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Nintendo DSi Article

DS Article by Tom Bramwell

6 March, 2009

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"It's the usual rip-off." "F*** you Nintendo." "Worst. Update. Ever." "F*** off you rip-off bastards." "Get bent Nintendo." Not my words, of course, but the words of Eurogamer readers after discovering that they would have to pay GBP 149 or thereabouts for the Nintendo DSi, which introduces slightly bigger screens, onboard flash memory and a download store, a couple of 0.3-megapixel cameras and an SD card slot at the loss of GBA compatibility - all housed in a slinkier, matte frame.

Not only are they not my words though, but they aren't my sentiments either.

Eurogamer has banged on about Game Boy creator Gunpei Yokoi's philosophy of "the lateral thinking of withered technology" before, and it's worth repeating, not just because it infuses everything Nintendo does, but because it's even more dramatically relevant to the DSi than it has been to the DS, Lite and Wii.

The 0.3MP DSi cameras are hardly going to frighten the average mobile phone, smart or otherwise, and the limited music playback functions are unlikely to scare Apple back into R&D on a new iPod; but for now they - and the amusing photo and sound mixing software packages included in the DSi system software - are little more than proofs of concept. Like the original idea of having two screens, the stylus in addition to regular d-pad and face button controls, and a microphone built into the handheld, they are there to tempt developers in new directions. If pressed, Nintendo would explain that it only includes new features in consoles when they facilitate creators and they are cheap enough to mass-produce at a profit. This is what Yokoi was on about, although one of the virtues of leading the market is that Nintendo rarely needs to say so directly.

'Nintendo DSi' Screenshot 1

The DSi will launch in Europe in two colours: black and white.

The bottom line for the average Eurogamer reader is that the camera and its new friends are not designed to sell the system to you immediately; they are designed to appeal to developers, and to briefly entertain people who do take the plunge without delay.

It's the same story with the SD card slot and the DSi Shop, which is inaccessible to European journalists at the time of writing, but has grown from nothing to boast over 20 games - including a new WarioWare, Solitaire, Mr. Driller and Panel de Pon - and half a dozen basic applications in Japan in the five months since the system launched. On the surface of it, there is nothing there to tempt the money out of your wallet this time next month. But in the longer run it will be a tempting reason to consider upgrading, even for filthy pirates bemoaning the obsolescence of their beloved R4s - an obsolescence Nintendo will hope to sustain with rolling firmware updates that are prerequisites for Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and DSi Shop access.

If you can see a pattern emerging, it crystallises further beneath the DSi's slender bonnet, where CPU speed doubles from 67MHz to 133MHz, there's 16MB RAM (four times as much as the DS or DS Lite), 256MB of internal flash memory for the first time, and enhanced Wi-Fi support (WPA and WPA2 security, most notably). Right now, your existing games have nothing to gain. But you can look forward to games that will benefit from it, judging by Nintendo's admission that we can expect DSi-specific releases. The tech tweaks are hardly enough to worry the PSP's bigger and faster alternatives, but it's a rather more attractive proposition taken in context of the beauty and creativity already exhibited by some of the best games in the DS' existing back catalogue.

It also goes some way to explaining the GBP 149 price - along with currency fluctuations and, most significantly, the presence of the DS Lite on the market. Nintendo isn't abandoning the DS Lite, which costs GBP 99; it's happy to continue selling it, but it wants to launch the DSi now to build up a base of early adopters, fit to encourage developers to consider it as an alternative, and presumably to get the DSi Shop out there, and start fighting back in the war against casual piracy.

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Tonka
06/03/09 @ 12:38
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Another defence eh?
Widge
06/03/09 @ 12:43
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DSi specific releases?
IneptPercy
06/03/09 @ 12:46
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So is it a DS2 as such which is backward compatibe? in that sense.

Still a no sale for me.
jonthepymm
06/03/09 @ 12:48
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But I use my R4 to run emulators - it's the best Spectrum emulator ever, right down to the same screen resolution - and that's the removal I object to!
Wastelander
06/03/09 @ 12:48
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It seems neither one thing or the other to me.
I'm not entirely sure of the point of it.
richarddavies
06/03/09 @ 12:50
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That article did seem quite defensive of the Dsi but I still can't see how they can justify the increase in price when the originals technology is years old now anyway. It's just greedy.
speedjack
06/03/09 @ 12:57
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No GBA slot = no sale.
DFawkes
06/03/09 @ 12:58
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I know it's just the nerdiest part of me, but my brains going "Faster! More memory! I need one!". I want one anyway so I have 2 in my house for multiplayer stuff, but now I know it's technically better I'll have an easier time justifying it to myself.
Zomoniac
06/03/09 @ 12:59
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What a load of arse. They're charging 50% more than the other one has been for many years for essentially the same tech. And they haven't got much better at quick European releases. Phoenix Wright 3 took over a year to make it over here. They've added a slight performance upgrade to bring it somewhere near the current norm several years late and are charging over the odds as a result. This in the same week that Apple have decided that an extra 180GB of HDD space on an 18-month old machine justifies a £200 price increase. At least Nintendo, unlike Apple, aren't pulling the original version to give no alternative.
Krelle
06/03/09 @ 13:00
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Thanks for that, Tom.

