View Thread : More DS Wireless Rumors...


A Black Falcon
http://money.cnn.com/2004/03/16/commentary/game_over/column_gaming/index.htm

Commentary > Game Over********
Nintendo embraces instant messaging?

New handheld system will feature free wireless gaming, IM capabilities.
March 16, 2004: 3:06 PM EST



NEW YORK (CNN/Money) Nintendo's latest handheld system seems to be moving even further away from a pure gaming machine.

In an analyst report issued Tuesday, P.J. McNealy of American Technology Research said the upcoming Nintendo DS will offer Instant Messaging functionality. Rather than being offered nationally, though, the DS is more likely to offer local IM service, using free bandwidth with unlicensed RF spectrum (essentially, the same bandwidth that's used by two-way communication devices). Users would type messages on a touch screen using a stylus.

The addition of IM would be the second potential step for the DS to be a multimedia device. In an earlier note, McNealy revealed a two-hour movie has been successfully demonstrated on the machine. Nintendo has not confirmed any non-gaming functionality, however.

Additionally, the DS will feature free wireless gaming, McNealy wrote. Exactly what that might mean is unclear. It could be that the machine will simply allow players in the same room to play together without the need for a corded connection. (Indeed, a wireless adaptor for the Game Boy Advance is already being sold in Japan.) Conversely, Nintendo could allow friends in different locations to compete against each other or co-operatively, should the wireless signal be strong enough.

Nintendo declined to comment on the report, citing its policy of not addressing rumors or speculation.

As talk grows about the DS sporting additional functionality, interest in the system is increasing. Industry observers are curious whether the company will use the DS to go head to head with Sony's PSP, a handheld game device that offers additional multimedia functionality. Sony (SNE: Research, Estimates) in late February delayed the North American launch of the PSP until early 2005. Nintendo said it is still on track to release the DS this holiday season.

Though the PSP was originally seen as a threat to Nintendo's Game Boy, that talk has quieted in recent months as major publishers have suggested it will carry a price tag ranging from $199-$249 and software will run for $40. Neither Nintendo or its publishing partners have suggested a price point for the DS. McNealy has written that software will likely range from $20-$30.

Nintendo has tried hard to keep details about the DS under wraps, only acknowledging it would feature two, three-inch LCD screens and two separate processors. There has been tremendous speculation on how the machine will look.

McNealy's note, which cites "several [unnamed] industry sources," said the machine will have design characteristics similar to the popular Game Boy Advance SP.
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The DS will incorporate the 'clamshell' look of the Game Boy Advance.

"The form factor will feature two three-inch screens that fold together, similar to that of the Game Boy Advance," wrote McNealy. "There will be two flipper controls, two directional pads, and an 'a' and 'b' button. The stylus will be used for gaming, Instant Messaging, and other multimedia functionalities."

The possible inclusion of wireless multiplayer gaming has long been rumored for the DS. Sony has reportedly dropped wireless functionality from the PSP, which could give Nintendo a leg up. (It's entirely possible Sony is still debating whether to include some sort of wireless gaming, however.)

Wireless technology likely will play a significant role in the next generation of consoles with Nintendo's next generation machine due in 2006. If the DS does have wireless functionality, it's possible the device might be able to sync up with the new console, much as the GBA can link up with the

Interesting...

Great Rumbler
Nintendo declined to comment on the report, citing its policy of not addressing rumors or speculation.

Looks like Nintendo is going to make us wait till E3.

Interesting...

Indeed it is, because if it's true it shows that Nintendo is taking seriously the threat of the PSP and is agressively working to counter it.

Dark Jaguar
There it is, the thing that puts it in it's own market! Never bought the company line that it's a "totally different kind of product", but "totally different price range" certainly wouldn't have set well with consumers :D.

Indeed, something that expensive is certainly not a direct GB competitor. After hearing this, I'm almost certain this device IS being made to counter the PSP. They say it's just a niche audience device right now because they doubt the PSP's selling potential, but at the same time are making the DS as a failsafe should it happen to take off.

Touch sensitive screens? Are both touch sensitive or just one? I'm leaning towards one. Honestly, I can't stand the concept of IM via cell phone. I mean, it's a PHONE, try actually TALKING to them instead of spending an hour trying to get the right letters out of a NUMBER PAD. However, with a touch screen a keyboard setup could be made. Honestly I won't be typing nearly as fast because it'll be single finger speed, so it'll be very annoying, but it's a LOT better than the cell phone solution (which I must again say is COMPLETELY worthless on a device that can actually transfer one's actual voice rather than just text, I mean unless you are a spy sneaking around a hostile environment).

What on EARTH is a "flipper control" anyway?

Anyway, since it's very apparent this device IS intended to be the direct competition to the PSP as a sort of precaution measure in case it does succeed, I certainly hope it's more powerful than that one spec guide (validity of which is unknown) would lead one to believe. Isn't the PSP almost as powerful as a PS2 itself?

OB1
That's what they say. I also hope that the DS will be comparable, graphics-wise, to the PSP.

I'm also starting to think that the DS might be Nintendo's answer to the PSP. I mean they did say that the PSP wouldn't be a direct competitor to the Gameboy and that the DS also would not replace the Gameboy, so it does make an awful lot of sense especially with all of these recent rumors of it being more than just a gaming system. If Nintendo pulls this off I'll be very excited and proud of them.

Great Rumbler
I don't know about everyone else, but I'm starting to get excited about the DS!

OB1
Yeah!

Great Rumbler
I predict that it'll be the best Nintendo handheld since the GBASP!!

OB1
Well, granted that these rumors are true!

