Friday, February 20, 2009

Nintendo DSi: The next generation in disguise

The DSi is more than just a redesign of the DS line of handhelds; It's also the next generation of the system. Here's why.

First, there's the fact that the DSi is proven to have a faster internal clock speed than the DS and DS Lite, and, as the hacker who discovered this says, "the DSi seems to be to the DS what the Wii was to the GameCube". Put simply, the DSi is twice as fast as the DS or DS Lite.

The Nintendo DSi: Smarter than the average bear

Second is the confirmation of specific software that will only work on the DSi, yet will be physically similar to the basic DS game card. This ringing any bells, folks? Remember the old "black" and "grey" carts from the days of the Game Boy and Game Boy Colour? This is the same deal. The DSi is this year's Game Boy Color: The next generation in disguise.

I figure, eventually, Nintendo DS games will go out of circulation and be entirely replaced by DSi software. This is far from a bad thing, as these games would benefit from the DSi's slightly beefier hardware, as well as the many new features the console brings with it (A new Boktai using the camera as a light sensor? Hell yes!).

Now then, how long would this phasing out take? Well, this is the interesting part. See, there's already almost 100 million DS units sold worldwide across all three iterations. Nintendo wouldn't just dump all those millions and millions of users overnight. That's why I'm seeing the DS and the DSi living alongside eachother for a long, long time. How long, you may ask? Well, you may think I'm crazy for saying such a thing, but I'm gonna say six years. By 2015, the DS will be entirely replaced by the DSi. What makes me think this? Well, back in the days of the transition between the Game Boy and the Game Boy Color, the last Game Boy-compatible game was published in 2002, roughly four years after the Color was released. I'm seeing the transition to the DSi taking longer, though, considering the DS line has sold significantly more than the Game Boy and Game Boy Pocket combined*. Expect to see many "black**" game cards over the next few years, with the "grey**" game cards starting to slowly become more prevalent.

*A real number isn't available, but since the Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Color are said to have sold 118.69 million units combined, I'd guess somewhere between 70 and 80 million of those were of the two original models.

**The Game Boy Color games that also worked on original Game Boy models were usually coloured black, thus the popular nickname of "black cartridges". "Grey cartridges", obviously grey in colour, worked only on the Game Boy Color. Seeing the same happen with the DS and DSi is surely possible.

And such is my take on the DSi and its relation to the current line of DS handhelds. What do you think? Is it like I said, or will the DSi live peacefully alongside the current models? Have your say in the comment section, or in this forum thread.


SpinachPuffs said...

I think your predictions are spot on - I can't see Nintendo dropping either handheld soon and if the DSi truly is as powerful as hackers are saying, it can easily sustain developers for a long time.

I wouldn't be surprised to see another next-gen handheld hitting the market in four years time - though by next-gen, I mean using something completely different to a touch screen. What it will be, I'm not sure - I'm tired of second-guessing Nintendo!

Rawful said...

I honestly don't know what Nintendo is gonna do next in terms of the handheld market. The only thing they could do is up the graphics. Then, it'd be pretty much a monopoly! :D