Dual Touchscreen Nintendo DS in 2009?

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My former Kotaku colleague Brian ‘LOL’ Ashcraft has plied mysterious “sources” in Japan with sake, reducing them to salaryman-style drunkenness. Plucked from their chaotic drunken ramblings? Some details about the next iteration of the Nintendo DS.

According to Ashcraft, several industry sources outside of Nintendo claim that a new DS is being prepared… one with a top-mounted touch screen. The screens will also be slightly bigger.

It’s plausible. The DS is still early in its lifestyle: exciting games are still coming out for the platform. A top-mounted touch screen would allow for new types of games to be developed while maintaining library backwards compatibility without a built-in emulator.

I think the part of me that is struggling with this rumor is I simply don’t know what a top touch screen would add: the bottom touch screen is used meaningfully seldom enough as it is. On the other hand, Nintendo has a way of making seemingly useless gimmicks into system-defining backbones that make me feel foolish for my skepticism.

Either way, we’ve got a lot of time to speculate: Nintendo won’t even announce these babies until 2009. Providing they aren’t just unicorns.

Rumor: New Dual-Touchscreen Nintendo DS in early 2009 [Gizmodo]

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6 Responses to Dual Touchscreen Nintendo DS in 2009?

  1. Enochrewt says:

    What would be the benefit though? I remember when the DS was launching, it seemed like both screens not having touch capability was a point of contention. Now I couldn’t really think of any purpose that it would serve. Not to mention those mediocre games with poor control schemes that would have you touch both screens simultaneously, forcing everyone but Zaphod Beeblebrox to drop the DS.

  2. Gloria says:

    Would it be practical to have to poke at the top screen as well? I’d worry about stressing the little hinges so frequently over time, as well as knocking the whole damn thing out of my hands if I stabbed it too hard.

  3. SeppTB says:

    The benefit is pretty clear, for Nintendo anyways. If they release a new flavor of the DS, they can be pretty certain that every citizen of Japan will buy at least one, even if they already own the previous models. Even better if they managed to release the rumored ‘Extra-Lite’ DS between now and then, as to hit all those people up yet again.

  4. Clay says:

    The suggestion that Nintendo would launch an incrementally feature-improved console is suspect in view of precedent.

    Historically, every revision Nintendo has made to its hardware has been invisible to the game software, be it adding a backlight and adjusting the form factor from the GameBoy Advance to the GBA SP, or clearing out bulk and improving the screen from the DS to the DS Lite.

    Suddenly having two different DS environments, one with a single touchscreen and one with two, would fly in the face of the consistency Nintendo maintains in the market.

    If this rumor is right, a dual-touchscreen DS would probably not be part of the current DS family, but a next-gen DS with higher-res screens, faster graphics, and perhaps a new media format.

    On which will one day run a richly textured, 3D cell-shaded Phoenix Wright game with full audio.

  5. iguy7206 says:

    As well, the new nintendo dsi has just been released in japan, basically the same as the lite but with minor changes in software and hardware. However, it only has the bottom screen as a touch screen and is expected to be released in mid 2009 in america.

  6. Harrkev says:

    I agree with Clay.

    With such a large base of installed DS users (me included), to make such a major feature change would result in software that either ignored the top screen (making it useless), could use both screens, but have a one-screen mode for older models (sounds hard to program), or is dual-screen-only (and will not run on the vast majority of hardware out there).

    It is about time for a new hand-held from Nintendo. The Game Boy Advance came out in 2001, and the DS was released in 2004. That is three years between new platforms. Since the DS architecture is already four years old, I would not be surprised to see the next-gen handheld in a year or two.

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