updated 09:05 am EDT, Mon March 15, 2010
DS 2 to have accelerometer, larger screens
Nintendo's DS sequel will have a pair of key developments that make it more competitive against the iPhone and iPod touch, based on investigations on the GDC show floor. The handheld is expected to still use dual screens but considerably larger, higher-resolution models that form a near-seamless design. The simple change could lead to games that can join both screens together for a single experience in addition to those that use each for separate purposes.
The sources for game journalism vet Raymond Padilla also corroborate previous rumors and say that the "DS 2" will have an accelerometer to recognize tilt and other motions. It's suspected that Nintendo will have added the feature solely as a reaction to Apple, whose iPhone and iPod accelerometers have been instrumental to their combined success as a single gaming platform.
Further information is less definite, but the developer kit for the future system was described as being much like that of the GameCube, even with a likely different processor. Most expect it to use a Tegra or new Tegra 250 and thus to use ARM, not the GameCube's PowerPC architecture. The switch is already poised to not only provide much more 3D graphics power but possibly support for HD video.
Developers already said working with the kits expect at least some games to be ready by the end of the year. Such timing hints at a possible E3 introduction in mid-June and a release of the new DS by the holidays.
Nintendo still has a comfortable lead in the dedicated gaming handheld world over Sony, whose more expensive PSP has often given the DS and DSi a cost advantage, but it's widely thought that Apple is rapidly catching up as it regularly sells millions of iPhones and iPod touch players per month. Gaming remains one of the largest categories on the App Store, and Nintendo has acknowledged that the Apple devices have likely eaten into DS sales by removing the need for separate phones, media players and gaming systems.