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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nintendo announces the DSi

Wow! For the last.... while... us Nintendo fanboys have been anticipating/dreading/speculating that a new version of the DS was coming. There were even timelines stating how according to Nintendo's schedule, it was "about due"...

I guess they were right: Nintendo (in Japan) has announced a new DS: The DSi!

From DSfanboy:

  • Overall size has been reduced -- DSi is 12% or 2.6 millimeters slimmer than the Lite.

  • Comes with an external 0.3 Megapixel camera (for 640 x 480 pixel pictures) and a VGA camera located on the hinge, directed towards the user. You'll be able to edit pictures using the touchscreen.

  • Full music playback functionality, including adjustable pitch and playback speed.

  • Both screens have been expanded to 3.25 inches.

  • SD memory card slot is included, and there'll be on-board memory also.

  • Will ship with an built-in Nintendo DS web browser.

  • DSi will allow users to download games from DSWare, a new service that operates with Wii Points -- or, as they are now known, Nintendo Points.

  • Logging onto DSWare for the first time will grant users 1,000 free Nintendo Points.

  • DSWare comes in four pricing categories: free (!), 200 Nintendo Points, 500 Nintendo Points, and 800 Nintendo Points.

  • Will come in lovely matte white and matte black. Begone, foul fingerprints that have taunted us so!

  • And finally, it launches on November 1st in Japan, and will cost ¥18,900, or roughly $179.

[EDIT: Yikes, I just found this article from PC World about the DSi's stats. The most worrisome: NO MORE GBA SLOT! I didn't even notice that in the pics, since the slot is normally on the bottom of the DS Lite.]

2 cameras! 1 inside & 1 outside. Weird! Obviously the outside one is for taking pics and the inside one is for games or internet communication. There are *a few* DS games that use a camera, but they include a camera module that hooks into the DS Lite's GBA cartridge slot. I can't see all that many developers making camera-dependent games for this DSi, because that would alienate the DS Lite base, unless they included a camera attachment for the DS Lite (or if Nintendo made a seprate add on for sale)

And Nintendo has been overly paranoid about internet connectivity, so I wonder how robust any video/camera feature would be as far as webchat goes.

The screens are slightly bigger than the DS Lite:

Not a huge difference, but an improvement. Nice.

I think it's kind of freaky that the DSi speaker holes have changed to look EXACTLY like the PSPs:

[EDIT: More from the PC World article]:

Screen: The DSi screen is 3.25 inches diagonal width. That's bigger than the 3-inch panels on the DS Lite. Both are color TFT (thin-film transistor) LCDs (liquid crystal displays) with 260,000 pixels resolution.

Size: The DSi measures 137 millimeters by 74.9mm by 18.9mm making it a little longer, deeper and thinner than the DS Lite, which measures 133mm by 73.9mm by 21.5mm.

Weight: The DSi weighs in at 214 grams. That's a touch lighter than the 218-gram DS Lite but close enough that you're unlikely to notice.

Battery life: Depending on the screen brightness gamers can expect anywhere between 3 hours and 14 hours on the DSi versus 5 hours to 19 hours on the DS Lite.

Battery recharge time: Good news for gamers is that the DSi takes 2 hours and 30 minutes to recharge -- 30 minutes faster than the DS Lite.

Compatibility: The DSi can play software developed for the DS and DSi but lacks the compatibility for GameBoy Advance software that's present on the DS Lite. Any DSi-specific software won't play on the DS Lite.

Inputs: The DSi features a DS and SD Card slot. On the DS Lite you can find a DS Card slot and GameBoy Advance cartridge slot but no SD Card compatibility. Both have connectors for power and a stereo headphone and microphone.

This is just initial details, can't wait to find out more... but much like the PSP-3000 announcement, this doesn't look like a huge upgrade from the current DS Lite. The 2 units look nearly identical, aside from very small changes.

As someone who uses the media functions on my PSP as much--sometimes more-- than the games, I am really intrigued by the DSi's SD card slot and (not known at this time how much) onboard memory. They mentioned that the DSi will play back music files. I'v experienced Nintendo's music playback functions through my Play-Yan Micro, and the Wii's mp3 playback. It's flexible in that you can pretty much load mp3s in any folder you want, and the device will see it. But overall, it's basic; not as flexible as the PSP, and even THAT device isn't all that flexible an mp3 player compared to the more robust dedicated ones out there.

$180.00 price point... that seems pretty high, it's about equal/maybe a little higher than the price for the PSP. Especially considering the current DS Lite retails for $130.00 right now, but that could've been a planned clearance price to screw over new buyers get rid of old stock.

We'll really have to see how Nintendo handles all this added functionality. Honestly, I'm not expecting a lot... they have a "let's just throw it out there & see what sticks" type of mentality, as opposed to really thinking things through. I'm still in shock, not nearly as much as the PSP-3000, I was sort of expecting this... these upgrades seem nice, but right now, I'm not kicking myself for "only" having a DS Lite.

[EDIT: DSfanboy has posted an article with Nintendo America head Reggie Fils-Aime saying that "The DS Lite is on track to sell 22% more units than it did last year, says Reggie. Because of the incredible demand, we won't get the DSi until "well into calendar year 2009" ]


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