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DS

DS Conference 2006 Summary

by Josh Daugherty - February 15, 2006, 7:16 am PST
Total comments: 16 Source: NCL Website

This Valentine's Day, feel the LOVE! At least, feel the Nintendo DS love.

One day after Valentine’s Day here in Japan, Nintendo held the Nintendo DS Conference 2006 in Tokyo. The conference started with Nintendo reiterating their focus, “Expand the game population", regardless of age, sex, or the type of game experience you would like to enjoy.

For the last 20 years, the game interface that Nintendo created, using two hands, is still the standard. They mentioned again that they must change this thinking to add to the gaming populace. They want to start everyone from the same starting line. The challenge is great; although Nintendo is on its way to change the way we play games.

The DS has sold very well in Japan since its introduction. As of February 5th, the DS has topped the 6 million units mark. That is just 14 months of being on sale, including times of major shortages. The Game Boy Advance took 20 months to sell that same number. Also since November, game software sales have doubled. Below are some examples of the strong sellers.

Nintendogs – Over 5 million worldwide

Doubutsu no Mori (Animal Crossing) – 2.38 million

Brain Training – 1.8 million in 7 months

They also presented sales stats from other various games.

To date, over 22 million connections have been made using Nintendo’s Wi-Fi connection. Over 1000 Wi-Fi stations added in Japan. Nintendo went on to the introduction of the DS Lite, which is due out on March 2nd in Japan.

They continued with the introduction of “point and speak" phrasebooks. They are quick ways to begin learning a new language. Available languages right now are: Thai, Korean, Chinese, German, and American (English) to be released in Japan in March for about $25 each.

Within the next three months, 16 new titles will be available. Nintendo also announced some games due by October of this year.

They introduced the Opera web browser, which will be available by June in Japan.

ONE SEG digital TV broadcast will be starting in April. Receive broadcasts directly to your DS with the new digital TV tuner.

The 10 million mark is in reach in Japan by the end of 2006. The Gameboy Advance did it in 30 months, PS2 in 32 months.

Opera Browser Confirmed for Nintendo DS

It'll come on a DS card and you'll be able to browse the Internet in double!

Giving gamers two windows to the Web: The Opera Browser for Nintendo DS™

February 15, 2006: Opera Software today announced that it will deliver the World Wide Web to Nintendo DS users in Japan. In Opera's agreement with Nintendo, Nintendo DS users will now be able to surf the full Internet from their systems using the Opera browser. The Opera browser for Nintendo DS will be sold as a DS card. Users simply insert the card into the Wi-Fi enabled Nintendo DS, connect to a network, and begin browsing on two screens.

Earlier this year, Nintendo reported that 13 million Nintendo DS systems were sold to consumers around the world within just 13 months of its debut in November 2004. Nintendo DS combines unique dual screens, touch screen, voice recognition and wireless and Wi-Fi communications capabilities. According to an independent market research company in Japan, Nintendo DS has become the fastest selling video games machine to top the 6 million sales mark in Japan in just over 14 months since its Japanese debut, breaking the old record held by Nintendo's Game Boy Advance.

"The incredibly popular Nintendo DS is already Wi-Fi enabled to support real‑time gaming, so adding Web browsing capabilities was a natural evolution for this device," says Scott Hedrick, Executive Vice President, Opera Software. "Gaming devices are growing more advanced and a great Web experience is becoming a product differentiator for gaming manufacturers. Opera is excited to work with Nintendo to deliver a unique dual screen, full Internet experience on Nintendo DS."

With an on‑screen keypad and stylus, users can easily navigate the Web from their Nintendo DS with PDA‑like functionality. Based on the same core as the Opera desktop browser, Opera delivers superior speed and rendering of Web pages on the Nintendo DS.

“Within just five seconds of turning on the system, the Nintendo DS is already fully operational. This makes it the ideal device to enable people to swiftly obtain the latest information from the internet, wherever they are," says Masaru Shimomura, Deputy General Manager of Nintendo’s R & D Department. "Opera exceeded our expectations with its user friendly interface, quick access to all your favorite sites, ease of use and, most importantly, in making the best use of the Nintendo DS system’s unique double screens and touch screen features. Opera is an important partner for Nintendo in our efforts to further expand the users of the Nintendo DS."

Nintendo Co., Ltd. held a presentation today in Tokyo, Japan, to announce updates for the Nintendo DS. Information on the availability of the Opera browser DS card has not yet been announced.

