Last week Nintendo announced the DSi. A new version of its popular DS handheld console. Personally I am really pleased with the news. I have been wanting to get a new DS for some time because my DS is the original bigger one and I would love the small sleekness of the DS Lite, but I KNEW as soon as I bought one that they’d announce a new one. Well I waited long enough because it looks like it may finally be coming our way.
In reality, the timing was right on this thing. The PSP has been picking up speed in Japan especially, largely because Monster Hunter launched on that system over there. And well, they love that game. PSP has gained some ground here as well but not as much, DS is still leading largely here, but sales have started trailing in Japan. What redesign means is that sales will likely pick up again for the DS ensuring its dominance over the lowly PSP.
The new features for this iteration of the DS are interesting to say the least. Usually new versions of handhelds for Nintendo are basic upgrades. More battery life, adjustable brightness, adding recharable batteries, bigger screens, smaller form factor, and longer stylus. But this version seems to be bringing a lot of other stuff to the table.
Sure there is some base functionality that is going to be added. The size of it will be slightly slimmer than the DS Lite, though obviously not by a huge margin. Also the screen size will move from 3″ to 3.25″ which has been a long suspected upgrade. And there is also my long suspected increase to the main memory. But there is more.
They’ve decided to add onto the DS two cameras, one on the inside, one on the outside to it. As well as music playback capability, and an SD card slot for additional storage for music and presumably games. These are wonderful additions. Yes the camera isn’t anything to write home about, however I am sure they have tricks up their sleeves for how they can use that in games. And going forward I’m sure it will be a more commonly used theme that DS games will allow music playback within the games themselves which is also a welcome additon.
They also decided to revamp the menu to be more wii-like, and I bet they also will start allowing for Miis to be moved from your Wii to the DSi and used in DS games as well. They are also going to be adding a DSWare and a DS Shop not unlike Wii’s own stores. I suspect that here again we will not only see new games and apps (like a browser) to buy, but also classic games not unlike the virtual console. So soon we will be able to download those classic Mario Land games for the gameboy. I just hope that they at least put in gameboy color functionality into those games so you can have that basic colorizations on old gameboy games.
Overall, I think the prospects of the DSi are very exciting. It is going to Japan for only $20 more than the DS Lite is over there. If that is the case for how we can expect pricing to be here, I can see it being a mere $150, however I don’t think it would be unheard of if they put it at $160 to counter the weak dollar a bit. Still for the new features involved, I would be very excited about this coming stateside and hope it comes sooner than later. The original DS was released in the US just a few weeks away from the Japanes release. Hopefully we could see the DSi by Christmas so that I don’t have to wait too long for my new DS.