Nobody can dispute that Nintendo has a true blockbuster on its hands when it comes to the Nintendo DS. The device has sold some 77.5 million units worldwide through June of this year, and continues to sell them at a rapid pace-at least a million per month, if not more. But the device has not been updated since March of 2006, when the company introduced the DS Lite.
That is about to change. According to a story in the Japanese business daily Nikkei, the company will release an updated model later this year. The most notable new features would be an integrated camera, and the capability for music playback.
Of course, with new features come a slightly higher price tag. Whereas the current device sells for 16,800 yen in Japan ($158 US), the new model would apparently be priced somewhere closer to 20,000 yen or $188 US if the report is to be believed. As with most Nintendo launches, it appears that Japan would see it first, followed by a worldwide release later.
What will a camera and music playback do for the DS? I think this could open up new opportunities for Nintendo, and it seems to be confirmed by what we’re hearing. Nikkei mentions the camera itself could be used in game play. But to me the music option is the most intriguing.
With Wi-Fi already built in, Nintendo could go another route: it’s own music store. Users could purchase tracks and download them directly to the device, which would generate revenue for the company. And unlike the Zune and others, the DS would already have a large enough consumer base that would allow it to compete with Apple head on almost immediately.
It should also be noted that depending on what translation of Nikkei you’re reading, the company is reworking the wireless functionality to allow it to connect to “information terminals,” whatever that may mean, so maybe a music store is already in the works.
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