Next Gameboy

It’s funny how we are always fascinated with what’s to come even given the mass amounts of information we’ve received over the past several months. News regarding the Revolution hardware, wi-fi network, and the high number of DS games being released and/or in development. We can also hope for Zelda: Twilight Princess next spring with a few more GBA games on the horizon.

So I think it’s safe to say that Nintendo has carved out it’s hardware plans for the next 4-5 years with their new home console (Rev) and their one-of-a-kind portable (DS) with one exception; the GBA. What will become of the most successful gaming system of all time?

It’s seems like the Gameboy platform has always been synonymous with straight forward gameplay and simple graphics. Less is more. 2 action buttons. 2-D graphics. Superb gameplay built on classic strategies that still enthuse. The franchise has arguably the largest and most diverse developer list, all of which add significantly to the numerous amount of creative games given the systems limitations.

So will Nintendo release a new Gameboy or simply repackage the oh-so successful GBA line like they’ve done with the SP and Micro? If they do develop a new system what should be the focus? Classic 2-D play or more advanced 3-D ones? And how soon could we expect that hardware? While we wish we had concrete answers, we can expect 3 foreseeable options: upgrade the hardware, stick to 2-D, reinvent the system a-la DS. Which do you think is most likely? What other options could we be overlooking?


  1. The true successor to the Game Boy Advance MUST be able to play all of the old game boy games. One of the things I love most about my SP is that I can play all my old GB and GBC games on it. That is also why the SP (especially the new brighter one) is infinitely better than the Micro. One thing about GBA that I didn’t like was the overabundance of very low calibur games. They seemed to crowd out the better games on the shelf. I think it would be cool if Nintendo came out with some mono-screen “DS” games for a new Game Boy. Imagine an SP with a DS slot in the top… you could have games with the same graphics as the DS, but they would be simpler to develop, since the developer would only have to factor in one screen, and no touch input. And of course, in the bottom of this new Game Boy would be the slot that plays ALL the Game Boy games. Good idea, huh?

  2. I’m tellin ya. Portable Cube. It’s in the works.

  3. Actually that idea aint so great. Why would they make half a DS? If the DS were like that, no one woulda bought it. That’s more on par with PSP with much weaker visuals and no intrigue. A backlog? That’s it? Might as well stick to GBA if that’s all u wanna do.

    If devs get an easier job, pubs put out even more crap. And one less screen doesn’t make it simpler to dev for anyway. It actually gives more resources to the single screen, meaning the devs would prob take just as much time. Nothing drastic.

  4. I thought it was a good idea because it would be more portable than the DS, and the developers COULD make cheaper games. And just because the PSP isn’t Nintendo doesn’t mean it that it doesn’t have any good points. The idea is that this would be the next generation of Game Boy, which traditionally does not change all that drastically from generation to generation.

  5. Just because a machine is fully capable of handling amazing 3D graphics, doesn’t mean all games have to.

    I think the next gameboy has to be at least on pay with the PSP to remain competitive. It will come to market later however, so being able to meet or beat the PSP’s performance yet be much cheaper is a possibility.

    I love the PSP’s widescreen (about the only thing IMO that makes it interesting at all), but the things too big, and not practical for portable gaming.. At the end of the day a Gameboy needs to be able to fit in your pocket, and be rugged. So if that means we miss out on a nice big screen, price and durability/portability are worth it.

    Backwards compatibility is important. The ability to ‘sync’ with your Revolution to download your classic games to your GB would be absolutely amazing.


  6. Ooooh… syncing….

    How about the same principle in reverse: if you buy a game for the GB you are able to upload it to your “virtual console” to play on the big screen when you are home, without having to buy a $50 peripheral

  7. I just say let the DS take over.

  8. I say that too, but I have huge pockets.

  9. “I thought it was a good idea because it would be more portable than the DS, and the developers COULD make cheaper games. And just because the PSP isn’t Nintendo doesn’t mean it that it doesn’t have any good points. The idea is that this would be the next generation of Game Boy, which traditionally does not change all that drastically from generation to generation.”

    The GameBoy Micro is already more portable than anything out there. Why up the power a little just to make DS games more portable? It’s getting a redesign in 2 years anyway. Let the DS be DS and the GB be GB. Yes, it could be cheaper, but it’s not so drastic that it’s worth doing. If cheaper development r your concern, they can base it off the GBA architecture like Rev is based off of Cube’s.

    I didn’t say the PSP was bad. I sed that if this were to happen, the next GB would be an underpowered PSP with less features and no intrigue.

    A backlog is important, definately, but it can’t be the only selling point. My guess is that the next GB will be able to DL all the old GB games for a price like Revolution can. No relay through the Rev, either. You get on wifi and get what you want, that’s it.

    Btw, look at the pic and u’ll see what i mean about the portable Cube theory.

