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Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

Nintendo DS Full Specs Allegedly Leaked 84

Posted by simoniker
from the pinch-of-salt dept.
sarcastodon writes "Various sources such as GI.Biz are suggesting that detailed specifications of the upcoming Nintendo DS have been leaked. Surprising capabilities contained in the allegedly leaked Japanese-language document for the dual-screen handheld include 3D hardware acceleration, 802.11 wireless support, and the inclusion of a touch screen." However, GI.Biz notes: "Of course, a single leaked screenshot of a Japanese document doesn't constitute hard proof of any description, and this document should be taken with a pinch of salt - but if it is a forgery, it's a rather good one."
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Nintendo DS Full Specs Allegedly Leaked

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  • by Ayanami Rei (621112) * <rayanami AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 11, 2004 @01:06PM (#8532959) Journal
    Why don't I just throw out my palm? ... network, touchscreen, hi-res screen, it's got it all! They'd better make a PIM/PDA cart for it with web/email capabilities, or bundle it in the ROM. It'd be a shame not to.
    • by Ayaress (662020) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @01:11PM (#8533008) Journal
      I dunno. It kinda worries me. Sounds like they're shoving too much into it, which is what killed the appeal of the N-Gage for me. I'd just like a nice, small, cheap portable gaming system that I don't have to worry about dropping.

      There's just so many non-gaming features included, it sounds fishy to me. Nintendo's historically been about making gaming hardware, not all-in-one, everything-but-sheep-shears media stations.
      • by Ayaress (662020) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @01:14PM (#8533041) Journal
        (yeah, yeah, I know, replying to myself) All those non-gaming features could actually do things for games, unlike the stuff they put in the N-Gage for filler. I've never really thought much of multiplayer on gameboy systems, but now that I think of it, it wouldn't be half as bad as it is now if it were wireless. Of course, this goes against another thing about Nintendo's history: They usually make you buy the add-ons, and if it has wireless, they can't sell you the $15 link cable.
      • well, looks like I was slow with my comment :) I'm personally hoping that it is a primary gaming machine, with the extra functionality unlocked for use but not marketed. People should be buying it because they know it is a gaming machine, and be happy when they see "well, it can play mp3s, thats kind of nice"
  • by BlanketLord (753729) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @01:19PM (#8533088)
    It seems that there is quite a bit of negative views surrounding the DS from readers. In my opinion, the N-Gage's failure can be attributed to all the negative reviews it recieved. It was flamed in Penny Arcade, and other review sites rated it poorly. If it recieved opposite reviews, would it have been a success? Now we are getting a lot of press about the DS, but no product and some are already making judgements, mostly based on the fact that none of us have any idea on what exactly this device will do.
    I still have high faith in Nintendo; the Gameboy's proven success gives them a stronger foot that this potentially revolutionary product will succeed. I really am looking forward to seeing what this product really does though, as it has peaked my curiosity.
    • Other systems have gotten bad reviews and still suceeded in the long run. IIRC, the Xbox got mildly flamed on PA, and there was a lot of negative publicity around it before it came out. But look where it is now: It's beating Nintendo, which is a feat that should never be underestimated in the console market.
      • According to what estimates? World-wide the Gamecube is only trailing behind the PS2.
        • World wide, yes, but in the US, which is by far the Xbox's main market, it's got Nintendo beat. I think the last numbers I saw were 10 million to 5 million, but that's a few months old.
          • I found some end-of-2003 numbers here:
            http://print.pcvsconsole.com/?hank=549

            Which unfortunately do not come with a source. The numbers seem to be roughly in line with expectations, though.
          • by Rallion (711805) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @01:58PM (#8533604) Journal
            Uh...no. You misread those numbers. GameCube recently caught up to XBox in the US, and XBox has been pretty much a complete failure in Japan, selling under a million units IIRC.
          • I usually don't like jumping into these converstations. But here I am, defending Nintendo like a typical fanboy. Anyways, here is my point...

            Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are international companies. To only take a slice of the global market is nothing short of framing your data to put a positive spin on your position. The world wide numbers are the numbers that count.
          • The Gamecube lags the Xbox by 900k units in the US - that's not much. Worldwide it's outselling the Xbox - and yet a LOT (yes, a LOT) of Xboxes are only sold because they can be modified - something not possible on the Gamecube.

            (Don't start with the PSO hack, it's not really usable, and it's a long way from being as simple as an Xbox with a modchip where you can copy a rental game to the harddrive in minutes .. )

            All in all, the Xbox as a _games system_ is a failure. As a piracy system, it's doing quite we
            • Saying that the Xbox is a failure as a gaming system is just your unsubstantiated opinion.

              If they have sold fewer than Nintendo, that is okay. This is their first foray into consoles. My personal opinion, and that of many other Xbox owners I have talked to, is that it is a fantastic gaming system. The games are great, the graphics are great, and Live kicks a lot of ass.

              5 years ago if anyone had tried to predict that another maker would jump into the console business, and be neck-and-neck with Nintendo,
              • No, I'm the one who got IGN to rethink their sexistic remarks in that area [troed.se] [last comment]. I dislike a lot of anime/manga since I consider them quite "pedophilic".

                Anyway. Would you consider "Gamestation Q" to be a great success if Matsushita (a lot richer than Microsoft) took a portable computer, branded it "games console" and sold it at a loss so we could afford it? (It would thus sell quite well - why not - lots of bang for the buck).

                I'm not impressed by things that are given away :) The Xbox isn't more
              • From a business perspective, if you are taking a quarterly loss on something greater than the GDP of entire nations, it is a failure. Plain and simple.
              • Now of course- when I say 'the games are great' that is just my opinion. But an opinion shared by a LOT of people. We may not have games with young Japanese girls with short skirts, but I'm not really into that sort of thing. Are you?
                I could swear that the Dead or Alive series (including Extreme Beach Volleyball) were very big on the X-Box....
                • Go read Troed's website...the comment was aimed at him, and his efforts to get rid of sexist comments from IGN gaming magazine.
                  • Oh, sorry, I thought you were pointing out a deficiency in the X-Box line up. I don't think very many games can beat DOA in that regard.... I'm thinking about getting an X-box for DOA Online, [gamespy.com] actually. (Well, that and the SNK games that are coming to the platform SNK's Xbox Plans [gamerseurope.com] (which will also, natch, have teenage Japanese girls in shorts skirts.... ) SNK Forever!

                    I still have to think about it though...

          • World wide, yes, but in the US, which is by far the Xbox's main market, it's got Nintendo beat. I think the last numbers I saw were 10 million to 5 million, but that's a few months old.

            Yeah, but if you can pick and choose what you define as your main market pretty much anything can be market leader.

            I mean, for all I know the N-Gage might be the device of choice among 25 to 35 year old, college-educated, one legged, hump-back dwarfs. It's still getting it's ass-kicked in every other market.

            Lies, damn

    • What killed the N-gage is the look.

      I can't have a phone that looks like that and take myself seriously. How can others be expected to do the same.

      If they had a fairly good gaming setup and it looked like a proffessional phone. I would have baught one. But I am not holding a red taco up to my ear while wearing a suit. No way in hell.
    • by *weasel (174362) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @04:15PM (#8535429)
      Or... the NGage was just a bad product. It got flamed because it deserved to get flamed. It failed, because it deserved to fail.

      As a gaming system:
      . you have to remove the battery to change the game. wtf?

      . it cost more than 2x what a GBA SP did, even if you include the price of a seperate 3G phone.

