonder. We may spend a bit of time with Ronald our next trip north.

Posted by: erp at December 12, 2005 3:27 PM