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Summary:

U.S gamers, rejoice: After months of hearing tantalizing tidbits about the Nintendo DSi, available in Japan since last November, we finally have word that it will go on sale here April 5th, for $169.99. The latest addition to Nintendo’s DS handheld console line bristles with new […]

nintendo-dsiU.S gamers, rejoice: After months of hearing tantalizing tidbits about the Nintendo DSi, available in Japan since last November, we finally have word that it will go on sale here April 5th, for $169.99. The latest addition to Nintendo’s DS handheld console line bristles with new features, but in my opinion, its most potentially game-changing element is “DSiWare,” an online app/game store where DSi owners can purchase/download games via the handheld’s wireless connection. “Developers big and small are invited to create software” for DSiWare, Nintendo announced proudly today. Some interpret this feature as Nintendo’s direct response to the iPhone and its game-heavy App Store, and I agree.

But can Nintendo meaningfully compete with iPhone? As I complained last year, few of the company’s Internet services have impressed, and Apple’s smartphone has a tremendous head start. Michael Pachter, gaming analyst with Wedbush Morgan, thinks it’s just a matter of time: “Once there is a big [DSi] installed base,” he told me via email, “the number of apps should be comparable.” But I’m skeptical its download service will be anywhere as appealing as the App Store. In fact, analyst David Cole believes DSiWare is “just one of many features and is not necessarily a huge driver.”

Then there’s the DSi’s recession-unfriendly $170 price point — almost as costly as the iPhone (without also being a phone). Pachter thinks we may see price cuts across the DS line, announced perhaps as early as June’s E3 Expo, with the DSi’s MRSP lowered to $149. That would definitely make the DSi a competitive alternative to potential iPhone customers who are more interested in getting the phone for its game apps than they are for the AT&T plan that comes saddled with it.

Image credit: www.nintendodsi.com

  1. The DS is already the king of handheld gaming systems right now. The Iphone is a phone that can play games you download. Traditional gamers don’t even look at the Iphone as competition to the DS line.

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  2. This is completely insane. Nintendo (long the dominant force in mobile gaming) comes out with a new DS, complete with the features YOU asked for, and all you can compare it to is a phone? Seriously? First Om slams the Pre, and now this. Maybe you should consider renaming the site to “GigaiPhone.”

    -Erica

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  3. iPhone is just off on a bad start with the App Store. There is no quality control, like Nintendo does with WiiWare and I suspect that will continue with DSiWare. However, I believe there will be sites/blogs dedicated to what is hot and what is not from App Store. Might not be as solid as Nintendo’s policy, but at least it will influence people who are interested in phone-gaming.

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  4. The DS can already do VOIP and SIP with a almost ubiquitous Flash Cart and a Homebrew App so its definitely technically possible and The Ds can do everything a Smartphone can if not more .

    http://svsip.free.fr/spip.php?rubrique9

    Nintendo could grab a whole generation of kids who have grown up with the DS if they eventually turn the DSi into a phone .It will be interesting to see when the DSi store is opened if a VOIP app will be developed for Wi-Fi use.

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  5. [...] have word that it will go on sale here April 5th, for $169.99. The latest addition to Nintendo’s Read More|||New features have been named Nintendo DSi Camera, Nintendo DSi Sound and Nintendo DSi Shop. The [...]

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  6. [...] have word that it will go on sale here April 5th, for $169.99. The latest addition to Nintendo’s Read More|||New features have been named Nintendo DSi Camera, Nintendo DSi Sound and Nintendo DSi Shop. The [...]

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  7. [...] James Au over at GigaOM isn’t convinced yet that Nintendo’s “DSiWare” program will give the iPhone much trouble. But I’m [...]

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  8. i like the DSi but i prefer the PSP

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  9. james braselton Thursday, February 19, 2009

    HI THERE WELL I NOTICE ON WEB SITES SAYING YOU CAN PUT A SD CARD IN THE NINTENDO DSI WELL THE BIGEST SD CARD CURENTLY IS 32 GB AND THE IPHONE ONLY HOLDS 16 GB

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  10. Yes it can compete. You fail to realise that nintendo is doing so great in the handheld business because of its SOFTWARE.

    Until A company creates games like nintendo then they will get as big as them.

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