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Meet the Nintendo DS!

by Jon Lindemann - May 11, 2004, 4:03 am PDT
Total comments: 29 Source: USA Today

First picture and details. Thanks to reader ccoxe for the early tip!

Steven Kent gives us the long-awaited scoop on the Nintendo DS portable system. System highlights include:

- two 3-inch screens

- one of the screens is touch-sensitive, allowing a stylus to be used to control certain games

- built-in Bluetooth connectivity for wireless gaming

- specs slightly more powerful than the Nintendo 64

- ability to play Gameboy Advance cartridges and Nintendo DS "game cards"

Electronic Entertainment Expo 2004: DS Running Metroid Prime DS

No release date or price for the DS has been revealed, but it is expected to be released by the end of the year at a price point somewhere around $150.

Nintendo officially announces the Nintendo DS

Nintendo releases the official word on its new dual-screen handheld.


With Dual Screens, a Touch Screen, Voice Recognition, Wireless and Chat, Nintendo Redefines Game Play

LOS ANGELES, MAY 11, 2004 – Some look at video games and remain content with the way things are. Nintendo dreams of things and asks, "Why not?"

For 15 years Nintendo's Game Boy® line has dominated the hand-held video game market. But today at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3), the new Nintendo DS creates a whole new category by radically altering the way people will play games. Nintendo DS remains on track to launch in Japan and North America before the end of the year, and in Europe the system will launch during the first quarter of 2005.

With its two screens, Nintendo DS instantly shows its innovative face. But capabilities like a touch-screen input, voice recognition and wireless communication set it apart from every other game device, and again demonstrate Nintendo's passion for groundbreaking originality.

"When Nintendo came down and presented the DS platform to us, I think everyone was in shock," says Will Kassoy, Activision's vice president of global brand management. "It was amazing. Our technical guys were drooling at the abilities and wanting so much to dive into programming for the system."

Aptly code-named Nintendo DS, this "Developers' System" provides developers a newfound canvas not only to create new games today, but also shape the future of the entire industry. Developers – and the public – need only use their imagination to see how the DS promises to transform the portable game industry by changing the way gamers relate to their games – and each other. Two screens offer two perspectives on the action at once. The touch screen could make accessing items, moving characters or navigating menus as easy as a tap or drag on the screen. Voice recognition could let players simply tell the game what they want it to do. Chat software will let users transmit text messages, handwriting and even drawings to one another. And wireless functions could link players in the same room – or across the country.

"This has a huge potential," says Yoichi Haraguchi, Namco's vice president and executive officer. "It is very nice that we can create games using DS that were not even possible before."

Nintendo DS also will include two processors, 3-D capabilities on both screens, 16-channel sound and a rechargeable battery that features a low-energy-consumption design. One media bay handles new DS game cartridges that hold one gigabit of information and more. The second media port allows for compatibility with Game Boy® Advance games, as well as a host of possible future accessories.

"While others plan to let you go a little faster down the same roads you have always traveled, Nintendo plans to take you down incredible avenues you've never seen before," explains Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's executive vice president, sales and marketing. "We understand the hand-held market better than anyone else, and Nintendo DS paves a new path of originality and success."

Indeed, Nintendo invented and perfected the hand-held video game market with its unrivaled Game Boy line. And Nintendo has always been known for introducing innovations that radically reinvent the industry. It was the first company to install ports for four controllers, the first to create a rumble pack, the first to move from joysticks to modern controllers and the first to enable characters to roam freely in true 3-D environments. The unique features of the Nintendo DS build on that tradition and hold a wellspring of potential for the future. Game players will be wowed.

"Once again Nintendo is taking another leap by providing totally new game-play experiences," says Jay Cohen, Ubisoft's vice president of publishing. "Very characteristic of a Nintendo maneuver."

More than 100 companies worldwide have received software development kits and are planning games for Nintendo DS. Games in development by Nintendo include a new Super Mario game, a Metroid® game, a WarioWare game and PictoChat, software that lets players send instant text and picture messages. Third-party publishers also have announced games in development, including a Spider-Man™ 2 title from Activision, a Rayman® game from Ubisoft, a SpongeBob SquarePants™ title from THQ, a Yu-Gi-Oh!™ game from Konami, a Sonic title from Sega, a Bomberman game from Hudson Soft, a Need for Speed™ game from Electronic Arts and a Pac-Man™ title from Namco.

"THQ has been a strong supporter of Nintendo's hand-held systems over the years, and with great success," said Peter Dille, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, THQ. "We look forward to the many innovations they are planning for the DS."

The system's official name, price and launch lineup will be announced at a later date.

