Some Nintendo DS retailers feature that allow users to download demos of upcoming and currently available DS games; however, due to memory limitations, the downloads are erased once the system is powered off. The Download Station is made up of 1 to 8 standard retail DS units, with a standard DS card containing the demo data. On May 7, 2008, Nintendo released the for download on the Wii. The Nintendo Channel uses Nintendo's WiiConnect24 to download Nintendo DS demos through the Nintendo Channel. From there, a user can select the game demo he/she wishes to play and, similar to the Nintendo DS Download Stations at retail outlets, download the demo (until the user turns off the console) to their DS' 4MB RAM.
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection was a free online game service run by Nintendo. Players with a compatible Nintendo DS game could connect to the service via a network using a or a . The service was launched in North America on November 14, 2005 with the release of . Various online games and a web browser were released since then. Nintendo believed that the online platform's success directly propelled the commercial success of the entire Nintendo DS platform. The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection then served as part of the basis of what would become the Wii. Most functions (for games on both the DS and Wii consoles) were discontinued worldwide as of May 20, 2014.
Users can close the Nintendo DS system to trigger its 'sleep' mode, which pauses the game that is being played and saves battery life by turning off the screens, speakers, the wireless communications; however, closing the system while playing a Game Boy Advance game will not put the Nintendo DS into sleep mode, and the game will continue to run normally. Certain DS games (such as ) also will not pause but the backlight, screens, and speakers will turn off. Additionally, when saving the game in certain games, the DS will not go into sleep mode. Some games, such as even use the closing motion needed to enter sleep mode as an unorthodox way of solving puzzles.
Nintendo DS games use a proprietary in their game cards. The mask ROM chips are manufactured by Macronix and have an access time of 150 . Cards currently range from 8–512 (64 to 4 ) in size (although data on the maximum capacity has not been released). Larger cards have a 25% slower data transfer rate than more common smaller cards. The cards usually have a small amount of or an to save user data such as game progress or high scores. However, there are few games that have no save memory such as . The game cards are 35 mm × 33 mm × 3.8 mm (1.38 in × 1.30 in × 0.15 in) (about half the width and depth of Game Boy Advance cartridges) and weigh around 3.5 g ( oz).