Talkback

JonLeungFebruary 15, 2006

I'm almost getting used to the good news about the DS. I remember Gabe from Penny Arcade early on thought this would be like another Virtual Boy. I'm sure no one thinks that now.

I am surprised at 5 million copies of Nintendogs to 6 million DSes. Wow!

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusFebruary 15, 2006

Actually, that's a little deceiving. There are six million DS systems in Japan and five million copies of Nintendogs sold worldwide.

Smash_BrotherFebruary 15, 2006

Yeah, the whole world has seen 12+ million sales of the DS, I believe.

As for the training books, I hope we those as well. I'd pay $25 to brush up on my linguistics any day.

Bill AurionFebruary 15, 2006

Kanji Training import get! face-icon-small-cool.gif

JonLeungFebruary 15, 2006

Oops, you're right, not everyone has Nintendogs...but it's still an impressive number.

I remember someone pointing out that million-sellers are rare these days...but these DS games are easily breaking the millionth-sale marks! face-icon-small-happy.gif

Ian SaneFebruary 15, 2006

"For the last 20 years, the game interface that Nintendo created, using two hands, is still the standard. They mentioned again that they must change this thinking to add to the gaming populace. They want to start everyone from the same starting line."

Man, lines like this still freak me out even though they're sort of expected now. If it's been the standard for 20 years then doesn't that mean it's a pretty damn good standard?

"I remember Gabe from Penny Arcade early on thought this would be like another Virtual Boy. I'm sure no one thinks that now."

Isn't that impossible now? face-icon-small-wink.gif

SgtShiversBenFebruary 15, 2006

Say that to PSP fanatics...

Bill AurionFebruary 15, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: Ian Sane
Man, lines like this still freak me out even though they're sort of expected now. If it's been the standard for 20 years then doesn't that mean it's a pretty damn good standard?

If you controlled the course of history, we'd still be using grunts as communication because it was "a good standard"...

Ian SaneFebruary 15, 2006

"If you controlled the course of history, we'd still be using grunts as communication because it was 'a good standard'..."

We can still grunt and make all sorts of non-verbal communciation. Communication has been built on. No one decided that gestures or facial expressions were no longer a valid part of communication because we can talk and write now. Verbal communication wasn't abandoned when written communication was invented. Nintendo's talking about starting over. That's like someone coming up with a new way to communicate and then telling us we all have to "start over" and can't talk anymore because we have a new way to do it. "Sorry. Now that we can communicate telepathically there is no need for us to talk anymore. Everyone get their voice box removed."

Motion control isn't a bad thing. New functionality isn't a bad thing. Throwing out an old standard completely and starting over when the old standard works is questionable. That's what has always made me uneasy about comments like that. If Nintendo just said "we're going to introduce new ideas for gaming" I'd be fine.

Smash_BrotherFebruary 15, 2006

They're not "starting over": they're adding new concepts. All the talk about "starting over" is nothing more than a new age marketing strategy in which Nintendo has to sound as though they believe they're going firmly in the right direction.

If the Revmote didn't have buttons on it or a nunchuck with an analogue stick, THEN I'd be genuinely concerned because that WOULD equate removing voice boxes.

Ian, you gotta admit, SOMEBODY has to take the chance and offer a completely new control interface. You know Microsoft and Sony aren't going to do it. They'd be perfectly happy to pump out clones of the XBox and PS2 controllers until the end of time. It's to the point now where Nintendo has to do some off-the-wall stuff to even get noticed, so why not?

Ian SaneFebruary 16, 2006

"Ian, you gotta admit, SOMEBODY has to take the chance and offer a completely new control interface. You know Microsoft and Sony aren't going to do it. They'd be perfectly happy to pump out clones of the XBox and PS2 controllers until the end of time. It's to the point now where Nintendo has to do some off-the-wall stuff to even get noticed, so why not?"

That assumes that it's impossible to innovate with the existing setup. I figure at some point we would have a controller so well designed that there would be virtually no reason to add anything else. There would be small changes but as we go forward the big changes between consoles is going to shrink. Sony's and Microsoft's problem is that they're content to release the same games over and over. Their controller is a reflection of this attitude but the controller itself is not the problem. The games are all that matters and it is possible to make innovative games on the existing setup. I think Nintendo has this idea that in order to innovate their has to be this huge change every five years. That's not true. Ikaruga is one of the most innovative games I've played this gen and it only uses three buttons and polygons are only used for its presentation. Realistically the game would have worked on the Sega Genesis. The current controller could probably be kept around forever and people would still be able to think of new ideas for it. That doesn't mean it should be around forever but it could.

