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Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

Nintendo to Counter PSP Media Features 81

docdude316 writes "Gamespot is reporting that Nintendo has just announced a new media player add-on which is compatible with the Game Boy Advance SP and the Nintendo DS. The media player will let both the GBA SP and the DS play MPEG-4 and MP3 files off of a SD card. It will retail for 5,000 yen ($48 US), and will only be available off of Nintendo's website. There are currently no plans for a North American or European release."
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Nintendo to Counter PSP Media Features

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  • Any GBA junkies out there have any idea why this would only work on the SP? What's the difference in hardware between it and the regular GBA?
    • It should work fine on the DS in "GBA mode". Since each DS screen is slightly larger than on the GBA, any videos you watch will have a black border. Unless Nintendo goes out of their way to prevent it from working...
      • There is no difference in hardware between GBA and GBA SP, AFAIK. So this add-on should work on original GBAs as well... you'll just have to sit near a lamp to see it.

        More than likely, the article references GBA SP because that's the only version currently in production and still sells like crazy.

      • Games running in GBA mode on the DS have no idea that they are on a DS, its run within a special enviroment. Or at least as far as everyone knows, I guess the big N coulda snuck a register in RAM for if it was a DS or not, but why bother lol. Anyways, the article says it would work on the DS, the parent was wondering about if it would work on the GBA since it works on the SP. I'd say the answer is yes, the reason SP was said was pretty much everyones started refering to the GBA/SP as SP only for ease of use
        • The hackers working on the wifi and reverse engineering the cart system found one bit of difference in the BIOS, allowing them to actually tell if the system is a DS or GBA by doing a simple bios check.
        • A bit on the end of the rom image is different on the DS, therefore, it is possible for GBA software to detect that they are on a DS.
        • Didn't Nintendo say that some upcoming GBA games were going to take advantage of the wireless capability of the DS in addition to using the GBA SP cable link?
      • Re:SP only? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Headcase88 ( 828620 )
        It runs on both GBA SP and DS. The question is: why it won't work on the orginal GBA?
    • perhaps battery life. If you think it now has backlit screen and isn't the SP rechargeable? Or was that another system?
    • Where do you get the SP Only bit from? Both the summary and the article state that it works with both the SP and the DS.
      • by Palshife ( 60519 )
        Play-yan will run on the GBA SP, but it won't be compliant with the standard GBA.

        It's compliant with the DS and the SP. It's not compliant with the regular GBA.
    • I'm fairly certain I read somewhere that the GBA SP has a slightly faster processor than the GBA. I don't know what the clock speed difference is, but it is supposed to be there. There could also be a difference in transfer rates on the card slot.

      • Re:SP only? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gauauu ( 649169 )
        Nope. GBA and GBA SP have the same hardware internals.

        GBA - 32 bit ARM7 16.7 Mhz processor
        GBA SP - 32 bit ARM7 16.7 Mhz processor

        The SP has some changes like the rechargeable battery, backlight, no built-in-headphone jack (!?), but as far as functionality, they are the exact same.

        As a programmer, you can't even detect which platform the game is running on. (which would be nice, because it would be great to be able to adjust the screen coloring based on whether there is a backlight present). Some co
    • Re:SP only? (Score:2, Interesting)

      I think its less a technical issue and more of a marketing one. By makeing the SP or DS a requirment, it will drive sales of the new units, rather than having people stick with their regular GBA's.
    • This a great question. The article spells out that it only works with the SP. I don't understand why the GBA wouldn't be "compatible."
    • Re:SP only? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
      "What's the difference in hardware between it and the regular GBA?"

      One is selling better than the other. It probably runs fine on the ordinary GBA, they probably just threw in the "SP" part because they could.

      The only way this wouldn't work on a GBA is if it required a dongle that plugged into the SP's and DS's multi-port (power, sound, and whatever the hell else that port can do).
    • My guess is that it has a weird form factor, and wouldn't fit in an original GBA.
  • by Alaren ( 682568 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @06:53PM (#11110206)

    I like this idea, though more for the GBA SP than the DS. I mean, think about it this way:

    GBA : $80
    "Play-yan" : $50
    512 MB SD Card: $50
    SD Card Reader: $15
    Total Cost: $195--and it plays movies, games, and music.

