Monday, September 29, 2008

My thoughts on this rumoured new DS

Yes, I know that's not actually the new DS below. I'm just using it as an example.

Every Nintendo fan site, news source, forum and blog is going crazy, and it's all because of an article posted by the Japanese media outlet Nikkei. And when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE! IGN, Go Nintendo, Wired... It's all over the place!

So, let's look at the supposed features and details of this new DS:

-A digital camera: Now, this is an interesting idea. Imagine taking pictures of real-life objects and having them affect your game. You could put pictures you've taken into picture frames in Animal Crossing, edit them in a new Mario Paint, or even send them to a friend over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Of course, this camera could also be used in a similar manner to the PS2's Eye Toy, tracking motion and interpreting your movements, then translating them into the game as input. Certainly a tantalizing concept.

-Music playback: This is somewhat of a weird one. Of all the things I thought would be in the next DS, music playback was one of the features I thought least likely to appear. After all, Nintendo is pretty firmly planted in the idea that gaming consoles are for gaming. Of course, that's somewhat contradicted by the Photo, News and Forecast Channels on the Wii, so who knows? It would certainly help prevent the DS from losing ground to the likes of the PSP or iPod.

-Connecting to terminals for information: I don't really see why this has to be part of the new DS exclusively. I mean, the original series has been doing this for a while now. Sports fans have been able to order food and drinks with their handhelds at Safeco Field since at least last year. Maybe this new DS will be able to connect to such terminals in a way far more advanced than our current model? Only time will tell...

-A larger screen: This is something that's really got me hyped. Playing our DS games on even bigger screens is an amazing thought! A bigger screen means more space for virtual buttons, meaning more complex on-screen menus. Also, this means a larger resolution, resulting in a higher-quality display at our fingertips. Man, I'm almost drooling now!

Supposedly, the upper screen is from a DS Lite, while the
lower is from the new model. Enough of a difference for you?

-Launching in Japan this year for just under $200: So soon? This has me a little surprised. Then again, Nintendo did announce the DS Lite in February and launch it in March, so it's possible. Where does this leave the rest of the world? Well, using the DS Lite launch as an example, there was a space of about three months between the console's debut in Japan and the time it began to see release around the world. So then, that means it could come out in November overseas, then launch around the world starting in February. Let's hope Nintendo shortens the delay by at least a month this time around; I'm not sure I can wait that long! As for the price of just under $200, it's pretty much the expected range. After all, the original DS premiered for $199.99, so it would only make sense for its true successor to do the same. Personally, I think $200 is just about the limit on how much a handheld should cost, so if this turns out true, I'll gladly pay up.

-Exchange data between the Wii and... SD cards?: So wait, does this mean that the DS has an SD card slot? That's odd, considering how anti-piracy Nintendo is these days... My guess is, if this is true, there will be some sort of strict restriction on programs only running from the game card slot, and only allowing music, pictures and save files to work off the SD card. As for sharing data with the Wii, that's not all too new. However, imagine the new ways in which it could be used. Trading save data between compatible titles, downloading and saving portable versions of Wii games on our DS... Perhaps we could even take Virtual Console titles and send them to our handhelds, for some good ol' classic gaming on the go! Now that would be amazing.

Now that I've gone over the different aspects of this rumoured new model, that leaves but one thing to consider: The probability of this being real. Now, as you can probably assume from the above, I'm pretty excited for this. I'm not one to get excited about things I consider to be bogus. I suppose you know where I'm headed with this...

I think this is 100% real. Looking over all the features of this potential DS 2, I can honestly say that they all fit in quite well with Nintendo's business model. First, it has the innovation: The digital camera can do wonders for portable gaming, allowing for motion capture and real world image integration. Second, it has the broad appeal: The digital camera and music playback are two features everyone has a use for, from the most serious gamer to the person who has never gamed once in their entire life. And finally, it has the accessibility: Bigger screens for those with poorer vision, and a good, affordable price point. Add in the reliable reputation of Nikkei, and we've practically got a confirmation on our hands. This is almost certainly going to be the next generation of DS, and I can't wait to get a look at it. Hurry up, Thursday! Stop being so far away!

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