The DS2 – what can we expect?

If analysts are to be believed, the successor to Nintendo’s wildly popular handheld is just round the corner. Here’s our predicted feature list.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, January 15, 2010

A bump in horsepower

An obvious area of improvement. The DS’s ARM processors still have a lot of life in them, not least because the console’s chief consumers couldn’t give a hoot, as a rule, for fluid animations or soaring levels of detail providing the game in question is enjoyable. Still, a higher clock speed and more RAM – even at the expense of battery life – is necessary if DS2 is to avoid appearing obsolete alongside both the inevitable PSP successor, which will (in all probability) be a high performance monster, and sequels to the phenomenally well-received iPod Touch and iPhone.

Two screen setup to return, both screens to be touch sensitive

Nintendo will want consumers to identify the DS2 with its uniquely styled predecessor, and hence the dual display design will return. The clamshell form factor may, however, be dropped in favour of a sliding template redolent of the PSPgo, which would allow more “scaled usage” – slide the thing closed for less demanding operations like music playback, open it to play games. In the event, both screens would need to be touch sensitive.

Continued support for cartridges

Given the cheapness, ubiquity, sturdiness and compactness of solid state memory, we can’t see the big N getting fond of optical discs anytime soon.

There will be more focus on digital distribution

Nintendo’s audience isn’t as internet-savvy as those of Sony and Microsoft, and thus the market leader has more to lose from any substantial move away from brick and mortar retail. At the same time, the company can’t afford to ignore the growing popularity of digitally distributed games, not least because of the associated technical benefits in the war against piracy. The new DS will thus probably exceed the DSi for connectivity, boasting an upgraded built-in browser and Shop and an expanded Flash memory bank.

Much more emphasis on multimedia

While Sony’s dream of a fully multimedia handheld arrived a few years ahead of consumer demand, there’s no doubt that convergence is the key trend in technology today. The new DS will exceed the PSP in terms of image viewing, video and music playback functionality. We may see the manufacturer partnering up with major online service players like Youtube or Apple to offer streaming video and music redolent of the present generation iPhone.

Backwards compatibility

The last thing Nintendo wants is to flush its super-profitable existing handheld software portfolio down the toilet. Backwards compatibility is a must.

That’s my ten pence. Any thoughts on the whens, whys and whats, readers?

Posted in Features, Spotlight, and tagged with , , , , .

7 Responses to “The DS2 – what can we expect?”

  1. Kyrue says:

    I don’t feel that Nintendo will make as big of a push towards the digital market as you might think. If we learn anything from history, it is that history repeats itself. Nintendo will continue to offer lackluster digital distribution. The company just doesn’t get it.

  2. ECM says:

    lol, yeah, they don’t get it: tell that to the tens of millions of competition-smashing hardware units they’ve sold–if anyone “doesn’t get it” it’s gamers.

  3. David Macphail says:

    Digital Distribution sucks, i hope Nintendo have the sense to stay away from it, just look what happened to the PSPgo.

    DD is for fat, lazy people. Walking to the shops FTW!

  4. Edwin says:

    Assuming broadband speeds continue to improve, I think the majority of media products will be digitally distributed eventually. Trouble is, nobody’s quite sure where the tipping point lies. According to some people I speak to, we’re now officially in the era of DD; according to others – Sony and Nintendo execs, for instance! – the landslide is still a few years off. Tricky time to be releasing new games hardware, trying to ready your product line for the glittering downloads-only future whilst continuing to eke profits out of the high street…

  5. tommy says:

    david, psp go didn’t fail because digital distribution doesn’t work. it just failed because basically it is more expensive than a regular psp whilst playing a smaller selection of the same games.

    the best example of DD is the app store for iphone. every iphone game is digital download only, and there’s a fast increasing number of indie game devs who are actually make fortunes there. tap tap revenge apparently exceeded 20 million paid downloads. in the past something like doodle jump would just be a game you play in a browser on a computer, but on iphone a vast amount of people are willing to pay to have that on their phone, making a business out of games that might not have had success elsewhere. The convenience of being able to instantly download a game from any location moments after you just heard about it shouldn’t be overlooked.. DD doesn’t only benefit fat people, of course not.

  6. john says:

    The DS needs phone functionability. Everyone carries a phone and if you can play games on it, no need for another device in your pocket.


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