2009 – Two new versions?
Year in brief:
As the DS Lite reached near saturation point around the world, sales began to slow, prompting Nintendo to search for a new marketing hook. Enter the Nintendo DSi, a slightly larger unit with a built-in camera, no GBA cart slot (replaced by SD memory) and a new Wii-like channels system. The DSi also sports a slightly larger screen, an online shop for downloadable DSiWare games and has a tad more power under the hood. In a bit of a surprise, the DSi took off all over again, despite none of these enhancements affecting gameplay in any demonstrable sense thus far.
Above: Who wants a $170 third DS?
Criticism: Well… the DSi is a bit of a head scratcher, as we still haven’t seen a compelling display of its new abilities. DSiWare is an interesting addition, but the system as a whole reeks of the Game Boy Color – a slightly enhanced, moderately more powerful version of a popular handheld that split the market and was a stopgap solution for the real successor. Why buy this when the true follow-up, one with obvious improvements, will be ready in (possibly) just over a year?
Above: Oh for the love of…
Oh hello there. You must be the FOURTH version of the DS, released this year in Japan and coming to the US and UK in 2010. It’s the DSi XL, intentionally larger for people who maybe have a hard time reading text on the regular DS Lite and DSi. We guess? Either way, we’re now back to a handheld system that’s wider, thicker and taller than the old “phat” model replaced in 2006. Check it here.
Sales: Nintendo sold its 100 millionth DS in March 2009, and as of September has reached 113 million worldwide. Around 10 million are DSi units sold in the last year. For a five year span, that’s incredible. Further proof this thing isn’t going away anytime soon, especially with a new Zelda coming in December.
Nintendo is undoubtedly working on a true successor to the DS, but what it will be is anyone’s guess. Will it retain the dual screen format? Will it be the first new Game Boy since 2005? Will it be revealed in 2010 or is the DS performing so well there’s no need to rush another machine?
These answers, if they even come, will most likely be part of Nintendo’s press conference at E3 2010, currently slated for June 15. We’ll be live-blogging the entire event for sure, so [insert clichéd outro suggesting you check back with us early and often]!
Nov 20, 2009
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