      . it had very little developer support. (likely due lame SDK, bad design, pricing)

      As a phone:

      . it looked absurd. (taco-phone is a deserved critique)
      . it's friggin huge.
      . the button layout and centrally located screen made it awkward to hold and manipulate effectively one handed (common use for a phone).
      . battery life is unacceptably short, unless you never, or rarely, use it for gaming - which obviates its dual functionality and makes the added cost unjustifiable.

      The press around the DS revolves around legitimate concerns.

      . lack of perceived purpose for a second screen
      . effect of 2 backlit screens on battery life
      . resultant unit pricing from added screen, necessitated battery
      . lack of certainty on backwards compat.

      Any handheld that Nintendo announces, but won't confirm backwards compatibility for, is going to be met with heavy skepticism imo. If the DS truly isn't meant to be a successor to the GBA SP -- then what market could they possibly be aiming at? Why have 2 incompatible handheld products? Particularly when facing Sony's PSP, which will be its first legitimate challenge in the mobile arena in years.

      The sketchy details, the possibility of no backwards compat and the lack of consumer demand for its key feature (the second screen) are valid concerns.

      The notable failure of the pseudo-portable Virtual Boy is still rightly fresh in the minds of consumers and investors when they see a 'potentially revolutionary' functionality that no-one has really been asking for. Nintendo's strength and first party developers/licenses cannot make a success out of a bad product.
    • you are an idiot.

      "If it received [positive] reviews, would [the N-Gage] be a success"

      ?!?!?! even as a rhetorical question that is stupid. if it received positive reviews, IT WOULD BE A GOOD PRODUCT, AND IT *SHOULD* BE A SUCCESS.

      the N-Gage is NOT a good product, THUS it got poor reviews AND failed. the only implication here is quality of product.
  • by meanfriend (704312) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @01:20PM (#8533094)
    The most intriguing thing to me is how the two screens will be arranged and utilized.

    According to the second article, it has two screens of 256x192 pixels each (which is slightly higher resolution than the GBA screen)

    So will it two equal sized screens? Will they go with a clamshell device like the GBA with a smaller screen in the base (between the controls) and a larger screen in the flip-top part?

    And I'm also wondering what compromises they'll have to make on the physical dimensions and battery life in implementing dual screens in a portable.

    I've never owned a handheld gaming system before (blackjack on my cell phone doesnt count), but if the dual screens leads to be a real gameplay innovation and not just a novelty that many games fail to take full advantage of, then I could be convinced to buy one of these...
    • by Ayaress (662020) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @01:25PM (#8533167) Journal
      I personally hope they go with the different sized screens like you mentioned. It'll probably be underused by games, but I can think of one major use for the second screen: Menus in RPGs. The text boxes in most console-style RPGs get in the way, and scrolling through the box for a spell usually blocks the action on-screen (which really sucks for those RPGs where the enemy keeps attacking while you're in the menu. FF:CC uses the GBA screen for each character's menu in multiplayer, which aside from being a potentially prohibitive barrier to multiplayer, is a very good thing, since with some practice, you can move through the menus while still keeping track of the action on screen.
    • It was confirmed around the time it was originally announced, that the screens would be stacked one above the other.

      Going on that, and nothing much else, I sketched up a design: http://www.yorrike.com/graphics/nds-sketch.jpg [yorrike.com].

      If the spec sheet is to be believed, I've put too many buttons on my design. Please excuse that and my inability to draw.

  • Has there been any information on how many of the screens will be lit? I would hope Nintendo has learned its lesson and would now consider this such an indispensable feature that it's a given thing on any future handheld. Or maybe lit screens will just be left for the "Nitro SP" released in 2006?
  • by mowph (642278) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @01:38PM (#8533335)
    Here are a few things that I noticed have been left off or missed by the translation on the article [cube-europe.com].

    Processor:

    • There are unreadably small words between "Cache:" and "8Kb", as well as "TCM:" and "32Kb" which have been ignored by the translation. They probably refer to two separate types of cache under each category.

    Memory:

    • Main memory: 8MB on debugging version (developer model?)

