04. 08. 2009
Nintendo DSi: Third Time's the Charm
Since the debut of the olive green-screened Game Boy in 1989, Nintendo has proven time and time again that they are the top dog in the realm of handheld gaming. Their current handheld device, the Nintendo DS (short for Dual Screen) has seen monumental success, selling 100 million units worldwide to date. The powers that be at Nintendo are determined to keep the momentum going with the latest iteration of the DS series, the Nintendo DSi. The third in the DS series, the 'i' stands for "individualization" or "eye" as it alludes to one of the new hardware additions.
So you must be asking yourself, why should you fork out $169.99 for the DSi, especially those of you that have an older iteration of the DS. Well aside from Nintendo shelling out the big bucks to get A-list talent to shill their new toy on us, there are a few reason to give the DSi the once over.
The biggest draw for this latest addition to the DS family is without a doubt its ability to download games from the net. With Apple's iPhone wading deeper and deeper into waters that were previously Nintendo-dominated, the company has to do strike back hard, hence the online capability. Analysts also speculate that this might be Nintendo engaging in a preemptive attack as the gaming world is in the throes an increasingly heated debate on physical vs digital game distribution. In an effort to stem the tide, Nintendo has created the DSi Shop and Dsi Ware. Similar to the WiiShop Channerl and WiiWare, the Dsi Shop allows players to buy games and other downloadable content to enhance their gaming experience.
Another notable addition are the two low resolution still cameras, which are the other "eye" Nintendo hints at in the name. Called DSi Camera the cameras are positioned with one facing the user and the other facing outward, the cameras let players snap pics of themselves and the surrounding environment. But taking plain old pics wouldn't be very fun or innovative so Nintendo added 11 different lens allowing users to distort the images in fun and entertaining ways including the emoter lens that lets you literally turn that frown upside down. The results of your zany photography can be shared with friends -- provided they own a DSi too.
The other new kid on the block is the sound application called, you guessed it DSi Sound. This application lets owners listen to AAC formatted music (what no mp3?) stored on a SD card. Similar to the DSi Camera, players can also record sounds and filter them through 12 different filters creating some interesting results. You can also modify regular songs using four different filters including a filter that makes the track sound like it came from an 8-bit game. Finally, cool new way to "RickRoll" your friends!
While the camera and sound apps seem like fun distractions, the biggest selling point for the latest in the DS series is the DSi Online Play. The question is can Nintendo consistently create downloadable content that a.) people will be willing to pay for and b.) will make shelling out the extra $40 bucks for the DSi worthwhiles?