Nintendo’s DS may be selling well, and the recently-revealed DSi XL isn’t even on sale yet in the U.S. but that hasn’t stopped the company’s president from spilling the beans on a high-definition one with motion control. What the heck?
Speaking to Japanese news group Asahi (also the name of one of my favorite beers), Satoru Iwata seems to have mentioned that Nintendo is already hard at work on a successor to the DSi XL that’ll have pack two or more times the resolution of the existing 256-by-192-pixel DS’s. That would put it at a screen resolution of 512 by 384 pixels, and a four-fold improvement would give the DS HD 1024 by 768 pixels–which is pretty damn close to 720p HDTV screen resolution. It’s an impressive step-up, made possible by improvements in LCD fabrication and falling prices (possibly driven by the smartphone market) though we’d imagine that for the very highest resolutions Nintendo might be limited to using the DS XL format thanks to tech limitations.
As if that news wasn’t fascinating enough to Nintendo fans, there was more: Iwata also implied the device would have motion controls built in. That’ll place the gaming handheld firmly in a catch-up position to all the fab game-capable smartphones we have in a post-iPhone world, but it’ll have the advantage of a lower price.
Bolted together, and even with the rider that Itawa wouldn’t comment on how soon this stuff will arrive, these two pieces of news are amazing. Because Nintendo is almost revealing all its cards about a next-gen device–shall we call it the DS2?–before the previous revamped iteration is due to hit the stores. Talking about it in our FastCompany.com editor’s chatroom we decided it’s almost the equivalent of what would happen if Apple had suddenly revealed the iPhone version 4 just a few scant months after the launch of the 3G S last year. Given the success of the DS, and Nintendo’s other motion-capable gaming system, the Wii (heard of it?) this move by Atawa is almost as significant as that. Is it a sign the company is terrified its market share is going to be eaten up by iPhones and Androids?