    LCD:

    • Colour: R:G:B = 6:6:6 (referring perhaps to 6 bits of information for each color channel per pixel?)

    Sound:

    • Up to 8 channels may be assigned for PSG. (I don't know what that is. Anyone?)

    Input Device:

    • "Cross", a translation of "juu-ji kii", refers to what is commonly known as a direction-pad (similar to the four-way controller on most Nintendo gamepads)

    Electric Power Control:

    • Wake-up can also be timed.
    • The "uknown" engine is the geometry engine.
    • I think PSG stands for "programmable sound generator", the Sega Genesis had one, as well as FM.
      • I think you're right about the meaning of the acronym 'PSG' but I don't think it is the same as the one in the Genesis, it is probably just a generic term for their sound chip. Playing digital samples on the Genesis PSG was a pain.
        • Why the hell would you feed samples to the PSG, when the 2612 has a perfectly decent DAC built in?
          • Maybe up to eight of the channels can be used for some simple FM-synth-like procedural waves, instead of just sample playback. That could be good, allowing for complex texture-enhancing stuff like pulse sweeps and other things that are a pain in the butt if using only raw samples. Of course, that would be a pain to program for, but it could be so worth it....

            Just speculation.
          • Ah, but I am talking about the Genesis PSG which you had to read a timer (not interrupt) in the Z80 to know when to put the next sample byte into the digital sound channel. Ever done a multiplication function with a timer check in it?
            • My point is, the DAC has nothing to do with the PSG. The DAC is on the FM part, the Yamaha YM2612. I know that the DAC timing is soft, and must be handled by the code.
    • by moronga (323123) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @02:10PM (#8533740)
      There are unreadably small words between "Cache:" and "8Kb", as well as "TCM:" and "32Kb" which have been ignored by the translation. They probably refer to two separate types of cache under each category.

      The word there is "meirei," which means "command" or "order." Does that make sense in that context? I'm not a hardware person. :P
  • by cgenman (325138)
    Nintendo needs to stop deluding itself. Saying "it's not a competitor to the GBA" a million times doesn't make it any less of a competitor to the GBA. You're talking about a standalone system with good specs and built-in screens. What are you supposed to do with the thing... leave it on a table? Strap it to your face? We all know it's competing with the GBA and the PSP, and on that note alone its release is questionable.

    Sadly, it looks like this too won't be an adequate GameTessaract controller, as it
    • I was under the impression that the PSP was going to be over $300. I've read from reasonable sources maybe even as much as $400. But yeah If had to guess on the DS price i'd say between 125-175. Or about twice as much as a GBA.
      • My guess is that sony are leaving the pre-launch estimations high, so as to ship at 250-300 to acclaim rather than derision. At the next available holiday break, it will drop by 50, and stay there for a good chunk of its life.

        I think they can hit that mark. While people have estimated that it can roughly play PS2 games, remember that it is doing so on a display device with a much lower resolution. And unlike Nintendo or Microsoft, Sony owns most of what goes into their systems from the design to the fab
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Actually the GBA has dropped in price. It launched at $100, and immediately dropped to $90 from stores' competition. It's now down around $70, though some of that is because of the SP.
        • I believe that the Sony Europe president (or some high-up) said that the PSP will be "closer to 200 than 300" -- which, obviously, means 249.99.

          However, that's 250 Pounds. And 250.00 GBP = 449.221 USD so... yeah. I don't think a $400 price point is out of the question. When you consider, also, that Sony wants to make this into an all-in-one platform rather than a game system, the price isn't so far-fetched.
    • What are you supposed to do with the thing... Strap it to your face?

      Well, of course. That kind of goes without saying.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Nintendo needs to stop deluding itself. Saying "it's not a competitor to the GBA" a million times doesn't make it any less of a competitor to the GBA.

