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Nintendo Upgrades DS But Who Will Buy a DSi?


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No one can blame Nintendo for not wanting to move on to another generation of consoles too quickly. It's easy to forget where Nintendo were in the last generation of console wars. The GameCube gave them impression that Nintendo would shortly be following their old rival Sega out of the hardware market. The Wii and DS quickly turned this around and put Nintendo back in the Number one spot where it had not been since the Super Nintendo. It's taken Nintendo a long time to regain its crown, and they don't want to take any unnecessary risks.

The new hand held console has a range of features which Nintendo hope will encourage more people to buy the DSi than the already popular DS. The most prominent feature of the DSi is the two digital cameras built into it. Both of these feature a VGA resolution (640 x 480) sensor. One of these cameras will be located on the outer casing while the other camera will be positioned between the two screens focusing on the user.

The cameras are expected to be used for features integrated into future games, especially the internal camera which will be able to capture players’ movements. The main purpose of the VGA camera however, will be to stream a video of the player to other plays around the world when the camera is connected to a wireless hub. Photos taken on the cameras can also be sent to the Wii's Photo Channel via the Wi-Fi connection.

Nintendo are playing-up the fact that there are 11 different filters which can be used in-real time when taking photos. This does seem rather to be a gimmick and something that will not be used by most on more than a handful of occasions.

To store these images, the DSi includes an SD card reader/writer. It is unknown what capacity memory card the reader/writer will be compatible with. A further unknown is whether Nintendo intend to allow homebrew applications to be used through the SD card as is the case with card readers such as the R4DS This could potentially open up the door for all manners of mp3 players, video players and office applications to be used with a Nintendo DSi. If Nintendo do allow homebrew applications, this could be the most important selling point of the new console, however in an effort to avoid piracy, this seems unlikely.

The size of the new DS is a further reduction from the DS Lite's size. The new model is 12% slimmer but with the reduction in size and the new features, something has to give, and that is backwards compatibility. Unfortunately the DSi will not be compatible with GameBoy Advance cartridges.

The screen has also undergone an upgrade and is now 17% larger. Speaker and volume quality are said to have been improved making in game effects and music produce a high quality output. The DSi Shop is a new feature designed to allow users to download software and carry it around with them. This would not have been possible on the previous generations of Nintendo DS due to their lack of memory.

You will be able to buy the Nintendo DSi in the UK in spring of 2009 although an exact date has not been confirmed. A price has not been given either but estimates set the new system at around £110 in combination with a slight price reduction for the DS Lite. Whether the new features are put to use well enough to justify an upgrade for current DS owners remains to be seen, but for most that do not already own a DS, the DSi seems like the best all round package.

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