I feel Nintendo is forcing change and forcing innovation, like they're hung up on the idea that there has to be a big jump or they can't make creative games. I think that's unnecessary and they risk trapping themselves in a corner particularly if their "new standard" isn't flexible enough or their revamped controller just isn't that interesting. They can make innovative games without reinventing the wheel. Right now they're risking scaring everyone away with an abrupt deliberate change when they don't have to.

Quote

Originally posted by: Ian Sane
"Ian, you gotta admit, SOMEBODY has to take the chance and offer a completely new control interface. You know Microsoft and Sony aren't going to do it. They'd be perfectly happy to pump out clones of the XBox and PS2 controllers until the end of time. It's to the point now where Nintendo has to do some off-the-wall stuff to even get noticed, so why not?"

That assumes that it's impossible to innovate with the existing setup. I figure at some point we would have a controller so well designed that there would be virtually no reason to add anything else. There would be small changes but as we go forward the big changes between consoles is going to shrink. Sony's and Microsoft's problem is that they're content to release the same games over and over. Their controller is a reflection of this attitude but the controller itself is not the problem. The games are all that matters and it is possible to make innovative games on the existing setup. I think Nintendo has this idea that in order to innovate their has to be this huge change every five years. That's not true. Ikaruga is one of the most innovative games I've played this gen and it only uses three buttons and polygons are only used for its presentation. Realistically the game would have worked on the Sega Genesis. The current controller could probably be kept around forever and people would still be able to think of new ideas for it. That doesn't mean it should be around forever but it could.

I feel Nintendo is forcing change and forcing innovation, like they're hung up on the idea that there has to be a big jump or they can't make creative games. I think that's unnecessary and they risk trapping themselves in a corner particularly if their "new standard" isn't flexible enough or their revamped controller just isn't that interesting. They can make innovative games without reinventing the wheel. Right now they're risking scaring everyone away with an abrupt deliberate change when they don't have to.


Ian, as a Nintendo fan and a gamer, my opinion is that if Miyamoto says he needs a new interface, then is HAS to be.

Besides, I refuse to go about life just pressing buttons.

~Carmine M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

Karl Castaneda #2February 16, 2006

Ian, I sort of agree with you in the sense that I definitely think the current setup isn't as limiting as people make it out to be. My GameCube controller is like an extension of my arms; I don't really think about pressing buttons anymore; it just sort of happens. So when I hear people say, "Well, there's no other way," I roll my eyes a little.

That being said, I'm pretty psyched about the Revolution's controller. It's a big jump that I think'll pay off in the long run. I mean, we at least know Nintendo will make some great games for it. I think (and hope) they'll create some sort of benchmark game - something like Super Mario 64 - that'll inspire the rest of the industry to follow suit with the new style. If they don't, though, there's still the shell controller to allow game designers to utilize the current model. As you've so often said, it's an "and" type of thing, not an "either or" type of thing. face-icon-small-wink.gif

There are a lot of different factors that'll make the Revolution a hit or a miss; Nintendo's taking a huge risk. But as a Nintendo fan, I'm looking forward to taking the ride.

KDR_11kFebruary 16, 2006

Ian, it's more about shaking up conventions, not about the impossibility of innovating with the current controller. New paradigmas require new approaches and old formulas might no longer work. That way innovation is not much more risky than tried-and-true, in fact it might even be beneficial. It's about kicking the publishers' butts and ripping away their safe concepts. As long as the hardware is the same a suit will think you can just do exactly what a successful title did to be successful yourself, that way they don't even think about innovation. When you change the graphics hardware they want the greaphics changed, when you change the physics hardware they'll want the physics changes. When you change the controller they want the gameplay changed.

RequiemFebruary 16, 2006

Exactly.

If Nintendo went about the same road as the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, I think they would of done far worse than they did this generation. I mean, how would they compete?

This may have forced Nintendo to innovate. They saw this coming. They saw that the two other consoles would pour power into their respective machines, and knew that they couldn't afford to do the same thing. They can financially, but it would have been a lost cause. The competition would have been feirce.

However, even though they may have been forced, doesn't mean that they hadn't been planning anything. You can see that with the REV. They know what they wanted out of the console, then built the devices to make it so.

Now, Nintendo can potentially attract big hits from the one genre that the Xbox needs. I'm talking about FPS's. If Nintendo created something so intuitive and innovative for the genre, I see nothing stopping FPS fans from picking up a Nintendo. Unlike xbox fanatics, they have no loyalty. They picked the xbox because the xbox has halo or call of duty or whatever.

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