      I think you're wrong. With a touch screen, 3D graphics, larger or two screen version, wireless capability, etc, this could be GBAs older more refined PDA cousin. With the possibility of PDA characteristics with a simple drop in cartridge (or built in), plus possible backwards compatability with the GBA games, you have a more expensive machine that may have

    • Ok, when did the moderators find the stash and is there any left?

    • If this handheld is to compete with the PSP, it has to hit the target price sweet spot.

      The DS isn't being made to compete with the PSP. Nintendo is working on a "Next Gen" handhold that will be competing with the PSP. There's no way the DS would be able to compete with PSP and Nintendo knows this. DS is more of a quirky little handheld that probably won't do great but could be a neat little toy for the more hardcore gamers out there. The GBA2 or whatever it'll be called will be Nintendo's answer to the PS

  • by Sangloth (664575) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (ednaPxaM)> on Thursday March 11, 2004 @01:43PM (#8533407)
    I used to work with touchscreen videogames at my old job. While touchscreens do have some advantages for an arcade machine...

    1. Simple to understand
    2. Difficult to vandalize.

    those advantages don't mean anything for portable machines, and they have some fairly severe disadvantages...

    1. While using a touchscreen, your fingers will obscure what you are seeing on the screen, especially for the small portable screen.
    2. Touchscreen's are weaker then a macintosh mouse. You can only click, it's difficult to drag an object, or anything other then just click on the screen. Your hands could accomplish more on the controller. That way you could hit multiple buttons, instead of just clicking.

    Besides, imagine playing an action game, and moving your hand from the buttons to the screen, and back to the buttons. It wouldn't work in an action game, and you can do menu selection faster using the buttons. I'm all for innovation, but this is going to be a gimmick.

    Sangloth
    I appreciate any comment with a logical basis...it doesn't even have to agree with me.
    • I am wondering if the touchscreen is replacing the controller. What if the second screen were where the buttons and d-pad are, and each game could customize not just the reaction to certain buttons pressed, but number and placement of those buttons?

      It would probably suck, but it is still an interesting thought.
    • If these specs are to be believed, you have nothing to worry about. Nintendo isn't going to replace the standard cross pad and buttons with the touchscreen- rather, it'll augment it. I don't think there are many places that a touch screen would make sense in the kind of games I play- but there are some that would benefit from a touch screen.

      Also, it opens the way to input. Perhaps this thing will be a PDA + gaming machine... The specs sure point to something like that.
    • I think the use for the touchscreen will be for picking things in an inventory or getting information about an area of a map, for example in a zelda like game you could choose your action item by touching it instead of cycling through your choices, or in a strategy game you could get stats for a building by touching it on the map. It will most probably not have anything to do with arcade games for the less gifted or more violent.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Besides, imagine playing an action game, and moving your hand from the buttons to the screen, and back to the buttons. It wouldn't work in an action game, and you can do menu selection faster using the buttons. I'm all for innovation, but this is going to be a gimmick.

      I agreee. An 3d action game wouldn't work... But imagine have the RTS Warcraft II on the Nitro. You can now drag and select multiple units and direct them to a specific area on the map that you can see on the other screen. Buttons can be

  • Layout predictions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nukem1999 (142700) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @02:03PM (#8533655)
    I believe that Nintendo has previously confirmed that the two screens will be next to each other, and can be used as one. This pretty much means that it's going to be layed out GB/GBC/GBASP style, with the controls below the screens, and not GBA classic style, with the screen between the controls, which would give it a really funky form factor that nobody would want to hold. Assuming this has been confirmed, there is almost no way that one of the screens will be touch sensitive, since you'd have to move one hand to reach a screen. However, with the two screens side by side, to make a rectangular clamshell form factor, there would be space in between the standard button sets, perfect for a standard touchpad.

    Now let's think about this. Nintendo only really started doing 3d with the N64, when they introduced an analog stick to the controller. It's quite difficult to play a true 3d game with only a digital pad. However, you can't throw a stick on a handheld unit, it'll break off leaving many-a-user pissed. So the touchpad is probably going to be a replacement for the analog stick.

