Nintendo Announces DS Redesign


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Nintendo DS Lite

Nintendo has announced that they're going to be releasing a new revision of the Nintendo DS, called the Nintendo DS Lite. The new version has a few new features including
  • clearer and brighter screens
  • better control buttons
  • plug to cover GBA slot
  • slimmer dimensions
The biggest change is in the looks of the system as the handheld will be much smaller and weigh less. Nintendo will release the DS in Japan first on March 3rd of this year. A release date for America and Europe is still unannounced at this time.
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My thoughts on this are that it was inevitable. Nintendo always goes through many hardware revisions with their handheld devices. Just look at the Gameboy Advance. GBA->GBASP->GBAMicro->GBA-Backlit. I don't know if this is a deliberate tactic to double dip their sales, or if they just always want to put out the best product that meets the technology and price specifications.
In any case, the DS can only look better. I think the current design is pretty bad, it feels like a cheap plastic toy, and looks technologically ancient compared to the PSP. It's also pretty cumbersome to hold, and is far too big as a portable device. Just from these small screens the new redesign definitely looks sleeker and more stylish, as well as easier to carry around. Even though I don't do the handheld thing, the redesign plus the great games that have recently come out and are coming out do make it a far more attractive option.
And for anybody that's thinking of buying the DS, definitely wait until the new redesign is out.
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Do a lot of people buy handhelds? What are the sales like of the Nintendo handheld versus the PSP?
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The DS just looks incredibly boring, clunky and plasticky - Its like a giant version of those Game n Watch games from the 80's. Surely basing your design almost exactly on one from over 20 years ago just doesnt work well with electronics especially if it somehow ends up significantly larger.
Sure, the new one looks a lot better, but they should have got it right the first time. The PSP looks so much sleeker, modern and sexy - This is just fuelling peoples opinion that Nintendo is just for kids, whilst the adults choose the Sony.
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Amanie, many people buy handhelds, about the same number that buy consoles actually. In 2005 in the US the numbers are as follows. For Handhelds
  • Nintendo GameBoy Advance  41%  4.26 million
  • Sony PlayStation Portable      35%  3.63 million
  • Nintendo DS                            24%  2.43 million
For consoles
  • Sony PlayStation 2     55%   5.51 million
  • Microsoft Xbox            24%   2.40 million
  • Nintendo GameCube  15%   1.56 million
  • Microsoft Xbox 360       6%   607,343
You can also see that the PSP has sold quite a bit more than the DS. This is due to the PSP's very strong launch which happened in march and carried through the summer. For a good part of the year the DS didn't have many games and subsequently sold rather poorly. However, once the Nintendogs Series of games was released that was the start of a new wave of titles and the DS sales have picked up considerably. In Decemeber, the DS sold around 1.07M and PSP sold around 1.12M.
Now that's just in the US. Europe is a similar story, however the PSP launched there relatively recently just in September, and despite the DS being on sale for many months longer, the PSP has caught up to it. But now they sell on par with one another on a weekly/monthly basis.
Japan is a completely different story. The Nintendo DS is selling a ridiculous number of units week on week. It's the top selling piece of video game hardware over there by a rather large margin, and Nintendo DS titles regularly dominate the top 10 weekly software charts.
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Ben, in terms of hardware, I totally agree with you. However, the games for that have recently been released for the DS have achieved critical and commercial success. Mario Kart is a great seller, as well as Animal Crossing. I never played either of those titles, but I am a big Mario Kart fan and supposedly Mario Kart DS is the best game ever in the series. Plus it's online, which makes it that much better.
I mentioned the huge sales of games in Japan, the interesting thing is that a lot of those sales are going to adults. This is because of the Brain Training series of games that have been released there. There are a bunch of different titles in the series, and they're continually coming out with new ones there. And they're selling like hotcakes. Those games will get released in the US before summer of this year, so it'll be very interesting to see how that affects the sales of the DS especially in regards to the demographics it appeals to. The touch screen really lends itself well to cross-word puzzles, brain teasers etc, and with the new Sudoku craze, having it on the go is pretty compelling.

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