Nintendo DS Wants to Augmented your Reality

Rumors about a new device that could enter the Augmented Reality game were confirmed yesterday by Nikkei Net. Wired revealed it to the rest of us – thank you very much. The new Nintendo DS model will launch this year in Japan.

What’s all the rage?

One of the most popular mobile game devices ever, now with a camera, better wireless capabilities, and a larger display – all packaged under $200?

Sounds like a killer augmented reality device to me.

Game devices such as the DS made it to the #6 spot on my “10 Best Augmented Reality Devices” review:

“But here’s the caveat: PSP and the DS need to be complemented with accessories such as camera, as well as accelerometers, positioning and ubiquitous connectivity capabilities – to be able to play in this game.”

Well, Nintendo is racing forward towards the fifth position (MIDs), leaving Sony in the rear view mirror.

Nikkei does point out that the camera function of DS could be integrated with gameplay, by allowing games to use the photos taken with the hardware.

Here’s your confirmation. Augmented Reality applications can be built for the next DS. Who’s going to take up the challenge?

On a related note, Gizmondo is serious about making a come back; like the phoenix, it’s rising from the ashes and promises to hit the stores this Winter.

It’s going to be a hot winter.

9 Responses

  1. I’m really keen on Nintendo getting into AR.
    It makes sense;
    The Gizmondo… all accounts a failed system….is still the most widely used individual gadget for AR.

    The potential for a (decently run) company with (probably) no connections to the mafia releasing a small cheap AR device is quite big.
    Not to mention, it fits Nintendos current goals of expanding the gaming audience by giving new experiences.

    Sony, of course, is already dabbling with AR with the Eyetoy stuff, so I wouldn’t be surprised any move by Nintendo will be quickly followed by them.
    And as soon as those two enter the market, I think the AR avalanche will start.

    What makes me skeptical, however, is I dont think Nintendo will want to split the current DS market.
    Releasing a revised model is one thing, but having games require a feature of a revised model will limit those games to just the new buyers, rather then the existing 10-million strong userbase.

    For that reason I think any new camera will probably not be used for AR use’s. (at least, not officialy).

    The Next-gen portable from Nintendo however, I fully expect to have a camera, as well as wiimote style sensors.
    It would also need a bit more processing power. The DS has got more then its often giving credit for, but it really needs to be a bit more biffy to do full AR.

  2. I am also really excited by this; anything that pushes handheld AR will be a good thing for those of us currently engaged in it (and it’ll give my students more job opportunities!).

    I share your concern about the marketing issues, though. Sony introduced a camera for the PSP (I have one, courtesy of Ebay), but it never went anywhere.

    There is also the practical issue of creating “good handheld AR games” that are practical for mass marketing and consumption. The DS/PSP/Gizmondo aren’t powerful enough to do “real computer vision” (like the PS3 could do), and so some sort of physical props (e.g., cards with markers on them) will be needed. As soon as your start requiring props, that makes the games less portable … a conundrum to be sure.

    Hopefully, some of the students in the “handheld AR game design” class I’m doing at GT right now (in collaboration with a class at SCAD Atlanta) will come up with some compelling examples and help drive interest!

  3. […] about a new Nintendo DS possibly having a camera and other support for creating AR games. Ori also comments on […]

  4. Blair MacIntyre – Well, be sure to post any examples! Here or in your own blog.
    (Weird how the net works, I get a google-alert, post in your blog a reply, then you come here and repost this as its relivent to this post…and then I post a reply to that…..all the while I dont really know you at all..)

  5. Yes, it is amusing. Feel free to drop me a note directly at my email ( if you’d like to chat more.

    Once our class gets further along, we’ll start posting videos and examples of the game designs on the class web site. I’ll post links when we do!

  6. […] were excited when it was announced in September, and thought it could energize the augmented reality games scene. So, here it is, not just with one […]

  7. Nintendo DSi doesn’t come with a camera and I think its good it doesn’t they should stick to the fact that its a gaming machine and focus on it rather than making it more compatible for other features like PSP.

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