  10. I definitely don’t see a new GBA coming up. Nintendo is now shifting its focus from normal GB-type gameplay to more immersive and more easily accesible games for non-gamers… Look at what they’ve done with the DS now and also the upcoming Revolution, they’re aiming at a new way of playing games… What could they do with a new GBA? Just improve graphics, without having any new or different types of games? It would get the same reception from people as the PSP, the games look great, but they’re just rehashes of already done games… Sorry everybody, but all things must come to an end, the GB as we know it is dead…

  11. i think it will be pretty much a hardware update, like a psp. but they’ll tack on somthing, like haptic touchscreen buttons or somthing. it’ll probably have graphics similiar to gamecube. lets hope they can make a good anlog stick that doesn’t stick out too much. it would be cool if they could have some psuedo 3d effect with the screen that doesn’t need glasses.

  12. The game boy makes too much money for Nintendo for them to drop it. They will make a new one, which will probably have some flash memory to play old games with, and it will probably have N64 to GC graphics. Hopefully it will run off of cards or cartridges for the sake of saving and battery life. Having a portable gamecube like the pic would be cool, but I don’t wanna think about the battery life for something like that, or the cost.

  13. It’ll have something like the flash drive of the iPod to prevent skipping and constant disc reading, thus reducing battery usage. The graphics will definitely be on GC level.

    Blendmaster has it right. It’s not like they’re gonna change everything, they’ll prob put in a stock motion sensor and that’s all. Ppl need to realize that classic gaming, especially in handhelds, is still very viable. GB could be more conventional than DS and still be huge. Look at Micro’s sales. 200k since launch.

    Stop brainwashing urself to think that Revolution’s thinking is the only way to go, cause ur taking Nintendo’s message beyond their words. Where else is 2D gaming gonna live on? There is no possibility of the Game Boy being scratched or reinvented entirely. Get ur “new” fix on the Rev and let GB take care of improving classic gameplay. GB games have to remain simple and quick doses.

  14. Look at Nintendo’s track record. They like long battery life, fast load times, extremely durable construction, inexpensive components, and function focused on games. They aren’t going to do it if they can’t make a profit. Moving to optical drive or a “portable Gamecube” has very few of these features.

    Whatever it is, I’m sure Nintendo will blow our socks off. Built-in twist sensors (like WarioWare) and rumble pak would be cool.

  15. Nintendo has definately made it extremely well known they don’t want to follow the current state of the industry. I believe they will try to do something like the DS that will innovate and allow for a new type of game play. But they don’t want to out-do the DS because of how well it’s doing. So my guess is that the GBA succesor will come out when the DS is ready to die out. It seems Nintendo is content with the GBA as is (coming out with the micro, putting in GBA compatibility with the DS alone says they want it to last as long as they can). A portable gamecube would be incredibly bad ass, but it does seem a bit impractical if you think about it. Anyway, I have no clue what the next GBA has in store for us. A GBA phone seems very likely in the next couple of years though.

  16. I just don’t see what Nintendo has to gain out of a new Gameboy. The DS does basically everything a gameboy does. The concept of portable gaming really doesn’t need to be more advanced. The only thing I can see us improving on is graphics, or maybe the size of the DS. Another gameboy I think would fall under the DS’s shadow, or even worse, under the PSP’s shadow. Not to mention evry portable seemed to mimic an older system. Such as how the GBA seemed to be a portable SNES, so the DS continues the trend by being a portable N64, and having transfers from that console. So,not that I don’t love Gamboys, I have all models, but I think we need to invest in the DS, and strenghten it, as opposed to trying to have two portables from the same company competing with themselves. If the new gameboy is even a competitor, I think it would just be Nintendo chasing it’s own tail.

  17. When they said at E3 that DS was NOT replacing GB, it made me think that they had something in development (besides micro)

  18. I don’t want a GC GB. I don’t ever want optical drives in anything portable. (I hate my discman 🙁 )
    What I do want is the ability to play old GB, GBC, GBA, NES and SNES games via the Rev. They could make better graphics, but only for a couple of games. I want more 2D games. Don’t let’em die !
    Well, that’s what I want 😉
    I think, that Ninny will not do a GC portable. Analog sticks don’t really work on portables imho and optical discs also don’t.
    Well, apart from that I have no idea.
    We’ll see 😀

  19. If they do this, they’ll find a solution to analog controls. The optical discs would prob be inserted via a disc feeder like the Rev’s. Plus, as speculation goes, it will allow for all past GB games to be downloaded. Direct, not through Rev.

    2D games won’t die. If 2D somehow serves a problem (which it doesn’t on GC now), there’s DS.

    I don’t see the problem, honestly.

  20. Hi everybody, before I say anything, please understand that the views presented below are simply a matter of my opinions and Im most probably wrong about everything.

