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Nintendo DS2: Let the Rumours Begin
by Sean Engemann
After all the big news came out of Nintendo’s Media Summit, there was still no mention of the Nintendo DS2. And why would there be? Nintendo DS and DSi sales are still great (being the 2nd best selling gaming machine in history, under the PS2); and with the release of the Nintendo DSi XL forthcoming, we’ll be stuck fishing through rumours for a while longer.

Nintendo is notoriously good at keeping information close to their chest, giving all of the media the old "Nintendo does not comment on rumours or speculation" comment. Hard as they may try however, they can’t completely control those who seem to have their hands on development kits, and therein lies the rub. Apparently “trial” kits having been given to The Pokémon Company, along with a select few other Japanese developers, who have let slip a couple secrets about the inevitably upcoming handheld.

The most predominant rumour is the apparent “tilt” function (a la iPhone), but more advanced than a simple accelerator. Though I doubt Nintendo would ever try to call it an “iPhone killer”, since the iPhone is more a communication and application device, while Nintendo’s primary focus has always been on the games. This type of upgrade could encompass all sorts of features, from shock detection to dual accelerators and multiple axes. We will have to wait for official word from Nintendo (which will probably come in teaser snip-its much like they did before the Wii was launched), or from insider leaks before we can confirm anything. A developer at The Pokémon Company has stated that the Nintendo DS2 is, “Genuinely the best thing I think I’ve ever worked with,” which only makes us salivate for more rumours, or better yet, hard evidence.

I think the system would do well to follow in the Wii’s footsteps by being completely backwards compatible, allowing a slot for DS cartridges (if the media is different), and also a Virtual Console where consumers could download Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games. Frankly I am surprised that this feature is not already available for the DSi, considering the thus far success of the DSiWare. Another feature I would like to see reintroduced by Nintendo is communication between the DS2 and the Wii, much like the promising but failed attempt between the Game Boy Advance and the GameCube.

Looking back at how Nintendo reveals their big news, here is my timeline “guesstimation”. With the announcement of the Nintendo DSi XL just released, don’t expect anything at this year’s GDC. I believe June’s E3 will yield the first announcement by Satoru Iwata, holding up a “shell” of the system, mimicking what he did with the Wii at E3 2005. Then we will get some, but not all, of the system’s features revealed in September at the Tokyo Game Show. Sadly, I doubt we will see anything hit retail shelves this holiday season, and should expect a worldwide release sometime in 2011, sooner rather than later. However, if the only thing we have to look forward to come Christmas time is a new Zelda game, then Big N may have to push the DS2 early to keep a strong financial bottom line.


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- Sean Engemann

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