New Nintendo Hardware: The Nintendo DS!
This just in! Nintendo has announced what their "mystery" new hardware is: Codenamed the Nintendo DS, it's described as a "Dual-Screened Portable Game System". Huh?! TWO screens?! More inside.
After months of speculation, it seems this new product line from Nintendo will be a portable system that has two screens, each with their own content. (Remember, this is NOT the follow-up to GBA. It's a so-called "Third Pillar".) Named, for now at least, the Nintendo DS (as in dual-screened).
Nintendo Announces Dual-Screened Portable Game System
REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 20, 2004--An unprecedented approach to video game play -- holding two separate game screens in the palm of your hand -- hits the scene later this year when Nintendo introduces a new portable game system, code-named Nintendo DS.
From information made available today, players can look forward to being able to manage their game progress from two different perspectives, enhancing both the speed and strategy of the challenge. For example in a soccer game, users can view the whole game on one screen while simultaneously focusing on an individual soccer player's tackle or goal on the other screen.
Players will no longer be forced to interrupt game play to shift perspective, such as moving from a wide shot to a close up, or alternating between a character's ongoing battle and a map of the environment. Nintendo DS makes it possible to perform the tasks in real time by simply glancing from one screen to the other.
Today's announcement is but a glimpse of the additional features and benefits that will be shown in full at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles in May. Once fully revealed, players will see innovative advances in game interaction.
"We have developed Nintendo DS based upon a completely different concept from existing game devices in order to provide players with a unique entertainment experience for the 21st century," explains Satoru Iwata, Nintendo president.
Nintendo DS features two separate 3-inch TFT LCD display panels, separate processors, and semiconductor memory of up to 1 Gigabit. It's scheduled to launch worldwide before the end of 2004.
In addition to Nintendo-developed software, the company is in discussions with third-party game developers around the world.
Nintendo DS will be marketed separately from the company's existing Nintendo Game Boy(R) Advance portable system and Nintendo GameCube(TM) home console.
The worldwide leader and innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular home and portable video game systems. Each year, hundreds of all-new titles for the best-selling Game Boy(R) Advance and Nintendo GameCube(TM) systems extend Nintendo's vast game library and continue the tradition of delivering a rich, diverse mix of quality video games for players of all ages. Since the release of its first home video game system in 1983, Nintendo has sold more than 1.8 billion video games globally, creating enduring industry icons such as Mario(TM) and Donkey Kong(R) and launching popular culture franchise phenomena such as Metroid(TM), Zelda(TM) and Pokemon(R). A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere.
Information is still coming in. Other tidbits include: it will be in color and backlit, the LCD screens will be one atop the other (vertically), of the 2 processors the main one will be ARM9 and the other ARM7-based (the GBA is ARM7, the N-Gage is ARM9-based), the games will come on thin semiconductor-based media (not traditional cartridges) up to 1 Gigabit (128 Megabytes), and it will be possible to use both screens together as one big screen. It has also been rumored to contain wireless LAN (bluetooth?) abilities. For anything more we may have to wait for E3 2004 (May) where the Nintendo DS, for better or worse, will be the focus of Nintendo's showing.
A few questions to ponder: How much does it cost? ($100?) What does it look like? (Flip open?) How will the controls interact with the 2 screeens? (2 d-pads?) How will current software work with this (as Nintendo has stated they were looking into)? Is it Game Boy compatible? Will this stay as its own line of products separate from any "GBA 2" or the "N5"? Will it hook-up with GC or the GBA? Can it be used as a controller for the GC or N5? If this product is indeed a look at future systems as Nintendo has claimed, does it mean the GC2 ("N5") will hook-up to two TV's? Will this really revolutionize gaming in any way? Is it just a gimmick? Can this really help slow Sony's PSP which also launches this year? Well, Nintendo has said the NDS isn't meant to compete against the PSP, so then what is? Why not just make this the next Game Boy, the GBA DS? Is the NDS meant to recapture the Game 'N Watch market? And most important of all, will anyone even care?
I myself am trying to take a "wait and see" approach, but my initial reaction is, what are you thinking Nintendo! More like Nintendo BS! (HAHAHAHA... sigh, I'm so unoriginal.) All I see is another Virtual Boy right now, a system with a 'unique' idea, but one that just will never catch on or be fully used by games. I don't see Nintendo releasing three separate systems each with their own line of games, so I'd venture to guess the NDS will mainly function with the GBA and/or GC line of systems. But then that's not really a "3rd Pillar" now is it. Having three systems, two portables in fact, could confuse the consumer, or at least dilute the Game Boy market (I love buzzwords). Is Nintendo really willing to risk it all on the NDS?
Who knows right now where this is headed. Nintendo could still surprise us all. Remember they claim, "Today's announcement is but a glimpse of the additional features and benefits that will be shown in full at (E3)."
(Update: It is now known that along with 1st/2nd party games, there are some 3rd party games in the works from publishers like Namco and Konami. Shigeru Miyamoto is said to be working on a game called "Buzz".)