By Jared Newman | Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm
Unless Nintendo is changing the way it approaches gaming consoles, the underlying technology doesn’t matter as much as the big picture. The Wii staked its reputation on motion controls, not current-generation graphics or processing power. Same goes for the Nintendo DS, which is all about combining a touch screen and traditional button-based gaming on a handheld device.
Besides, the current-generation DS already packs in respectable graphics, and some of the console’s greatest games wouldn’t have benefited from a boost. For instance, the Phoenix Wright series uses 2D animation, never getting in the way of your touch-based sleuthing. New Super Mario Bros. has 3D flourishes, but what really draws people in is the game’s old-school roots. And then there’s Brain Age, which is so simple that I fail to see how a beefer processor and better graphics would improve the experience.
My point is that it’s about the games, not the hardware, and from my experience the Nintendo DS hasn’t suffered from technological constraints.
In any case, I don’t expect Nintendo to move on from its current-generation DS and DSi anytime soon. They continue to sell phenomenally well, with 552,900 units moved in North America alone in August. That’s actually a 6 percent increase from same the period in 2008, and four times more sales than Sony’s PSP.
Continued sales mean that people are going to stay interested in the current-generation Nintendo DS, and all the games it supports, for years to come. If Nintendo does upgrade the DS to a better chip, I won’t be the only one who could care less.