The worldwide leader and innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular home and portable video game systems. Each year, hundreds of all-new titles for the best-selling Game Boy® Advance and Nintendo GameCube™ systems extend Nintendo's vast game library and continue the tradition of delivering a rich, diverse mix of quality video games for players of all ages. Since the release of its first home video game system in 1983, Nintendo has sold more than 1.8 billion video games globally, creating enduring industry icons such as Mario™ and Donkey Kong® and launching popular culture franchise phenomena such as Metroid®, Zelda™ and Pokémon®. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo’s operations in the Western Hemisphere.

For more information about Nintendo, visit the company's Web site at www.nintendo.com.


EvilmanmanMay 10, 2004

Doesn't look too good.

PatchMay 10, 2004

Well guys and gals, it's the real deal. Kent is one of the most venerable gaming journalists out there, and he credits the picture to Nintendo. It's real.


ChongmanMay 11, 2004

it looks fine but....


please tell me it aint true...

thecubedcanuckMay 11, 2004

Here are a few pics of some third party DS carry cases


vuduMay 11, 2004


i assume the indentations to either side of the screen are the speakers. perhaps i'm wrong, though.

first impression is, the thing doesn't look much prettier than some of the half-ass mock-ups i've seen floating around the web for months now. i'll reserve final judgment until i see the thing in action.

KirbySStarMay 11, 2004

"the PSP will not be able to display anything that you cannot do on a current system. ... We want to do things that you could not do before. We are looking at the creative end." -Shigeru Miyamoto

hehe, GOD I love Shigeru Miyamoto!!!! I can't wait to see him at the D.C. seminar! It's gonna be so cool!

Glad I could help you out guys, been reading for years now! face-icon-small-happy.gif

vuduMay 11, 2004

now that gba game compatibility is confirmed, i wonder if developers will be able to program gba games to recognize the hardware take advantage of the ds' abilities. (much like how there was a special ring shop in the zelda oracle games that only appeared if you played it using a gba.) while it wouldn't be especially useful for most games (usually just a gimmick, because if the second screen was essential, it shouldn't be played on a gba in the first place) i can think of a few games where i would love it.

off the top of my head--final fantasy tactics advance would really benefit from the ability of a second screen. it was such a pain in the ass to navigate menus in that game because of the limited screen size. you couldn't see what effect items would have until you equipped them. it would be really cool if the game could recognize that you were playing on a ds and the menus appeared on the second screen. while i realize this is impossible in the case of ffta, it might be something we see in future games.

KDR_11kMay 11, 2004

I doubt Nintendo would issue an image of the DS before the official announcement. Perhaps it was missattributed.

yellowfellowMay 11, 2004

i'm interested in finding out what market they are targeting and how they are going to position this new toy so that it is not seen as a replacement for the SP

i really am sort of unwhelmed by the whole design to be honest

MarioMay 11, 2004

It's fake.

It was a concept art posted on the 5-3-04 at this site: http://www.gamed.nl/view.php?id=2282

Thank god.

Nile BoogieMay 11, 2004

Can this really be it? I'm not sure but one thing that really stand out if this is the real thing, no analog! I understand the touch screen is semi-sorta close but it would seem to me if you have a portable N64 that analog control would have to be standard. Now, if this is that rumored "A-pad" instead of a D-pad then I retract my reservation.

ALSO, not the sexiest thing I have ever een either.

Nile BoogieMay 11, 2004

Thank You Sir Mario. Thank You Indeed!

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorMay 11, 2004

Its kind of odd that they wouldn't call that a mock up... I dunno. Bluetooth is kind of a bummer, but I'm sure this thing will kick butt. Its pretty funny that we all basically knew the specs. Apparently a lot of stuff DOES slowly get leaked out to the public.

ThrackerzogMay 11, 2004

I don't think so Mario. If you check here they are reporting it as the first picture of the DS. They just retroactively put the image in every article about the DS, going back as far as November of last year.

MarioMay 11, 2004

Oh noes I just noticed that!

I guess we'll find out in a few hours... please be fake

I doubt it's a fake - if it is, then the joke's on Steven Kent and USA Today. A larger version of that image is now plastered right up at the top of their Tech page with a big headline under it.

We'll find out in a few hours...I believe the Nintendo Press Conference starts at 9am Pacific/Noon Eastern.


Bill AurionMay 11, 2004

nope, it's 11 AM PST...

hypersonic5May 11, 2004

This is cool face-icon-small-smile.gif

JonLeungMay 11, 2004

I'm still excited about the DS, but at the same time I can't help but feel a little irked. I'm glad it can play GBA games, but that's part of that irk.

I held off on getting FF:CC and another GBA (though probably an SP this time around) when I heard of the possibility of a NES-themed SP. Well, now I'm bored of FF:CC just through a couple rentals (though I was limited to single-player which killed the point).