Dark Jaguar
An analyst report sounds pretty official, but Nintendo called it a rumor/speculation. I suppose big words, or small difficult words, don't equal being right :D.

Anyway, it's interesting but for some reason my rumor radar was disabled (I suppose I was in an area of strong harmonic resonance when I read this...) so I didn't notice that the article mentioned it's not official yet.

Well, back to waiting. If all this gets confirmed, count me among those who are actually looking forward to the thing. The duel screen thing STILL seems pointless, but if the rest is true, then that's fine.

OB1
Well if one of the screens is a touch pad then it could be very cool. You could IM with your own handwriting.

Dark Jaguar
There's another thing I didn't think about. Writing by hand would be quicker, but considering how horrible my handwriting is (and it's been getting WORSE rather than better), I'd have to rely on a hand written to digital conversion, and that wouldn't work. *writes beat up Martin* Eat up Martha? *chucks DS at Martin*

Another thing though. If it was just one really long screen that was a touch pad, it could do the same thing. Once again, I fail to see how two screens is more useful than one really large screen. We'll find out I imagine. That's why I'll just be waiting for more info.

OB1
One really long screen can't fold itself like two seperate screens can. ;)

Great Rumbler
but Nintendo called it a rumor/speculation.

That's what Nintendo ALWAYS says! Even when it turns out to be true!!

OB1
Yeah, they still consider Metroid Prime to be a rumor!

Dark Jaguar
Good point, but if the system can fold onto itself SP style, that won't matter.

OB1
Well it would be really long, and the whole screen would have to be either regular or touch-sensitive. The whole point it to have one normal screen and one touch pad screen (supposedly). You can't have both with one big screen.

Great Rumbler
They could put two screens together and employ various methods to make them LOOK like one big screen.

OB1
Or TEN screens!

Great Rumbler
Yeah!

Dark Jaguar
But, what's the point of having one just regular? As I said before, the only reason I can think to have two screens is to save money on making it.

OB1
Have you ever seen a touch screen before? The picture quality isn't as good as regular LCD.

Dark Jaguar
Yeah I've seen them, and as far as I can tell it's just a layer that lies over the actual display screen.

OB1
What? No, no. Look at a PDA, the picture quality is pretty bad compared to a regular LCD screen. You lose a lot of contrast and vibrancy.

lazyfatbum
My DV camera uses a touch screen on its viewer panel which is an LCD screen and there's no loss of vibrancy or contrast. It's probably just a cost issue which means it could be possible that one screen will seem more vibrant on the DS to save money.

When I first heard of a two screen game the first thing that came to mind was the obvious. In one screen you have your normal gameplay screen, in the other you have your menus, maps and what not. Another type could be the two player game window where the first player uses the D pad and the second player uses the A and B buttons, or other such configurations, though this seems a little impractical. The next idea that came to me was something much more ambitious.

I was playing Metroid: ZM and thinking about the DS and how it could affect a game like this. I started looking at what could be added to the other screen; wouldn't it be cool to have the 2nd screen for precise aiming? You press L or R to bring up the precise aiming view in the second window, which will be the creature or boss against a black background. While this image of the creature will be in 2-D it will be scalable and animated to create a mock 3-D. You can then position a target over particular areas of the creature (such as a place on the nose or underbelly) while still being able to control Samus (who would be locked in whatever direction the enemy is facing). The end result would be playing Zero Mission as per normal but have the ability to fire missiles right in to Ridley's chest from a first person perspective (2nd window) while still being able to avoid obstacles and dodge attacks in the normal side scroller fashion (first window).

Does that make sense?

It should also be noted that there are two CPU's for each screen. The only other type of technology that needs such a thing is stereoscopic VR goggles. It wouldn't be too much of a hassle to program the game to have two views of the same screen, only slightly different from eachother and have the player wear LCD glasses (terminator 2 the ride, but this would require the DS to use an attachment to alter the glasses) or a full pair of goggles, which could be upwards of $200... Unless the DS can strap to your face. :)

Dark Jaguar
Well, the DS does have wireless abilities, meaning the "attachment" needed to alter the glasses (I'm thinking iMax glasses, same thing though, certainly NOT the stupid cardboard and color filter things of the past right, also my mom accidently stole a pair...) would already be on the system.

However, one could still do the split screen thing if it was one screen. A big line of pixels would go up the middle to seperate the part with the gameplay and the part with the data. Having two processors for each half of the screen would likely be hard to do.

Okay, so while one could make the system so it COULD do everything with one large screen that the two screen could do, cost and complexity prevent it. Well alright then, I suppose even though it is supposed to be in the "deluxe expensive handheld" market, even that's a bit much.

Next question. Will the DS have a slot for Panasonic's SD cards?

OB1
My DV camera uses a touch screen on its viewer panel which is an LCD screen and there's no loss of vibrancy or contrast. It's probably just a cost issue which means it could be possible that one screen will seem more vibrant on the DS to save money.


Touch screens can look almost as good as plain old LCD screens, but at a far greater cost. Most PDAs and such use relatively cheap touch screens and they look like crap compared to say, the GBA screen.

A Black Falcon
That's what they say. I also hope that the DS will be comparable, graphics-wise, to the PSP.


Impossible and you know it. N64 vs. DC/PS2...

Not that I mind the DS being N64-level. But you seem to. :)

Oh, and one being a touchscreen does explain why there are two screens and how it isn't just some gimmick... it makes sense, really. If true (I hope it is!), it could definitely lead to some interesting games.

Now what I'm wondering is this. Why no analog stick! I mean, this is 3d n64-level at least!