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Nintendo of America has finally announced official details of the Nintendo DS! The official release date is Sunday, Nov.
21st. There will be several games released on that day, but that information is still unknown. Japan will get the system
on Dec. 2nd. Nintendo of America stated that they wished to release the DS to North America first, mainly because of
the huge market share and sheer popularity of Game Boy. The main reason to launch it before the 2004 Christmas
season is because, not only of sales, but because of the competition.
The only competition is Sony PSP, but it is bold of them to do so. Nintendo holds nearly all of the market share, but the
PSP may be a big contender for sales. The price tag is only $150! The previously reported $200 price tag was
expected, but the drop to $150 was probably a smart move. The Sony PSP is reported to cost from $200-300, so this will
still be much more inexpensive. The Nintendo DS will show great strides in advancing, including two screens. One of
those screens will be touch sensitive to the stylus pen, allowing for almost analog-play. There will also be a built-in
microphone, although I'm not sure that feature will be used to the game developers' advantages. It will feature wireless
capabilities with Wi-Fi compatibility. This allows the possibility of worldwide multiplayer gaming.
There are some things that should be noted. First off, it is hardly compatible with previous Game Boy games. It is only
compatible with GBA games. Since there is no link-cable port, there is no way to play multiplayer modes. And when I
mean only GBA games, I mean you cannot play Game Boy Color or original Game Boy games. This move by Nintendo
not only separates DS from GBA completely, but it also allows for the GBA market to continue. Because DS cannot be
compatible with GCN connectivity, GCN developers will still seek to develop GBA games to feature such connectivity
between their games.
This also raises another issue. The prices for GBA games now average to be about $30, maybe less if it's been around
longer. That means either Nintendo will have to lower GBA prices in general, or make DS games' prices slightly higher
than GBA games. A likely price range would be $40. Hey, as long as the games are good, it shouldn't seem to
demanding. Since most people want multiplayer GBA games, and compatibility with older Game Boy games, I can't see
too many people ditching their Game Boy Advances. A decline in GBA system sales shouldn't happen, because
Nintendo has also lowered the price of the SP to $80. The original Game Boy Advance has become obsolete, but that's
not a bad thing. People converting to the SP are finding a much better experience.
Does this mean that Nintendo is turning into a portable company? It is not likely. Although Nintendo has the best 2D
games, it also has some great N64 games. Nintendo 64 as a whole wasn't a big success, but there were some amazing
games. Some of Nintendo 64's best were considered to some of the best games ever. These included Super Mario 64,
Goldeneye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Perfect Dark, and more!
The Nintendo DS is capable of playing N64-quality games. When Game Boy Color is like a NES Deluxe, and Game Boy
Advance is like a SNES Deluxe, DS is like a N64 Deluxe. All three of these portable systems surpassed these consoles,
but not enough to make it like any other. What I am trying to say is that we can expect great games from Nintendo DS,
and I believe it will be one of the best portable systems out. The developer support is staggering. A number of
companies have signed contracts to develop games. This already shows the strong support for this system, and the
amount of games currently planned for the system is also overwhelming (120+ games). We should expect at least 100
games to be out for Nintendo DS by the end of 2005! We'll have a full lineup of games that are to be launched with the
system at a later date.