I cant believe people whining about Nintendo and Sony updating their DSs and PSPs.
No one ever says a word about Apple and their almost yearly update of the Ipod.

If you think about it for a while, its the exact same thing.
ChadSexington
06/03/09 @ 13:02
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If you can defend the DSi, you are a hopeless Nintendo fanboy.
Tomo
06/03/09 @ 13:03
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Quoted! woot!

I think...
Wastelander
06/03/09 @ 13:03
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Um, Krelle plenty of people complain about Apple's updates and price hikes all the time.
Krelle
06/03/09 @ 13:04
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About the price;
It should obviosly be about the same as the "old" DS was before the DSi came out. Which it is. Atleast where I live.

So no complaints there.

I still havnt got a DSi, but I can see myself picking one up in a year or so, when/if DSiWare becomes a big thing.
Pac-man ate my wife
06/03/09 @ 13:04
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Damn Volkswagen and their endless updates of the Golf!
Krelle
06/03/09 @ 13:07
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Wastelander:

They do? Sorry, ill rephrase that.
"No one I CARE ABOUT ever says a word about Apple and their almost yearly update of the Ipod. "

Thanks for the notice (:
GamesProgrammer
06/03/09 @ 13:09
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The main point is no 3rd party developer is going to touch those cameras with a barge pole, when 85million members of your market wont be compatible with the game.

There may be some use for them in a quirky none gameplay essential way, or some of the DSI download games only available to the new DSI owners may use them.
Edited 1 times, most recently on 06/03/09 @ 13:11
dr_faulk
06/03/09 @ 13:10
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FUCK OFF TOM YOU STUPID COCK BASTARD BITCH!!!

Oh, sorry, I got caught up in mood...

Tom, you speak the absolute truth. It's just a slightly unfortunate situation.
mkreku
06/03/09 @ 13:12
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I own a Golf! Stop dissing it!
Tomo
06/03/09 @ 13:12
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Ok, having read the article, which is well argued, I'm still far from convinced.

"you are an important part of Nintendo's plans, but you're a core gamer, so you're fickle, and when the DSi reaches the tipping point, you'll be there in a flash"

I'm not sure I'm going to need it in the future. For me the loss of the GBA slot is more significant than the additions. Perhaps when we see DSi only games I might take notice as you suggest, but I've resisted the lure of the PS3 this generation despite there being a handful of games on it that I want, and it's a similar situation with the DSi. The existing updates and those in the future aren't enough to offset having to shell out for a new console. My DSLite is great, thanks.

The_Programmer
06/03/09 @ 13:13
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What about the 3rd party games writers? Are they now expected to abandon the Lite as anything written specifically for the Dsi won't work on the Lite or, as I would do, make the games for the Lite and port to the Dsi and so make buying the Dsi pointless.

Only a stupid firm would make a product to compete against itself and upset a vast amount of it's product users.
Beek4257
06/03/09 @ 13:14
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/sets irony-mode to on:

Dear EG staff,
You let 360 win nearly all the face-offs, call LBP game of 2008 and now this?
Do you people even know the meaning of the word bias?!

/switches irony off
Zomoniac
06/03/09 @ 13:16
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I cant believe people whining about Nintendo and Sony updating their DSs and PSPs.
No one ever says a word about Apple and their almost yearly update of the Ipod.

If you think about it for a while, its the exact same thing.


You might want to look that up and see why:


September 2003 - 20GB and 40GB for $399 and $499
July 2004 - Click Wheel 20GB, 40GB for $299 and $399
October 2004 - iPod Photo 40GB, 60GB for $499 and $599
February 2005 - Click Wheel 20GB for $249
June 2005 - Color (Photo + Click Wheel) 20GB, 60GB for $299 and $399
October 2005 - iPod Video 30GB, 60GB for $299 and $399
September 2006 - iPod Video 30GB, 80GB for $249 and $349
September 2007 - iPod Classic (refreshed interface) - 80GB and 160GB for $249 and $349