    Before we can speculate as to what the big N will do regarding the next generation Gameboy, I think it would be wise to review all of Nintendo’s previous console releases:

    Home Consoles:
    1. NES
    2. SNES
    3. N64
    4. GCN

    Portable Consoles:
    1. GB
    2. GBC
    3. GBA
    4. GBA SP
    5. DS
    6. GBMicro

    Why do the previous console releases matter? Simple. If history is anything to go by, Nintendo only releases portable consoles with hardware that matches an older generation home console. For example:

    1. NES = GB, GBC
    2. SNES = GBA, GBA SP, GB Micro
    3. N64 = DS
    4. GCN = ? GBnext?

    Its makes absolute sense for Nintendo not only from a hardware point of view, but also from a hardware point of view. Because older technology gets outdated, its price also falls. A Gamecube now sells for $50. Nintendo never loses money on a console. They are still making money at such a low price point. Assuming that the actual hardware for the GCN at wholesale is around $25, I firmly Nintendo could release a portable game system not neccessarily to rival the PSP, rather to compliment the forthcoming generation of Nintendo consoles.

    Its not neccessarily “if” Nintendo will release a “generation” upgrade to the Gameboy, but a matter of “when?” I think the ideal time for Nintendo to make a move would be only after the release of the Revolution. Why? Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is going to change gaming in ways we never imagined possible. Wi-Fi is as Nintendo has stated themselves – “the center of their next generation strategy.” Once gamers and non-gamers alike have adapted to the new user interface of the Nintendo Wi-Fi network and enough popularity has been generated – a new Gameboy would seem likely.

    The Revolution is backwards compatible with not only the GCN, but is also able to access Nintendo’s library of games. If the GBN is a portable GCN with Wi-FI, users with a Revolution will have no problem playing games on the go, as their GBN (Gameboy NEXT) would be fully able to handle the processing load of GCN games. Furthermore, with Wi-Fi connectivity, owners of GBN would also be able to access Nintendo’s library of classic hits.

    If the PSP is supposed to be a “portable PS2” – Sony failed terribly in completing the connection. Whats the point of Wi-Fi on the PSP when all it can do is be used to is multiplayer. The GBN in conjunction with its DS and Revolution bretheren represent a business model that can firmly integrate all of Nintendo’s next generation products under one unified roof – Nintendo’s Wi-Fi network. I think we are bound to see something similar to Microsoft’s Live community, with a more universal interface. Wi-Fi connectivity for free is going to be huge. Free stuff is good stuff and gamers love free stuff. Imagine whatever XBOX Live has, without the HDTV, add a massive library of Nintendo classics + other good stuff. What other good stuff? Who knows what good stuff – but if i had to speculate, Id say a online store of sorts similar too iTunes. Im sure we’ll get MP3/AAC compatibilty for sure with the GBN, however, video remains a speculation. Nintendo tends to add nice features, but not neccessarily set the benchmark. Therefore, I think the GBN may be able to play Divx files, but dont expect to see box office releases and other movies released specifically for the GBN – meaning dont expect UMD movie like functionality. Sony has a market for selling digital media players, Nintendo makes came consoles. Nintendo has to know that in order to stay alive in the portable electronics business, you not only have to be innovative, but at the same time make sure your product has equal or better features than your competing products. Nintendo is not competing with the PSP. Nintendo competes with no one, each Nintendo product merely adds to their entire portfolio of game systems and in a sense reinforces their 1st party strength to create, innovate and market their products.

    In recent months, Nintendo officials have spoken regarding the “increasing costs of game development.” If a new portable console is based off of older home console hardware, developers do not need to purchase completely new development kits and licences. Why do games get better looking at the end of a consoles life? Because developers have spent enough time with the hardware, middleware and software to finally be able to push the consoles to near 80-90% max potential. If Nintendo does indeed release GBN with GCN hardware, then we’re looking at developers easily being able to deliver 85-95% max potential from the GCN hardware. The games would definetly be beyond pretty.

    You can be sure of Secure Digital memory sticks. It will accept DS cartridges. It will most likely use some sort of optical disc format. The most likely candidate for media seems to be GCN discs as they will also be used with the Revolution. I personally feel that the GCN controls can be adapted to the GBN. Analog stick – replaced by the touch screen is a certainty. LCD is certain – how big? VGA screen similar in size to a pocket pc. Touch LCD? No chance. Camera? Probably…no better than 1MP. Why a camera? Wi-Fi + Camera + Microphone = Wi-Fi videoconferencing. Nintendo is experimenting with it, the cost of 1 MP CCD’s is next to nothing, and what better way to jump on the VoIP bandwagon than with the GBN. If wi-fi continues to grow at its current rate, VoIP telephony will be cheaper, have more features than its cellular counterpart and will further enhance the Nintendo Wi-Fi gaming experience.

    I think its definelty a posibility that we’ll see a next generation Gameboy. What features it will have and when it will be released are only known to a select few people at Nintendo themselves. These are just some of my thoughts. Hope I didnt offend the MS or Sony groups… gaming is a community connected by people’s love for products that unleash our digital imaginations and fantases, it should not be segregated by manufacturer (MS, Sony, Nintendo)… No one can deny a truely great game…

    comments –

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