Can Nintendo DSi Become the iPhone of Game Handhelds?

28 Comments

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

28 Comments

Dufflbagboy

I think I know EXACTLY what they are doing. The Nintendo Wii is releasing the Wii Speak for the Wii which is talking to people who have a Wii. Well there will probaly be a DSi Speak Channel soon. You will be able to call Nintendo WFC members.

Yu

I wondered about the price comparison… It seems pretty unfair to compare the price of subsidized iphones coming with expensive phone and data tarifs to the price of a handhelb console without such. After all, if you want a current iphone in europe, without a 24 month cell phone contract, you’ll pay at least 700€ for it, more likely 1000€ if you don’t want to buy it online. THIS is the price you need to compare to.

james braselton

HI THERE YES I THINK THE NINTENDO DSI CAN WIN OVER THE IPHONE BECUASE IPHONE DOSE NOT HAVE YOUTUBE OR FACEBOOK AND NINTENDO DSI WILL HAVE FACEBOOK AND YOUTUBE BY SUMMER OF 2009 VERY SOON THOUGH I SAW THE NINTENDO LIVE COVERAGE ON G4 TV WICH COVERED ALL 22 HOURS OF THE E3 THATS HOW I KNOW THAT NINTENDO DSI WILL HAVE FACEBOOK AND MAY BE YOUTUBE ALSO

james braselton

HI THERE YES I THINK THE NINTENDO DSI CAN WIN OVER THE IPHONE BECUASE IPHONE DOSE NOT HAVE YOUTUBE OR FACEBOOK AND NINTENDO DSI WILL HAVE FACEBOOK AND YOUTUBE BY SUMMER OF 2009 VERY SOON THOUGH I SAW THE NINTENDO LIVE COVERAGE ON G4 TV WICH COVERED ALL 22 HOURS OF THE E3 THATS HOW I KNOW THAT NINTENDO DSI WILL HAVE FACEBOOK AND MAY BE YOUTUBE ALSO

Ayo

I would beg to differ from some of the views held here. I think the DSi has some pretty good functionality and was definatley the right step up by Nintendo, who had to really make sure they got this right, or risk losing the amazing market share of theirs. Rumors have it that there is going to be a new PSP soon, which means the success of the DSi is vital if Nintendo are going to ‘monopolize’ the market

thane eium

no way dsi is lower than the iphone, but the dsi is a gaming system, same goes with the iphone. personally, the voip on the ds flash carts sucked (with a future it might work). plus the ds was even long before the ipods evolved into the iphone. i did like the ipod touch, but that is still just a media device. psp should not be brought up as a challenge again. the new psp coming up still is at least a decade behind, i still want to try it, but nintendo is the only company that gave us what we wanted because we asked at an affordable price. i will admit that dsi is very expensive, but for what it has should not down on it (this goes to even the adult men that have a dsphat and never wanting to update).long story short, do not dis it unless you tried it – exclude the japanese version unless you are japanese – gamers need the ability to create in an above the 2-D surface of gaming, even though you could play it as real, it is still no 3-d gaming. no need to feel threatened because as humans and the image of GOD as our body, we wish to create….

james braselton

HI THERE I HAVE A QUESTION SOME WEB SITES SAYING YOU CAN ONLY HAVE A 2 GB SD CARD WITH SD CARDS UP TOO 32 GB IT WILL HOLD THE SAME MEMORY AS MY SPRINT INSTINCT FROM SAMSUNG 2 GB IS NOT MUCH FOR MULTI-MEADA SYSTEMS

Marcus

Why would anyone try to compare a handheld game system to a phone….. The DSi will be one of the best selling handhelds ever , it has all the features we’ve wanted for a long time….. The PsP shouldn’t even be in the same league as the DS.

Dan London

Pretty interesting take. Nintendo has been the handheld leader for a long time… how much the iPhone and other smartphones will cut into their business still remains to be seen.

I do know that some of the iphone apps are pretty amazing. SuperMonkeyBall plays great on it.

Neo_Fight

The iPhone is the iPhone of gaming handhelds, silly green-bean journalist.

I doubt that Apple stores will ever see a surplus of used-up, played-out, semi-damaged iPhones sitting behind a smudged glass case waiting for some customer to stumble in and buy one. Go to any Game Crazy or Game Stop and notice how many almost dead Nintendo DS units are for sale… fast forward 8-10 months and that’s here the DSi will be.

Anonymous

So people play with their Nintendo DS handheld consoles to the breaking point.

If iPhones were worth using that often there’d be more of those laying around too.

majortom1981

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.

james braselton

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

Matt

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.

Ámonアァモン

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.

Erica Douglass

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

Austin

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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