Joystiq at the Nintendo DSi Launch

Kevin Kelly
K. Kelly|04.06.09

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Kevin Kelly
April 6th, 2009
In this article: DS, dsi, interview, launch-party, Nintendo
Joystiq at the Nintendo DSi Launch

Nintendo had a blowout party for its new DSi handheld at Citywalk in Los Angeles, which has become the de facto launching pad for all things gaming. Kevin Pereira from G4's Attack of the Show hosted the event, which featured a live performance from Gym Class Heroes, big-screen demos of the DSi's features, and a live appearance of artists from i am 8-bit.

Despite all this, and the presence of Mario himself, there wasn't a massive line of people waiting to pick up their units at midnight. Even the doomsday-style countdown clock that towered over the event didn't foretell the sounds of cash registers opening and closing around the world. The first midnight sale was rung in with a countdown, though, led by Pereira and Cammie Dunaway from Nintendo, and fireworks shot across the sky in celebration. Then Nintendo gave everyone a free DSi and a bag full of money! Er, wait ... We just dreamed that last part.

So, do you want or simply need a Nintendo DSi? We spoke with David Young, the assistant PR manager for Nintendo of America, about the manufacturer's newest, shiny toy and an upcoming title that can track your dog's activity. Continue on after the break for the interview.
%Gallery-49380%So, how long will it be until Nintendo gets the DS just right? Will we see other named handhelds coming out from Nintendo?

It's hard to say. The thing about the handhelds is that it's a different development cycle, it's almost a continuous line. A lot of it is determined by the market. We think that we've got a pretty good package with the Nintendo DSi. It's really an open canvas for developers. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

Hopefully it'll be better than the plain old DS, which didn't sell very well.

Yeah, only 100 million units.

You'll really have to get those numbers up!

We're gonna work on that! [Laughter]

Will we start seeing DSi-only games?

Well, all the games that are coming up soon are DS games that also play in the Nintendo DSi. I've heard talk of games that will either be DSi only, or games that might play on the DS and have specific DSi functions built into it.

What about downloadable Game Boy games? Since the DSi doesn't have that slot anymore.

That's sort of the hot topic, a lot of folks want to know about that. At this point, it's nothing that we've announced yet. It's still kind of "wait and see."

What's the top size SD card the DSi will accept? We know it takes high capacity SD cards, but what's that limit? 32 GB?

You know, I'm not sure about that yet. I've heard some conflicting stories depending on who I ask internally, so I don't have a firm number for you.

Are publishers going to offer some sort of a fix or a new accessory for games that use the GBA slot? For instance, Activision's Guitar Hero: On Tour has sold pretty well, but its "instrument" peripheral won't work with the DSi.

Well, what we're doing is that we're going to continue selling the DS Lite. So developers that won't to use that GBA slot ... for the foreseeable future we're going to continue selling those products side by side.

Is Nintendo considering anything to be a must-have launch title for the DSi? Rhythm Heaven just came out, are you calling that a DSi launch title?

Well, it's kind of a launch title, just because of the coincidence of the launch date, but it plays just as well on the original DS as it does on the DSi. We're not saying it's specifically tied to the DSi, but we are tying it together in some of our marketing and advertising just because it makes sense timing wise. It's true that there is no real "launch title" for the DSi, other than the DSiWare. That's really the center stage for the Nintendo DSi right now.

Are there any plans to have the DSi interact with the Wii? It seems like we've been promised DS and Wii interactivity before, and the PS3 does interact with the PSP on occasion ... What is Nintendo doing?

It's certainly a possibility. The great thing about Nintendo products is that they're such an open field for developers, but I haven't heard talk about any specific products that are doing that yet.

Speaking of developers, what about Bob's Game? What happened there?

Good question. I don't know. I don't know the full story on Bob, unfortunately.

At GDC we got the announcement about Zelda: Spirit Tracks, is there a date on that yet? Will it be enhanced for the DSi?

No, no date on that yet. All I know at this point is the information we shared at GDC.

What's the next big DS title that will be coming out?

Well, Rhythm Heaven of course, and we're doing some really interesting stuff in our expanded market with our Personal Trainer series. We've got Personal Trainer: Walking coming out that's going to be really interesting. That comes with two pedometers ... well they're actually "activity meters," so they have more functionality than a pedometer.

Do you carry them around with the DS?

They will connect wirelessly. On the edge of the DS cartridge there's a window, and that's an infrared connection. You can take your meter for a week, and download a full week's worth of activity, and it tracks it day by day and hour by hour so you can see how active you are and at what times. It's also the first title where you can import a Mii character from your Wii. You can even create a Mii character of your dog and put one of the activity meters on your dog's collar. So you can profile your dog and see what they're doing at home while you're at work.

Does Nintendo view the Sony as the handheld competition? Or are you just competing against yourself? DSi sales will certainly chew into DS Lite sales -- so who is the handheld competition?

Well, you certainly have to recognize that other people are competing against you and trying to be in the same space that you are. It doesn't affect what we're doing: we still have our plans and we're executing our plans.

Got DSi on the brain? Check out our in-depth unboxing feature that shows off the handheld's features, and be sure to stay up to date on DSi-related info through our Nintendo DSi tag!
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