Every year Apple bring out a new iPod, but apart from the first model of the Photo (which was in addition to rather than instead of the standard line at first), they've never put the price up. The original Photo came out and a year later they upgraded it to the Video and knocked $200 off the price. They're not as kind with their computer lines, which is why everyone is bitching about this week's massive price increases to the Mini/iMac lines for negligible improvement, but with iPod each revision usually launches with far more features for less money. Not exactly the same as removing features people like (region-free, R4, GBA slot, ability to play Guitar Hero), adding features nobody wants that could easily be done another way, and adding a 50% price increase for it.
Machetazo
06/03/09 @ 13:17
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They don't trust their customers to make choices and take the steps to provide the experience and choice of titles that that person wants to enjoy. This is just a part of Nanny Nintendo's mis-phlosophy. Or, at least, measures that I can understand the wisdom and sense in their implementing - but would rather not have to contend (faff about) with myself. In the same way as parental controls: If Nintendo had included their safeguards at that level, it would be fine, but this stuff is just illustrative, as it is, of a company that only offers a sideways nod, every other season, to their longtime fans. I can't even see a reason to want one of these things on the software side: Where are the titles?

Leave region locking back in the museum of video games, where it jolly well BELONGS. I'm also unimpressed that they've stopped me from being able to play "It's Mr Pants" (and other GBA gems) on this new thing, and, yeah, I have to agree with the first poster in noting this as being ANOTHER defence for the system, to add to the sixteen [!] I've already spotted on other media sites today.
It's no advertorial, though, and I found it a good read.
Edited 2 times, most recently on 06/03/09 @ 13:23
peterfll
06/03/09 @ 13:19
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I bought a DS from the US when it first came out. I upgraded to a DS Lite eventually. But I haven't bought any new DS software for yonks.

I really can't see myself buying one of these unless there's some sort of trio of killer AAA games for it. And I look at the DS release schedule for the past 12 months and I can't see it happening any time soon.
mrmonkey1980
06/03/09 @ 13:20
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Bottom line is I'm not going to get one yet because I have a perfectly functioning DS, but when that breaks down I may as well replace it with a DSi.
seasidebaz
06/03/09 @ 13:20
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These comments pages make me laugh.

The non-use of the R4 is of no impact to me. I'm not a pirate, see. And I don't go by this whole emulation thing because that's STILL piracy.

The loss of GBA slot is of no importance to me because, let's be honest, GBA games are OLD. And I buy NEW technology to buy NEW games. If I want to play GBA games I'll pick up a GBA for about £8.

DSi games, too, will NOT JUST BE DOWNLOAD ONLY. There will be cartridge releases. Specifically with reference to gamesprogrammer: Did 3rd party developers not touch colour when the GBC came out? Cos that was a similar scenario...

The DSi already shows its potential before it's out: we're getting Rhythm Tengoku as DLC. An obscure (yet undeniably awesome) Japan-only game of limited appeal to most gamers is being localised and released via the Internets. That alone makes me want to buy one.
Tonka
06/03/09 @ 13:26
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Overpriced my ass.
coderkind
06/03/09 @ 13:27
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I may get one much further down the line, but there's nothing there for anyone with a DSLite to upgrade for.

As for Nintendo's release policy in Europe; that's typically been poor. I waited over a year for Wario Ware: Twisted and then just got it on import.
JohnnyWashnGo
06/03/09 @ 13:28
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Pass for me. GBA slot is a big thing for me as I still have plenty of GBA games to finish and enjoy playing them on the commute to work. The downloadable content so far does nothing for me either.
Weezer
06/03/09 @ 13:29
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"No one ever says a word about Apple and their almost yearly update of the Ipod.

If you think about it for a while, its the exact same thing."

Uh, it's almost precisely NOT the exact same thing:
Original 1st generation iPod - $499, 10GB, monochrome LCD screen, size of a housebrick

iPod Nano - $199, colour LCD, music and video playback
iPod Classic - $249, 120GB, colour LCD, music and video playback
iPod Touch - $299, 16GB, colour LCD screen, touch sensitivity, apps, WiFi, mail, web browsing etc etc

So: cheaper, better built, better technology, more functionality, more capacity, smaller.

How the fuck does that compare to the DSi which uses off-the-shelf 'withered' components and yet - somehow - ends up being $30 more expensive than when the DS launched in 2004?
penhalion
06/03/09 @ 13:40
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I've noticed Journalists trying to justify the existence of the DSi all over the place. Truth is (and it was touched on in the article) the region locking makes the DSi NON portable to other contries and removes the point in getting one. The cameras are useless and the music functionality laughable. Was it even mentioned that all the extras of the DSi are redundant the moment you put a ds cartridge in the thing?

