Nintendo DS2 Information Unearthed at GDC 2010

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.”

Author: RPadTV

http://www.RPad.TV

152 thoughts on “Nintendo DS2 Information Unearthed at GDC 2010”

  1. @rpad

    great article! I was wondering if we would more details on the DS2 at GDC. now i have to have for e3!

  2. @R-Pad

    There is a diagram that explains Tegra. I will try and find when I get home, but basically Tegra has multiple processors that are independent from one another and are devoted to specific tasks. It should act like a you would expect a normal PC to. (One processor acts as (or is) a GPU, one does the audio, and so on.)

  3. Didn't they just sell about 5 bazillion of the current DS's last month after releasing yet another version of the same 6 year old system? Do they really need to move on to the next system already?

    (ok, I rounded up on the sales numbers…..)

  4. @Nightshade386 That's a great point, which is why I was surprised that developers said that they'll be finished with games this year. On NeoGAF — where I'm getting roasted — someone pointed out that the XL feels more like a "stopgap" system than a true release.

  5. I don't really like handheld systems anyway because I have trouble seeing the screens. But it just seems crazy to me all these iterations of the DS that keep coming out and people keep on buying them…..and they're still looking to move on to something else rather soon by the sounds of it. But over 600,000 units in February is a pretty impressive number. I would think that they'd give it time for the sales to start to slip a bit and then kick the new system out.

  6. Did the devs go into more details about it being "similar in power" to a GC?

  7. I've been wanting to get a hand held but I am unsure of which to get, I am leaning towards the Psp but after 30mins of play my hands tend to cramp up, no me gusta.

  8. @ Smartguy;

    I bet it tastes disorienting. Although, if you think about it sammiches already have a crude form of an accelerometer in the form of the juices from the tomato mixed with the mayonnaise and the moistness of the lettuce. If you tilt the thing too much one way, it begins to drip. The only way to correct the drip is to tilt it in the opposite direction.

    What? I'm bored. This is the kind of mind-numbing thing I think of when NOT playing games.

    -M

  9. @iceman

    that would be a riot of a good time!, I may have to try that out, I live out in the sticks and have of a bunch of those critters running around.

  10. Yesterday I bought a sandwich at the Moscone Center and it had an accelerometer in it…..LMFAO!!!

  11. @Sandrock323 Yes, that’s the whole system-on-a-chip advantage, but I still thought coding would be different enough from working with a PowerPC CPU and ATI GPU. *shrug*

  12. Looks like you’ve been banned from NeoGAF because of this link :(

    Is it permanent or just for a little while? I hope to see you back there sometime soon.

  13. @Smartguy
    Accelerating….

    @R-Pad
    Observation: Nintendo has always released new iterations of their Pokémon series on different handhelds. Nintendo has already announced a new iteration in the Pokémon series for this year. Possible “proof” that the DS2 will hit shelves this year?

  14. @Iceman
    True. I was quite bored at work today as well. There are plenty of squirrels where I work and today I was contemplating whether or not it would be sporting to chase them with an electric wheelchair or rascal. Unfortunately nobody is handicapped physically where I work so I couldn’t even test it out. One day……

  15. dont mention rpad, I am a big fan of your work whether I agree or not. Plus you are one of the few in the industry that actually takes the time to chat with your commentors, and that means alot to us at the "Farm".

  16. @ Smartguy;

    I tried that in college, since a friend of mine was partially handicapped. It’s not very efficient since they scurry up the trees pretty fast.

    Here’s what you want to do to exponentially increase your fun factor: Buy a bag of walnuts (the WHOLE walnuts with the shells) and a small bottle or can of your favorite alcoholic beverage. Beer works O.K. You should also try to get a syringe or very thin funnel. What you want to do is take a syringe full of beer (or other alcoholic beverage) and inject it into the tiny crack in the walnut shells and let them sit somewhere for 24 hours so that the inner nut (the edible part) can soak in and absorb the alcohol. The next day, inject some more beer (or alcohol) into the shells again for good measure and leave the loaded nuts in an area where the squirrels usually frequent. Lastly, video tape and upload to YouTube and watch your page hit counter soar. Guaranteed pant-wetting entertainment for the price of a Corona and a bag of nuts.

    -M

  17. @Blasphemous Ha! Thanks for the support and the link back. Yeah, I know GAF can be full of idiots ranting, but there are some great posters there too.

  18. Thanks for the scoop Raymond. I knew there would be some developer leaks about the ‘DS2’ at GDC. I’m sure others were also asking developers about any DS2 tidbits so I’m waiting for their reports. With developers finishing their games before the end of the year that would mean a launch late this year (maybe in Japan only???) or early next year.

  19. @ R Pad

    Like, someone who works there, or someone on the comment board?

    Either way, I couldn't care less really. I just would care more if someone who works there is talking smack because that means they feel threatened by you.

    If it's someone on the board, they just want to stir up drama. I'll let them keep that over there.

  20. @N8R Just a commenter on the board.

    @Blasphemous I love the interaction. It's actually more important to me than the actual writing. I'm grateful you guys (and gals) come here to hang out!

  21. @Ray

    I hope you are wearing an Rpad.tv shirt while you are at these events or are somehow shamelessly plugging the site lol.

  22. N8R

    I need a good tshirt guy, would you care to share that info? if not, thats cool.

  23. "Yesterday I bought a sandwich at the Moscone Center and it had an accelerometer in it…..LMFAO!!!"

    What's so funny? That's what makes those sammiches so effin tasty.

  24. @N8R I'd actually to get skimpy t-shirts so you guys can get your friends in the "exotic dancing" industry to wear them. I think those will to even better than the magnet pics. Ha!

  25. On the subject of the 'DS2' using Nvidia's Tegra chip, last month Craig Harris in an article on IGN DS said that " Shame that this is probably not happening. At least according to developers I've talked to."

  26. The thinking is why would Nintendo release 'DS2' so soon after the DSi XL's release but then again the 'DS2' will probably be launched in Japan late this year (where the DSi XL has been out longer) and then it will be released in North America & Europe sometime next year.

  27. I'm no engineer, but to me it makes more sense for DS2 to use an ARM Tegra-based chip, rather than PPC. After all, the GBA, DS/DSi and many other mobile devices use ARM-based processors. The real question is at the GPU, where Nintendo could go with the Tegra or PowerVR SGX. The fact that devs said the kits are "similar in power to the GameCube" sounds right in line with where those CPU and GPU technologies are at. Just take a look at iPhone/iPod touch, which Sega said is more powerful than Dreamcast. Good article!

  28. If you think about it, the DS is ~ the same power as the N64, so the DS2 should be ~ as powerful as the Gamecube. (Wii is only 2.5 X more powerful than the Gamecube, which isn't saying much in PC terms)

  29. @N8r

    I am in georgia, but if the guy does good work at a decent price then I have no problem having them (arranging for) shipped to me.

  30. @ Blasphemous

    Send me an email. It's on the "about" page listed at the top. I'll hook you up with my guy in Pennsylvania.

    @ R Pad

    I already have the same guy working on RPad.tv shirts. He owes me a few favors, and I'm cashing them in.

  31. Here's a riddle that only a few people know the answer to:

    What was Tegra before it was Tegra?

    :-)

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