Friday, 24 April 2009

10 things you need to know about the Nintendo DSi

According to: TimesOnline

The latest version of Nintendo's handheld console has hit the shops in the UK and Europe. But should you buy one?

As first reported in The Times in February, Nintendo’s new free DSi handheld console launched in the UK and Europe on Friday, April 3. The new console builds on the success of the DS brand by adding a host of multimedia functions.

For the moment, the DSi is available in black or white. The white is shiny and sleek to the touch, the matt black has a slightly rougher finish, which makes it more pleasingly tactile.

Owners of the existing DS Lite may be momentarily thrown by the changes to the volume and power buttons, but otherwise the DSi is pretty much business as usual. So, should you buy one? Here are ten facts that may help influence your decision.

1. The DSi is the third revision of the DS console, the biggest selling games console yet made, with global sales of over 100 million, 9 million of these in the UK alone.

2. Although it looks remarkably similar to the existing DS Lite, the DSi represents a bigger jump forward than that from the chunky original DS to the DS Lite. The new machine is slimmer, with slightly bigger screens and a faster processor, and is packed with new features.

3. New feature one: the DSi has its own built-in operating system, modelled on the Wii system. The OS is stored on the DSi’s built-in memory. One of the practical upshots of this is that games are now “hot-swappable”, meaning you no longer need to power off and on your console when changing game cartridges.

4. New feature two: the DSi comes with two low-resolution cameras, one facing inwards and one outwards. The cameras are complemented by a built-in application that allows you to distort the photos you take for humorous effect. They can also be used for video-chatting.

5. New feature three: the free DSi comes with an SD card slot, where photos, music and digital media can be stored. Don’t get too excited by the music playback. The DSi only plays AAC files, not the more popular MP3. Why? Read our interview with Nintendo’s UK boss to find out.

6. New feature four: if you want to play your old Gameboy Advance games, forget it. There is no longer a slot at the front. This is also bad news for fans of Guitar Hero, which uses the slot for its fretboard.

7. New feature five: the DSiWare store, modelled on the Wii store, will offer games for download in exchange for Nintendo points. A web browser will be offered for free.

8. New feature six: the improved internet connectivity means that the DSi firmware can be updated by Nintendo. This is bad news for game pirates, who are thought to have cost the company millions in lost revenue by making DS games available for download on to cards such as the notorious R4. The DSi will not recognise an R4 card.

9. In its native Japan, the DSi sells for around 20,000 yen. One year ago, when the pound was worth 200 yen, this would have suggested a UK price of £100. Now the pound is worth 139 yen, which has bumped up the UK price to £149. Ouch.

10. Nintendo has opted for a quiet launch for the DSi, perhaps in recognition of the fact that no DSi-only games exist yet, and the DSiWare store is poorly stocked. Still, the company reports pre-orders for the console at ten times the level of the DS Lite.

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Free Xbox 360 said...

I've had my hands on this console, and aggree with all the points you've raised. I think that the games issue is going to be the thing that maybe dampens the popularity of this console. It's a great little item, and no doubt it's selling well, but I hope they get a few new more adult orientated games on the platform.