What's next for the Nintendo DS?

Don Reisinger has some ideas for the DS. Do you?

Once again, Nintendo released a quarterly earnings report that not only solidifies the company as a major player going into the next generation, but shows that it's certainly onto something with both the Wii and the DS. But according to that same report, not everything is perfect with the company's handheld system.

According to Nintendo, it's only forecasting 9 percent growth going forward as sales of the DS continue to slide and expectations of higher sales continue to dwindle. Nintendo contends that DS sales could fall to 28 million units from 30.3 million units sold.

Nintendo DS
Mario is coming in a big way to the DS. Nintendo

And while some market analysts are disappointed with the news of the DS slowing and the company itself not growing as fast as they would like, they fail to fully understand the nature of the beast they're trying to gauge.

If analysts were worried about the Wii, I would probably agree. But why would anyone be worried about Nintendo's plans for the DS? Will it sell fewer units this year? Maybe. But if nothing else, I think that we'll soon find that Nintendo has something up its sleeve that will jump-start sales and send those same, misguided analysts into a frenzy.

Although no one knows what the next iteration of the DS will look like, people from all over the globe are speculating. Some say it'll have larger screens and others say the touch technology will improve and allow developers to create even more innovative titles. And while both are probably right, why can't we think out of the box a little bit?

If nothing else, Nintendo has surprised even the most critical of columnists and done things that some thought were never worthwhile. Realizing that, I think we should look beyond our current frame of reference and come up with some ideas that are feasible, but may or may not be a part of the next iteration.

The release
I may be going out on a limb here, but expect the next Nintendo DS to hit store shelves just after the company makes its E3 announcement in July. Chances are, the company will tell us that the DS has been performing extremely well, but it's time for a refresh and it'll push Miyamoto and friends out onstage to build up the hype.

The usual
So I guess we should start out with what we already believe will happen. At E3, Nintendo will pull out a slightly smaller DS from a blazer pocket and hold it in the air for all the drooling press to see. From there, the company will outline many of the improvements we have expected--larger screens, better battery life, a smaller footprint, and a slew of new colors.

And then the fun begins.

Pie in the sky?
Next up, our speakers will unveil all of the great new features that will be included in the next iteration of the DS, which will be available the week after E3. First off, the company will tell us about the more powerful graphics capabilities. To better compete with Sony and the rest, Nintendo will tell us that it has decided to double the graphics capabilities of the new DS. According to the company, Mario, Zelda, and Princess Peach will have never looked so good on a handheld.

Can you say iPhone?
Next, the fine folks at Nintendo will unveil a new multitouch technology that lets you abandon the use of a stylus and use your fingers to control the action onscreen. According to the company, the new multitouch technology will let you enjoy the DS like never before and your digits will thank you for it. I agree.

Multimedia
Finally, Nintendo will take away the PSP's last bastion of hope and allow you to upload media to the device like never before. With a slightly modified menu system, the DS will allow you to add music, movies, television shows, and anything else you're looking for much more easily than ever before. On top of that, it might also let you make phone calls via Skype with a headset, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

So there it is--my guess for what Nintendo could have up its sleeve with the DS. Does it sound too good to be true? Probably. But as Nintendo has shown, it has some tricks up its sleeve and it's more than willing to show off what it can do. And with slumping DS sales, now is a great time for it to create an even more compelling product that brings more DS owners to the table.

 

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