    Basically I got all this from the premise that both screens are going to be next to each other, so in any case I'm almost definitely wrong, but speculation is fun!
    • You're wrong (Score:3, Informative)

      by M3wThr33 (310489)
      Nope, Nintendo has already stated they are VERTICALLY stacked.
      • So, it's probably going to be styled like a normal GBA with an SP style clamshell above the center screen(possibly more in the top half, seems like that would thicken the unit too much...). And, if these specs are correct then that bottom/middle screen would be the touchscreen.

        Lots of potential, let's see if they can do anything with it. :-P
    • by RedCard (302122) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @02:48PM (#8534146)
      No, I believe Nintendo said that they're going to be vertically stacked... ...if that is the case, I'd like to see a layout like the Danger hiptop [google.com] where the touchscreen is on top, for palm-pilot like use, or for games that only require one screen.

      The second screen could be hidden under the first, with the top screen swivelling up and 180 degrees for two-screened games. This also means that the second screen could be used as an option, not all games would have to incorporate it, and it would be hidden and protected when not in use.

      I don't see a touchpad as a replacement for an analog stick, though. Touchpads/screens STINK when used as controllers. I think it's more likely that an analog controller will take the form of a standard crosskey that responds to how hard you press. It's also possible to make a (recessed) analog control ball, instead of a stick. The old sega saturn analog controllers had these, and they were almost impossible to break.
    • The Neo Geo Pocket had a thumbstick. It rocked. And Clicked, but thats another matter...
  • Oops, small mistake. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AzraelKans (697974)
    EDIT:
    We just realized, the guys who got the "leaked" document, didn't read japanese very well at all. The documents are not entitled "DS design specs" but "N-Gage design specs" their Comment: "Seriously, that first Kanji kind of looked like "DS" if you look at it from this angle." Moderator note:"there's no such thing as a "DS" kanji you moron!"

    --Seriously. Nintendo has stated like a 1000 times their best card against the PSP wont be technology but price, how could anyone with a realistic mind believ
  • by cyrax777 (633996) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @03:20PM (#8534539) Homepage
    with the GB series then Ninento will slaughter Sony just like how they slaughtered every other handheld thats come out. Same with Sony and ps3 if ps3 is compatible with the early PS series they will continue to dominate the market. Both Companys have shown supirer tech doesnt = owning the market Compare Phantasy star 1 for master system to Final Fantasy 1 for NES. The Master system was a supieor system tech wise but nintendo slaughtered genesis. also I think if Sony hadnt made ps2 backwords compatable with ps1 therefore giving them a huge advantage in number of games avalible to there system Nintendo might have had a chance of retaking over the console market oncd agien.
  • Let me see how much time it takes for nintendo to denny this specs are real. Any bets?
  • This seems to be a nice chunk of hardware to develop applications on. The 802.11 provides for easier connectivity, and the two ARM processors could provide quite some power for a handheld. Just look back at the original psone, and N64 specs. It looks good when comparing them on paper. Even though this is just speculation at this point.

    psone
    CPU 32-bit
    CPU Speed 33.8688... MHz
    RAM 2 MB
    Video RAM 1 MB

    n64
    Processors:
    CPU: 64 bit Risc
    CPU Speed, (R4300I series) 93.75 MHz
    Graphics CPU 64-bit MIPS Risc Co-process
  • By posting this, I must waive my right to EVER again make fun of Apple users. Oh well....

    Sharp a while back developed a way to display stereo 3D images by placing a "switching" LCD (which acts as a parralax barrier) on top of a conventional LCD. They used this tech to make a 3D notebook(very good for government and corporate R&D, the flaws inherant in this system would actually be a good thing).

    Flaws in the system: you have to be looking straight at it, the optimal viewing range is 40cm[1.3 feet](othe

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