What the DS 2 might be like

There’s a lot of speculation going around about Nintendo’s follow up to the Nintendo DS. While I’m kind of thinking we won’t see anything this year in regards to a hardware release, it’s about time that Nintendo starts getting people filled in on what we can expect from their next handheld. Below are some of the rumors surrounding the handheld:

  • Will have dual screens again (obviously)
  • Will carry over compatibility with current DS lineup
  • Will have a capacitive touchscreen
  • Touch screen will support multi touch
  • Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chip or a custom variant of it is rumored to be part of the hardware
  • Will have a built in tilt sensor
  • Analog control present in some form

Now, all of these are rumors, some of them more solid than others, but let’s think about what sort of device these rumors would add up to. From a power standpoint, the DS would be a huge leap forward. The graphical prowess of the machine would put it noticeably ahead of the PSP, but it would still run efficiently in regards to power consumption, so this seems like something Nintendo would be open to. Here’s a demo of what the Tegra 2 chip is capable of.

The multi touch and tilt support would allow the game library to just explode, because iPhone/iPad developers could port their projects up to the DS 2 platform. All of a sudden the emergence of the iPhone gaming market benefits Nintendo in a roundabout way. Developers like PopCap and ngmoco would jump at the chance to dramatically increase the sales of their games with minimal effort assuming Nintendo opens up the DSi Ware release scheduling. The dual screens mean that many of the simple games would still remain DS exclusive, however.

The analog control input is one of the more loose rumors at this point, but if Nintendo can pull it off (especially if they integrate dual analog), this handheld will have the potential to lock in pretty much every type of gamer to the platform. FPS games are almost always the weakest genre on handhelds in comparison to how they perform on consoles. Getting true analog controls would go a very long way toward closing that gap and would eliminate the need to have one screen continually obscured for making use of the touch screen for aiming.

To me, none of these rumors seem too wild to believe, although Nintendo has a knack for surprising people who had prior expectations. We’ll most likely get the answers we want at GDC, but until then speculation is all we have. I for one am quite excited to see if this all pans out, especially the Tegra 2 rumor.

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