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Nintendo DS-i: The wait beginsOne in five American households has a Nintendo DS handheld gaming system, but the Japanese company hopes to better those odds when the new DS-i hits American stores sometime in 2009. CNET's Kara Tsuboi talks with Nintendo's Charlie Scibetta about why...
[ Music ] >>I'm CNET.com's Kara Tsuboi here at Nintendo's Gamer Summit in San Francisco on October 2 and I'm joined by Charlie Scibetta. He is the senior director of corporate communications for Nintendo and Charlie I am most interested in hearing about DSI, this is the third iteration of Nintendo's very popular DS handheld gaming system. Why don't you explain what is new with the DSI? >>Charlie Scibetta: Sure, so Japan last night announced the DSI's coming out during November 1. It's not coming to North America until next year so we're getting a little sneak peak of it right now. The DS Lite is still selling great for us. We actually just had the most successful August ever for any video game system, either console or handheld. So the momentum is still strong for DS Lite this holiday. We got at least one more holiday in us. When it does come out next year and when it comes out in Japan on November 1, there's a lot of exciting things happening with the DSI. It's got a couple of cameras installed so you can shoot straight ahead or another camera shoots right back at you. You have memory right in the unit so you can download songs, play songs, listen to them AAC format, wider screen, it's thinner and so there's a lot of cool things goin on with this that I think are really gonna make it better for gamers. >>Kara Tsuboi: But knowing that it is coming out at some point in 2009, are people really going to be motivated to want to continue to buy the DS Lite? >>Charlie Scibetta: Well they're motivated right now. We had a record year last year, we're 22 percent ahead this year at this point through August then we were last year, so people are still buying them and the key to that is games. If there's game to power any console or handheld, people are gonna keep buying it. Until you've tapped out creatively on it, which I think we are a long way from, people will still do that. And what's interesting about, you know, how many people have bought it, in Japan roughly one in two households has a DS Lite already and where as in America we're just one in five so we still think we have a little bit of room to grow. >>Kara Tsuboi: Now one of the initial complains I've heard about the DSI is that not all of the DS Lite games are compatible. I imagine there are gonna be new titles to satisfy some people but what do you have to say about the complaints that people already have some of these older games in hand? >>Charlie Scibetta: Well, all the DS and DS Lite games will play on the DSI. What was eliminated was a GBA slot, game boy advance, which is a couple generations ago. So that's going away. But you can still play all your GBA games on your DS and your DS Lite so it actually is compatible so I think we're gonna be ok there. >>Kara Tsuboi: Ok, so we do not have a specific date for the DSI release in America, is that right? >>Charlie Scibetta: That's right. It's sometime next year. >>Kara Tsuboi: Sometime in 09. And what about pricing? What is the structure looking like? >>Charlie Scibetta: We haven't announced any pricing yet either. If you look at what Japan announced last night, that's roughly $180 here. The DS Lite right now sells for $129 so we'll announce pricing next year when we do a more complete roll out of what the units all about and when it's coming out. >>Kara Tsuboi: So for a potential $50 increase, and I know that's not set in stone of course, but for $50 more the customer will be getting thinner screen, dual cameras >>Charlie Scibetta: Well, it's a thinner unit all together >>Kara Tsuboi: Thinner unit, bigger screen >>Charlie Scibetta: Bigger screen, yea and the ability to listen to music on your game machine, I think, is a really compelling argument in terms of why you'd want to do it because if I can listen to music, if I can take photos with it, you know, both of the people and myself. I can edit those photos with editing software. I have memory right on there. So I can download games and play them right there without having to worry about, you know, inserting a cartridge. So there's a lot of things go on there, I think, that are pretty cool. >>Kara Tsuboi: Colors? Everyone wants to know what color's they come in too? >>Charlie Scibetta: You know, it's one of the interesting things about the DS market is how the colors can just bring a whole new bunch of people that are just attracted by the colors. So there will be colors, obviously, when it launches here. We don't know what those colors are yet but that's one of the fun things about that. You know, that's what keeps the DS Lite fresh is the new colors come out and people want to get that new color. >>Kara Tsuboi: The DSI chromatic? >>Charlie Scibetta: Yea really. [Laughter] >>Kara Tsuboi: Make that you're new ad campaign perhaps? >>Charlie Scibetta: That's right. That's sounds good. Put you in marketing. [ Laughter ] >>Kara Tsuboi: Any final tidbits you can share with our audience just to keep them waiting, keep them anticipating when the release comes in 09? >>Charlie Scibetta: Well, what's interesting about it too is that there's something called Nintendo DSI shop, so not only can you buy games at retail but you can download them right over the internet. So with that memory you can store right there. You know, when you download a game and you play a multi-player game with somebody, once you turn the machine off it goes away and you have to download it fresh. Now, with the memory, with that downloading capability, your games will stay there. So any time you want to play you can just turn on just like that and it's right there for you. >>Kara Tsuboi: Now it's an interesting marketing position you're in. You can't really tell everyone to wait until 09 to buy the DSI cause you still want them to buy the Lite but if you can entice >>Charlie Scibetta: It is a balancing act because you want to get people excited about it and they're interested in it because they're always interested in new technology but you also have a pretty compelling offering this holiday and we do think of this as compelling. We've got great games coming out and it's a good value so we think it's gonna be a good holiday for us. And we did announce that we're having more quantity this year than last year so hopefully if you go in to buy one, you'll be able to get one. >>Kara Tsuboi: Right. Thank you very much. Charlie Scibetta, Nintendo. I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET.com. [ Music ]