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Nintendo DS, Revolution to go online

Nintendo confirms both DS and its next generation console Revolution will have online capabilities.

Gaming

Nintendo has broken its long standing dislike of on-line gaming in emphatic fashion, with Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announcing that both the DS and the upcoming successor to the GameCube, Revolution, will have online capabilities.

In his speech at the annual Game Developers Conference being held in San Francisco, Iwata announced that, four months after its release, the DS is going online. Starting later this year, Nintendo "will provide users with a link to other players across the country or around the world", according to a statement from Nintendo. DS owners will be able to connect to Nintendo's online service, which will be free, from any wireless hotspot using the DS's wireless connectivity, and play other owners of the dual-screen portable online. He said Nintendo's online infrastructure for the device--i.e. servers--was "already in place." Iwata also updated the audience on the DS's sales figures to date--over 4 million to date.

Last but certainly not least, the executive gave the world the first information on Nintendo's next-generation console, code-named Revolution. Confirming earlier rumors, Iwata said the device would have built-in wi-fi connectivity, "which will allow users around the world to connect with one another wirelessly". While he carefully avoided the word "online", Iwata implied that Nintendo will apparently reverse its long-standing policy of abstaining from online gaming with its forthcoming machine, saying it would have the sort same wi-fi functions as the soon-to-be-online DS. He also said development kits for the device would be sent out by the time of the E3 expo in May and that it would be backwards-compatible with GameCube titles.

Iwata also let the audience peer into the guts of the Revolution, which he more elegantly referred to as the device's "technological heart". Like the next Xbox, it will be powered by a custom central processor from IBM, in this case code-named "Broadway". It will also sport a graphics card--code-named "Hollywood"--from ATI, which is also making the GPU for the next Xbox. "We're excited to be developing the graphics chip set for Revolution, which continues our longstanding relationship with Nintendo," said ATI president and CEO Dave Orton in a statement.

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