One of my missions for Game Developers Conference 2010 was to get more information on the successor to the Nintendo DS. I heard some cool rumblings about it in February and wanted to use the show to pester developers for confirmation. While nobody would tell me the name of the new handheld or the exact dimensions, I was able to extract some pretty cool tidbits on the “DS2”.
- The system has two screens, just like the DS, but they are bigger and higher resolution. I’m sure most of you could have guessed that, but the interesting part is that the gap between the two screens is negligible. Developers will be able to use them as one giant screen. At the very least, this will allow for some awesome cutscenes. It also has some potentially cool gameplay potential, with developers shifting the action from dual screen to single screen depending on the situation.
- The next Nintendo handheld has an accelerometer. I blame the iPhone for this. Everything has to have an accelerometer now. Yesterday I bought a sandwich at the Moscone Center and it had an accelerometer in it.
- The dev kit is similar in power to the GameCube. Developers that worked on GameCube or Wii games will find it easy to create with. I found this information unusual. The DS successor is rumored to use an Nvidia Tegra chip, while the GameCube and Wii have PowerPC CPUs and ATI GPUs. The people familiar with the dev kit made it sound like there wasn’t much of a learning curve on the new system. I have to admit that I’m not familiar enough with Tegra, but I imagined developing for a system-on-a-chip platform to be different enough from developing for a CPU/GPU system. It could be ignorance on my part or maybe the DS2 uses something other than Tegra.
- The developers I spoke with will be finished with their games before the end of the year. The Nintendo DS is still going strong and the company could delay the next handheld’s release if it wanted to, but it looks like an E3 2010 announcement and a late 2010 release.
That’s all I have for now. Remember, none of this information came from Nintendo. It came from developers that claim to be working on the new system. Some of them I’ve met before, while some were introduced to me by people that knew I was looking for DS2 details. Hopefully none of them were hammered and thinking, “Hey! Let’s mess with the guy trying to dig up Nintendo information.”