This thought has been plauging me since 2009 faded into a dream: the Nintendo DS is on its last legs. It is arguably the most successful video game system ever created, and has now been out for just over five years. The graphics being pushed now more than ever, but are becoming less than today’s gamer expects. We’ve seen Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, and other beloved Franchises run their due course on the system, and its now time to look to the future. I’m not counting the DS and DSi out, but I think that we can expect an announcement for a new handheld this year, if it doesn’t come out until 2011. I present to you some rumors, mixed with what we don’t know, what is rumored, and what could be really really cool (in no particular order).
- nVidia’s Tegra chip – Essential to any hardware upgrade is a jump in graphical capability. Currently used in smartphones, netbooks, and the Zune HD, the Tegra chip rumor fulfills our need for some beautiful graphics.
- 3G Support – A while back, Miyamoto mentioned he was considering adding 3G to a future successor to the DS. Whether this means something like the Kindle’s use of the network without a contract, iPhone-like contract approach, or something new and unexpected, I’m sure Nintendo could do it right.
- Accelerometer/tilt control – Back in 2007, Nintendo placed a patent for a handheld tilt control scheme. Taking a page out of the iPhone’s book wouldn’t be so bad, as long as it’s used properly. After all, they’ve pulled it off with the Wii, it would be great to see it in a handheld. This one is screaming the next Star Fox to me.
- Multi-Touch Screen – the best way to improve the DS mechanic of touch screen is to give it the natural next step. Not much else to say
- Backward Compatible, Including Previously Purchased DSiWare Games – There is a very important aspect of all new handhelds, and while I’m not worried about Nintendo ditching the DS card slot in the new handheld, I am concerned about a new issue: previously purchased content. There needs to be a way to transfer purchased games from one handheld to the next. My idea: tie it to your Club Nintendo account. Which leads me to my next idea.
- Club Nintendo Connectivity (NO FRIEND CODES) – Now is the time for online connectivity and community. Attach your new handheld with your Club Nintendo account and you would have full access to your previously purchased games, and friends would be able to see what you’ve been doing. This could/should be done on the console end as well, but anyways…
- Real Camera – I would love to see a real camera on the next handheld (none of this 0.3 megapixel garbage). Also, the ability to save video would be great too.
- True Multi-Media Support, including .MP3 Support – When Nintendo announced music support on the DSi, I was pumped. That is until I learned MP3s weren’t included in that. Do it right this time, Nintendo. This next handheld is going to be more than just gaming, so do it right. I challenge you to replace my iPod.
- Online Store, Including Virtual Handheld – I’ve ranted about this before, but where are all the retro handheld games?! I want to be able to download those and play them on the fly, not to mention the fact that this will be a strong enough system to play at least N64 games. Make it happen, Nintendo.
- The Big N’s Secret Sauce – Let’s face it, Nintendo has a pixie-dust dust, secret sauce, Â or magicÂ incantationÂ that will make the next handheld a hit. Whatever the secret sauce entails, I’m pumped for the next Pokemon, Star Fox, Mario, Zelda, etc in our new handheld.
What do you guys think?!