Nintendo DS – A Handheld Revolution.
Back in 2004, Nintendo announced the release of a little gaming device known as the Nintendo DS. Not much was known about it, only that it opened up like a book and had two screens; one normal screen and one touch screen. No-one would have guessed that this little booklet shaped machine would go on to achieve over 100 million sales and become the best selling handheld console ever, and the second best selling videogame console in history. But how has such a little gaming device come this far?
The Nintendo DS
On February 24th, 2005, the original Nintendo DS was released in Australia, for just under $200. The DS, a booklet shaped console much like the Gameboy Advance SP, had two LCD screens, the bottom one being a touch screen. It also had a built in microphone and supported wireless internet, and also could play Gameboy Advance games. Many DS games were released, but the best selling were easily Nintendogs, a game where you take care of a virtual dog, Pokemon Pearl and Diamond, the newest updates to the Pokemon franchise, and Mario Kart DS, a Mario Kart game on the DS, as the title creatively suggests.
The Nintendo DS Lite
It wasn’t long before the newest update to Nintendo’s handheld empire became available. In June 2006, the Nintendo DS Lite was released, a slimmer, lighter, brighter and better version of the original DS. The DS Lite also had many new, different colours, and a few new features, like a redesigned stylus. This sold amazingly as well, in the UK selling 191,000 in its first week, and by December of 2007 it had sold one million units in South Korea alone. At the end of 2007, the DS was the best-selling console in both the US and Japan.
The Nintendo DSi
On October 8th, 2008, Nintendo announced the release of the next DS console- the DSi. It was to be a ‘next generation handheld’, with two cameras, voice recording and video and sound editing, as well as being able to connect to the online ‘Nintendo DSi Shop’. The Nintendo CEO and President described the DSi’s touch screen as its ‘sense of touch’, the cameras as it’s ‘eyes’ and the microphone as its ‘ears’. The DSi also had a new, more accessible menu. It was released in Australia on April 2nd, 2009, in black and white. Today, there are over 200 downloadable games for the DSi on the Nintendo DSi Shop. On April 15th, the DSi was launched in two more colours: blue and pink.
The Nintendo DSi XL
The Nintendo DSi XL was released in Australia on April 15th, 2010, in two colours: bronze and burgundy. It was pretty much exactly the same as the DSi only bigger, with a wider screen.
The Nintendo 3DS
On March 23rd 2010, Nintendo announced their newest addition to the Ds family, the 3DS, as a portable console which can “produce 3D effects without the use of any special glasses.” Yes that’s right, a 3D handheld gaming device. The system was officially revealed at E3 2010, where several 3DS games were also announced, including Kingdom Hearts, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D, Assassins Creed: Lost Legacy, Resident Evil :Revelations and more. Later announced, Mario Kart, Animal Crossing and Zelda will all make an appearance on the 3DS. On September 29th, it was announced that the 3DS would include a Mii studio much like the Wii, and multi-tasking. The 3DS will be released in Australia in March, 2011, and will probably be in between $200 and $250.
So what will happen after the 3DS? Well, it has been rumored that Nintendo’s next console, being called the Wii 2 by fans, will probably be released in the next couple of years, and lots of people expect information at E3 2011. As for the next DS, I expect that it will come early 2012, possible late 2011, and won’t be a completely new console, just an update, much like the Ds Lite or DSi XL. This is just a prediction though; it could really be anything at anytime, especially with Nintendo’s infamous secrecy about new projects.