When you need to come up with something new, a good starting point is to take what you’ve got and make it either bigger or smaller — most things in the world of technology seem to go that way (see TV’s for bigger, and mobile phones for smaller) and now the Nintendo DS has followed suit with the Nintendo DSi LL (XL), not long after we wrote about the rumours of a new Nintendo handheld gaming system in development.
The DSi LL is essentially the larger brother of the Nintendo DSi as it is exactly the same machine but 30% bigger, which interestingly gives it two 4.25” screens both of which are bigger than the PSP-3000’s measly 4” one. But why would Nintendo want to do this? Surely the future is in the miniature?
Well maybe not. Probably the biggest rising genre in gaming of the last few years has been the ‘casual’ one, and Nintendo has played no small part in that with both the Wii and the DS (and its successors) far exceeding expectations and highlighting the advantages of casual gaming and bringing it to the masses; this has resulted in a whole different age demographic being introduced to gaming and it is them that the Nintendo DSi LL will be aimed at.
In case you hadn’t already worked it out this is the older generation (although arguably [and slightly worryingly] the really young would also benefit) who have been attracted to and then hooked on the wealth of casual and educational games (Brain Training springs to mind [no pun intended]) and now continue to play and buy…
But, and I am trying very hard not to make gross generalisations, for a generation that struggles with sight, sound and small fiddly things small gaming consoles are hardly ideal and that is why the DSi LL, the fourth version of console in as many years, has been released.
Currently only available in Japan it will be coming across to Europe sometime at the beginning of next year where presumably it will be renamed to the DSi XL (which I’m assured is equivalent to the LL used in Japan) and will be available in three colours: Wine Red, Dark Brown and Natural White. Note that colours such as ‘Baby Blue’, ‘Lime Green’ and ‘Horribly Garish Pink’ are not included — probably as they are more favoured by the younger amongst us and are more likely to put off older people rather than attract them.
Other attractions (other than the bigger screen and form) include the introduction of another more ‘easy to hold’ stylus shaped like a rounded pen and, errr…not a lot. Oddly enough they haven’t made the buttons any bigger, there is just more space between them which seems a bit wasteful in my opinion especially considering the target market are likely to want buttons of the bigger variety.
Unfortunately however I really don’t think this will be that much of a success. Whilst I’m more than happy to be proved wrong I think that Nintendo have overestimated the number of grandparents that will go out and buy one of these, and I think that any younger people who would buy it for their older friends or relatives will have already done so.
Furthermore I think the Nintendo DSi XL will appeal to the wider market will be pretty much nonexistent, as not only will the price be higher but the console won’t be as ‘pocket friendly’, it won’t look quite as nice and if you already own a Nintendo DSi you won’t be able to transfer any of your DSiWare games across, I wonder how this will fit into the whole Nintendo DSi vs Sony PSP 3000 debate? What do you think?