Being a big Zelda fan I was going to consider getting a GBA SP (even though I might not want the NES one anymore) for Four Swords Adventures. But now this comes along.

I don't know if I want it to be fully compatible with the GBA-GCN link cable...if it is, I could wait for that instead of ever getting an SP...it'd be a longer wait, but then I'd save some money. But I want to play FSA soon, and for that I'd need to spend the money to get a GBA SP even though that'd probably be the only reason I'd get it.

Maybe if I wasn't a cheapskate...

If they'd released FSA before E3 I wouldn't be so hesitant...

Ian SaneMay 11, 2004

GBA playability huh? I knew they wouldn't be so stupid as to not include it. Third pillar? Psssh. This is the GBA replacement. When Nintendo says they'll support both systems it's like what they said with the GBC. The GBC was never pushed as a replacement for the regular GB and games were still made for the old system. I expect the focus to be on the DS yet GBA games will still be released in a lesser fashion. The reason they're talking about this third pillar stuff is because they don't want to cut into GBA sales.

I actually like the way the DS looks and since it has GBA playback I'm going to buy one if it's not too expensive. I haven't bought an SP and it will be nice to have a GBA that doesn't require a perfect light source to see. The fact that it will play new DS games is a bonus.

OldskoolMay 11, 2004

Its the mother of all handhelds! Except for the PSP which I most likely will be put off buing due to price.

nickmitchMay 11, 2004

I like it, but there still is a chance of it being fake. I mean its a teeny tiny slight chance of it, but a chance is a chance.

chlupeMay 11, 2004

Just watched the Nintendo Conference thru Gamespot Live. I'm putting up a transcript now on our site (trigames.net) as best as I can transcribe it, but from what I've seen, the DS is indeed that model that was shown in USA Today. They showed an awesome looking Metroid on the bottom screen with an accompanying map on the top screen. The quality was hard to judge because I was watching it through a blotchy, compressed video stream. But it looked almost as good as the Cube version. It could possibly have been an FMV super-imposed on the bottom screen, but the speaker said that the game would be playable on demo DS's tomorrow, Wednesday the 12th. He also noted how you would use the stylus or your finger to point where you wanted Samus to shoot. The crowd erupted when they saw this, although it wasn't the first nor last time they would cheer in ecstasy.

The DS will support local 100 ft area network, I think that's what the Blue Tooth refers to, but I'm not sure. It will also support Wi Fi access, piggybacking on internet technologies. Browsing and such, I dunno, but I know they were touting it for game use and communication. The "instant messaging" appears to simply be the ability to talk to other DS users using your stylus to write and draw pictures.

jarobMay 11, 2004

WiFi support would be great. What do you mean by support? It will be an add-on?

chlupeMay 11, 2004

No, I'm assuming it comes with the package. I guess I should have said, "It is capable of" instead of "It will also support". Also, there is voice recognition in the DS via a built-in microphone.

Michael8983May 11, 2004

"GBA playability huh? I knew they wouldn't be so stupid as to not include it. Third pillar? Psssh. This is the GBA replacement."

It's clearly intended as the more tech-savy alternative to the GBA.
Nintendo realizes that the majority of handheld gamers are happy with the GBA and will be happy with it for years to come buy there are a growing number that crave a more advanced handheld. Those are the people Sony was hoping to go after and the DS is Nintendo's way of getting them first. The GBA and NDS can co-exist because the handheld market will soon be split into to two factions. A single handheld just couldn't please both. There has to be a simple, cheap one for the casual gamers just looking to pass the time and a more advanced, more expensive one for the more hardcore gamers who want something with power, graphics, and cool features.

ssj4_androidMay 11, 2004

Gamespot and IGN are reporting the wireless is a special kind and 802.11

I don't know guys, I'm pretty impressed by this little thing. I don't think the design is the coolest (looks pretty dull if you ask me), but man does it have some neat features.

- The microphone is something I never would have thought of, and that can be put to use in all kinds of different ways. For example, you could have a game in which you record a sample of your voice to RAM. Then you have to play that sample back to get security clearance through certain doors. Really cool.

- Wi-Fi piggybacking is brilliant. Being able to hook up to any wireless access point and play somebody across the country is going to be awesome (assuming it works as smoothly as it should). This actually intrigues me more than console online play.

- The stylus is a great idea...no idea how it's going to be incorporated into gameplay, but a great idea nonetheless. I really want to get my hands on the DS to try out this feature.

I can't wait for this to be released.


Uncle Rich AiAiMay 12, 2004

The Wi-Fi feature has me really interested.

Hear that Pietriots? face-icon-small-cool.gif

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