I may be cynical but, this seems to be a very transparent grab for money from nintendo.
Razz
06/03/09 @ 13:42
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I love my DSi, it has brought me no end of fun. I love the camera to bis! ^_^
ps3owner
06/03/09 @ 13:49
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it's called inflation. your money isn't worth what it was back in 2004.
RexRunti
06/03/09 @ 13:54
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The only upgrade that interests me is the WPA2 WiFi conectivity. I think it's appalling that Nintendo which are so preoccupied with protecting you from yourself with stupid friend codes and the like will only allow you online with either no security, or security so bad it's pointless using it (WEP). Essentially if you take your Wii or DS online your essentially sharing your network with anyone who wants it (unless you do what I do and use a USB to ethernet adapter for the Wii and your neighbours open WiFi on the odd occasion you want to use the DS online).
Wastelander
06/03/09 @ 14:01
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The technology's not worth what it was in 2004 either.
seasidebaz
06/03/09 @ 14:03
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There is no region locking. Only DSiWare is region locked, just like WiiWare.

THERE IS. IT WILL BE ON CARTRIDGES TOO.

There is one unknown quantity in all this, however, and that's the question of region-locking on DSi-specific software. Nintendo has said that this is down to a mixture of embedded communication functionality and parental controls across regions
See?
ps3owner
06/03/09 @ 14:10
#38
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but it's on the level of what it was back in 2004... similar to apple's offerings. old crap for a top premium. It just works :)
Widge
06/03/09 @ 14:14
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Backwards compatibility to older platforms like GBA should really not be a sticking point.
If you want to play old games, have an old console, if you want to play new one, have a new one.
penhalion
06/03/09 @ 14:22
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@Widge

Backwards compatibility to older platforms like GBA should really not be a sticking point.
If you want to play old games, have an old console, if you want to play new one, have a new one.


That's only a valid point if your old console doesn't look and function 90% the same as your new one now isn't it. All you've done is highlight just what a rip-off the DSi is.
Beek4257
06/03/09 @ 14:26
#41
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Want to play games both old and new? Stack your consoles to the roof and have the cables make your tv look like medusa's head ...
Widge
06/03/09 @ 14:31
#42
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I would say the DS/DSi would be way ahead of old Mr GBA. Its about the same step up from SNES to N64.

If the DSi wasn't supporting DS games, then I'd be a bit miffy.

BC is awesome, its nice to have a machine that has it... but when you have a catalogue of shiny new goodness available, then hit that. Launch catalogues have got a bit better recently too!
jonsaan
06/03/09 @ 14:32
#43
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The DSLite may be on sale alongside this at first but it's bound to vanish. I don't believe they plan to genuinely push forward with both. Don't get me wrong. I would like a DSI but the price point is too high. It just is.
Rorsch
06/03/09 @ 14:37
#44
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Very nice article. Got me thinking... I can imagine the sort of games Nintendo can cook up with a console with a mic, camera and touchscreen.
Edited 1 times, most recently on 06/03/09 @ 14:41
dryden555
06/03/09 @ 14:38
#45
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good to know they doubled the CPU speed in preparation for DSi specific games. Still not a reason to buy one of these _now_ though. Maybe next year or so.

But the REAL reason for the DSi was to stop the huge impact of the R4, which is everywhere now.
Edited 1 times, most recently on 06/03/09 @ 14:40
Gormless
06/03/09 @ 14:40
#46
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I dont recall anyone telling Nintendo to fuck off at the price of the Wii or Gamecube so to say they cop it with each console release is bollocks.

However 150 for the DSi is worth a fuck off Nintendo.
Edited 1 times, most recently on 06/03/09 @ 14:40
Les
06/03/09 @ 14:44
#47
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Will probably get a US one so I can still import some games. And in general more stuff tends to be released in the US but not EU than the other way around.
felderpony
06/03/09 @ 14:48
#48
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Blimey, Lots of folk up in arms over the DSi.

Folk like myself that are still running an original (brought back from the US) silver DS must be tempted by the new DSi over the older DSlite surely? Still runs your DS titles and will run new DS titles, then there is the specific new DSi titles that will come as well. Okay so there's region locking, which isn't much of a deal breaker for myself since I don't get import titles these days. Not everyone is into that ;)

I'm seriously tempted to replace my old DS now with a black DSi when it comes out (it helps it has WPA wifi support! I might finally get to play some DS online!) Sure, there is a price increase, I'm glad its not stupid thanks to the Global CreditCrunch(tm)

just my thoughts.
Gaol
06/03/09 @ 14:58
#49
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Sorry but at £30 a pop for new releases , the DS is becoming hugely irrelevant to anyone who doesn't pirate. Look at the price of stuff on the iphone - that's how mobile gaming needs to be priced; not at a level which is higher than many new home releases I play on PC or PS3.
Weezer
06/03/09 @ 15:00
#50
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BTW: the outside camera is a full 3 megapixels (VGA res), while the inside one is 0.3.

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