Team 17 boss cautious of new DSi features
Low quality screen may not be able to compete with high-end gadgets; SD card slot to open up further piracy on system?
Although acknowledging the improved evolution of Nintendo's DS series, Team 17 studio director Martyn Brown has told GamesIndustry.biz that he's cautious of the new features of the DSi model.
Nintendo unveiled the new console today, with new features that include a camera, built-in web browser and an SD card slot to enable users to purchase content and download directly to the hardware.
However, it's exactly these additions that have worried the veteran developer of DS hit Worms: Open Warfare.
"Adding an SD slot makes a bunch of sense for downloadable content given the way things are going," offered Brown. "I just hope they've done something to counter the mass piracy that exists via the R4 on the Lite. It scares me that with an SD card input, that might leave it even wider open that it was on the original device," added.
Brown would also like to see online shopping for DSiWare improved over Nintendo's current WiiWare interface, and a more sensible approach to storage on the handheld - as Nintendo has now promised to do with the Wii console.
"I think the SD storage and downloadable content will help tremendously although I hope it's a better experience that the Wii's online store and system," he said.
"I have a lot of affection for the DS Lite as a device and given it's an iterative improvement, bigger screen, lighter, it would appear to make sense - even if it's not got me chomping at the bit to rush out and grab one."
Admitting that some of his reservations can only be put to the test once the device is in the hands of users and developers, Brown was still cautious of adding so many features to a console, and that it could come up short when compared to other electronic gadgets.
"I'm sure that the photo option will be good fun for kids, but I think that's straying into phone territory and since it's 0.3 megapixels, it's hardly setting the world on fire.
"I'm sure the device will have a wider appeal, but most people I know who have a DS Lite tend to already have a phone and MP3 player with similar functions. Many manufacturers tend to be chasing the nirvana of having 'one device to rule them all' and I'm not sure that the DS's screen resolution - and camera resolution - puts it into an area where it can compete, say, for web-browsing."
Although Nintendo has been widely credited with opening gaming up to new audiences, the DSi may not entice new consumers, noted Brown.
"This is pretty hypothetical until I've seen the device for myself. I'm not sure if it will reach new gamers since all the new features have been present in other devices, if not a gaming device, for a while now," he added.
"Still, looking back at the launch device, the original DS, it's come a long, long way."