DS

Nintendo Reveals "Third Pillar"!

by Jonathan Metts - January 20, 2004, 4:53 pm PST
Discuss in talkback! Source: Bloomberg

New handheld system employs two LCD screens for new display possibilities.

Update: Nintendo NCL has revealed more information on the dual processors and screens in its Japanese press release.

The primary processor is based on the ARM9 architecture, and the secondary processor is based on the ARM7 architecture. Which screens the two processors are coupled with is unknown. Clock speeds have not been revealed, but according to ARM's website, the ARM7 family is capable of speeds ranging from 75 to 133 MHz, while the ARM9 family clocks from 185 to 230 MHz. For reference, Nintendo and ARM's custom GBA CPU runs at 16.8 MHz. The DS likely features highly customized versions of the processors, however, so these clock speeds should be taken as mere speculation.

The Japanese article also revealed that both screens will be back lit for displays superior to that of the GBA SP.


After months of teasing, Nintendo Company Ltd. today revealed the true nature of its new hardware platform. The tentatively titled "Nintendo DS" is a portable gaming system whose main feature is a dual-screen setup. (The "DS" likely stands for "Dual Screen".) Nintendo hopes that this new layout will allow players to experience new types of gameplay. The company gives the example of a soccer game in which the whole field is shown on one screen while the other screen focuses on a single player. Apparently the system is not intended to be played by two people on a single unit; rather, a single player will be using both screens simultaneously.

There are currently no pictures and few details on the hardware, but Nintendo says the system features two 3-inch TFT LCD screens (each one the same size as that of the Game Boy Advance), separate processors for each display, and semiconductor (cartridge) game media that can be as large as 1 Gbit, considerably more data than is available in current GBA cartridges.

In Nintendo's announcement, NCL President Satoru Iwata made this remark about the new platform: "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."

The Nintendo DS is scheduled for worldwide launch by the end of 2004, and Nintendo says it is already working with third-parties to develop software for the machine. PGC will have more information on this story as soon as possible.

NINTENDO ANNOUNCES DUAL-SCREENED PORTABLE GAME SYSTEM

"Mystery" Product to Launch Later This Year

REDMOND, Wash., 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® Advance portable system and Nintendo GameCube™ home console.

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