    512MB Flash MP3 Player: $150

    So unless import premiums get too high, or you already own a portable media player of some kind, this isn't a bad deal at all. I kind of wonder how that little GBA screen can really "compete" with the PSP's aspect ratio, but anyone who's watched the intro to Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories can attest to the fact that the GBA screen is pretty versatile.

    I say, bring it to the states!

    Oh, yeah, and since this is Slashdot, "Make it support Ogg Vorbis!" (^_~)

  • Pre-load it with some pr0n, the "Nintendo Pr0n-boy" is born. Sell it in sex shops and truck stops, and reap the profits of portable perversion. Japan will jump on it and so will America, give me some credit for it if you are listening Nintendo! :D
  • The hand held market now seems to be large enough to support both a high end and a low end hand held devices simutaneously. The GBA-SP being the low end at $80 and the DS and PSP both being high end devices priced at $150+.

    The PSP was supposed to have the upper hand in the high end market, by having music and movie playback. Now we see Nintendo releasing the Play-yan. Not only does it let the DS play back movies and mp3s, but it also brings these features to the lower end market. Thus, stealing seri
    • You haven't seen the PSP screen in person have you? The size and the colors and resolution it can display are very impressive for a handheld.



      Top Screen: A backlit, 3-inch, semitransparent reflective TFT color LCD with 256 x 192 pixel resolution and .24 mm dot pitch, capable of displaying 260,000 colors

      Touch Screen: Same specs as top screen, but with a transparent analog touch screen


      PSP features a 16:9 widescreen TFT LCD that displays full color (16.77 million colors) on a 480 x 272 pixel

      • I already said that the PSP has the better screen and graphics.

        As for Nintendo's counter... It means they came up with an mp3/movie solution that works for both the DS and the SP. If you like it, great, buy it. If not, don't.

        It's only going to be a couple years before portable media players are common place anyways. The media playback functionality of the PSP is only going to be really relevant for a couple of years. Portable movie devices aren't nearly as big a deal as music. Can't watch a movi
    • Of course, the PSP still lacks the touch screen, so the DS has that edge. I don't believe the PSP has a mic either, but I'm not positive. I know the PSP can't touch the DS with a 10 foot pole with regards to loading time. It takes the DS roughly 1 second to boot, and the game starts immediately. The PSP takes roughly 20 seconds to boot, and then several more seconds to load the game after that. It seems the only place PSP is superior is screen size and the resolution of its one screen, though the DS's
  • by Rayonic ( 462789 ) on Thursday December 16, 2004 @07:07PM (#11110330) Homepage Journal
    Very similar devices already exist for the GBA. This one [], for instance, does movies, music, ebooks, pictures, and even old famicom games.

    All that and its cheaper too. (No, this is not a product endorsement.)
    • I have one of those, works great. I bought it for my kid, takes about 4 hours to turn a 30 minute TV show into a 200mb file that it can play.

      Also you can "trick" this device into playing Gameboy games as well as NES games. The NES emulation leaves a lot to be desired though since you can only load roms up to 192k and you can't save... but most roms 192k or less have passwords anyway.

      If you want to do this for real though get a Flash2Advance card, then you can do all KINDS of neat GBA tricks.
      • I haven't thoroughly tested this, but the long encoding time might be because your source video has higher resolution and it needs to be scaled down. I pre-scaled some videos using VirtualDub and saved them using a lossless codec, then converted those files, it took a lot less than when I directly converted the high resolution videos. And the scaling algoruthm was a lot better in VirtualDub.

        You can get rid of the extra temporary files by using Avisynth. You will still get higher quality scaling than with t
      • F2A vs. EFA (Score:3, Informative)

        by tepples ( 727027 )

        If you want to do this for real though get a Flash2Advance card, then you can do all KINDS of neat GBA tricks.

        I agree, and I've written a couple tricks [] myself. But don't get the F2A if you have a Nintendo DS, as writing to the F2A requires using the link port on a GBA or GBA SP, which the DS lacks. Get the EFA Extreme Flash Advance ( sells it) instead, as it is written through a connector on the cart itself.

    • It should be mentioned that the player you linked [] ALSO works on the nintendo ds!
    • The differences, though:
      • the one from lik sang uses CF, not SD (in my mind, that's a point for the lik sang one since I already have CF cards)
      • the one from lik sang requires you to re-save your movies and music to their format, which apparently is pretty shitty. the nintendo one says it'll play Mpeg 4 and MP3, excellent formats.
      • The movie format isn't DVD quality, but it is "good enough." The shittiest part is the long conversion time, but that could be due to the converter software's crappy scaling algorithms, like I said in a previous post.

