“While others talk, Nintendo is working,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, executive vice president of Nintendo of America, referring to Nintendo’s regrouping of minds as a result of its recent decline in popularity. By the beginning of 2003, GameCube and accompanying software sales had fallen short behind Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Microsoft’s Xbox.
But Nintendo redeemed itself late last year by dropping the GameCube console’s price point to $99, thereby increasing sales. Fils-Aime also announced that between 2001 and 2004, Nintendo’s hand held gaming device, the GameBoy Advance (GBA), had sold 25 million units in North America, which was more than the total number of PlayStation 2 units sold.
Despite attempts at increasing sales, Nintendo realized that something new had to be created beyond current hardware trends.
“I have only one question,” Fils-Aime said, provoking the audience. “Do you want to go a little faster down the same road? Or do you want to go down a new road with something new and different?”
At that, the crowd reacted with an ear-shattering roar as the projector snapped over to images of the new Nintendo DS.
The dual screen DS (Developers’ System) presents a new form of gameplay. With two screens available to them, gamers can now experience two different perspectives or have their characters stand two screens tall. There will be two media bays, a 1GB drive for media and another for GBA games (with backwards compatibility). In addition, the DS will be touchscreen enabled and there will be voice recognition for games controlled by vocal command.
The dual wireless capability will also allow up to 16 people to play at the same time from up to 100 feet apart on local wireless connection. The wireless global connectivity will also allow users to play and chat with others around the world.
“I am proud of our accomplishments in the past,” said Satory Iwata, president of Nintendo. Nintendo is known for having paved a path in innovative hardware during the early ’90s. “We are proud of the joystick’s design, the rumble pack and mobile gaming with the GameBoy, said Iwata.
“But we are most proud of [the DS]. It is different. A new machine should offer ambitious play experience. So the definition of a new machine must be different,” said Iwata. Without divulging too much, Iwata also added “[The DS] difines our next home system.”
No price point was released. The DS is expected to be launched at the end of 2004.