We've long known the NIntendo DS to be a capable of downloading content like demos from kiosks, but "complete games" will soon be downloadable through the Wii, and then Wi-Fi transferable to the DS, according to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime's interview with the NYT. But for the moment, only one game has been announced—Professor Layton. So we're left with more questions than answers. Will Nintendo open up their retro gaming Virtual Console to older Gamboy titles? But even more importantly, will Nintendo really let you download games without a catch?
For instance, how will the games be stored on the DS? Or will they be stored at all? In DS retail kiosks, demo content is only shared with the DS in a temporary buffer—nothing is actually written to the system's hard drive because the unit has no such storage. So once you turn off the DS, you lose your demo forever.
Nintendo could deal with such an issue in two ways. First, they could use a system like the DSVision or R4, essentially a writable DS cartridge, to store these downloadable titles. Or, as the company is facing incredible amounts of piracy already (before putting the emulation technology into the hands of all consumers), Nintendo could limit the system just as they do DS kiosks. It's feasible that consumers will only have access to the downloaded games between the time they're synced and the time that the DS is turned off.
Saving games could become problematic in this scenario, but one has to wonder why Nintendo would put the Wii in the equation at all, otherwise.