        Movies take about 3 times their playing time to convert, but converting a standard-length mp3 to "GBS" takes only about 2-3 seconds. My machine is a Athlon XP 2000+ with 1GB memory. When I pre-scaled the movies, they took less than their playing time to convert, by about 1/10.

        I have to look i
    • Is Lik Sang fully legit now? I thought they were taken down for modchips a few years ago.
  • The GBA has been able to play video for quite some time already, as noted myah: []

    I think this is primarily just a way for people to watch their own video and listen to their own music on their Gameboys. There are tons of accessories already available that greatly expand the GBA's functionality, so I don't see how this could be the harbinger of "me, too!" think from Nintendo. I mean, how long did it take them to ditch carts in favor of optical media?

    • Indeed. Nintendo have even been selling video on the GBA for some time. This move seems to have little to do with the PSP/Gizmondo/etc - nobody is going to buy a GBA or DS for the primary purpose of watching video on the low-ish res screen. It's a nice bonus feature, not a serious attempt to turn the GBA into a media centre.
    • The GBA has been able to play video for quite some time already

      Where can I get, say, Friends on GBA Video? No wait, I can't because Majesco's GBA Video line is all animated series designed for children. Something that takes SD or CF cards would prove more useful.

    • and for kids there have been gobs of cartoons available on carts for around 9 bucks that work on the GBA. Kind of like that lame "video now" device but better, cheaper and certianly better video quality.
  • I think this will be a great oppertounity for those homebrew devs out there. There must be some way to get this thing to launch an app or something. Before you know it we'll have Firefox ported to the DS and AIM.
  • it should also be added that since its GBA compatible you wont get any extra DS hardware features such as dual screen support, which is a shame. It would be nice to have the video play on the top screen with file and media controls on the bottom. so i suppose this is best for GBA, DS people will have to settle for single screen mode and low resolution borders.
    • You might be able to. When flash carts are inserted into the DS it says "A DS Option pack is inserted" where it normally says "Play GBA Game." The DS may be able to take advantage of this if Nintendo makes the DS see it as an "option pack."
  • DS Net? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mwielgosz ( 838127 ) < minus city> on Thursday December 16, 2004 @07:57PM (#11110847)
    Since the DS has wireless long until we see internet capabilies and browser software on this thing? Sure the screen is a bit small for a page to look correct, but it would be suitable able to read news articles or messageboards on it. I guess you could use a text only browser line lynx to make it readable for blogs/news. Maybe even a POP3 email client for on the go email? The touchscreen would make a good way to emulate mouse input. With some cities planning free wireless hotspots, could this be a reality?

    Is this even possible on the DS or am I way out there on this one?
    I know that this would be the number one selling point for me if this became reality. It would be really convient to have a device that had the great gaming library from Nintendo, music, movies, and slashdot.

    • It's easily possible. The way I understand it, Nintendo uses a standard 802.11b design for layers 1 and 2 as the specification allows. Layers 3 on down are all up to the programmer, so it IS possible to make a TCP/IP stack. Nintendo just chose to use a proprietary non-routable protocol for the existing games that are using the wireless (and Pictochat, for that matter).
    • Re:DS Net? (Score:2, Interesting)

      "Is this even possible on the DS or am I way out there on this one?"

      It's quite possible, and in fact, internet browsing software is already in development []. ;)
    • Actually, I think the wireless would be great for streaming audio and video. Just load some software onto your pc and then stream media files from your desktop.
      • Riiiiight....why? If you have a computer to watch that on, why not use your MONITOR? Honestly, that seems pretty useless.
  • ASF (aka WMV) container format is patented by MS, so MS is probably happy about this. I wonder why Nintendo didn't go with avi format. Far as I'm aware it's not patented. Though I guess they'd have to pay money to the MPEG consortium in any case, unless they went with theora which is currently out of the question. It just seems strange for Nintendo to willing pay money to a competitor in a market place where said competitor isn't doing great if they could avoid it. Anyone have a clue why they went with
  • If there's no plans to release in the US or EU there's going to be a feature-gap between DS and PSP still.
    When we finally get the PSP, that is. Eventually...

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson