Rumour: New nVidia-Powered DS For 2010

By Ishaan . October 13, 2009 . 6:01pm


According to a rumour at news site Bright Side of the News, graphics chip manufacturer nVidia are contracted to design the chip for Nintendo’s next portable system. BSN reports:


As the time passed by, Nintendo started to work on the successor of its handheld console with a debut planned for late 2010 [Tokyo Game Show?]. According to our confidential sources, Nintendo is going to use Tegra System-on-Chip processor for the successor of DS/DSi handheld console. Unlike the current design, nVidia offered a single-chip proposal to Nintendo, a company famous for keeping the hardware platform absolutely simple.


Given the fact that Nintendo DS hardware is based upon 16-bit and 32-bit ARM cores, it looks like Next-Gen DS could be backwards compatible with the DS application library. According to our sources, all of the apps that came for old DS could run on a single ARM11 core, yet alone the next-gen CorTex-A9-based Tegra, leaving graphics subsystem to do "something smarter".


This report comes in just a week after Citigroup’s suggestion that Nintendo will introduce another DS revision to the Japanese market next year. While it further reinforces what many already seem to suspect, there are some questionable comments in the story.


The BSN report goes on to speculate that this line of chips could facilitate 4x anti-aliasing and 8x anisotropic filtering on the new DS. Then again, while this might seem odd, considering Nintendo’s reluctance to enter the tech-race, keep in mind they’re a very different company — a lot more ambitious for one — when it comes to portable devices.


Food for thought:


1. While this is very much a rumour, the idea of a new DS for 2010 seems more viable with every passing week, given the iPhone threat. Nintendo could be shifting to a more frequent hardware revision model a la Apple.


2. This new model could decrease the gap in hardware between a portable and a home console, which could lead to some interesting cross-platform functionality. Perhaps Nintendo’s dream of true DS-Wii connectivity will finally be realized?


3. This sounds like it would come out in time for an FFVI remake. Just saying.


DS mock-up image courtesy of Gizmodo.

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  • thebanditking

    Well Im not overly thrilled because I already have a DS but its going on what 4 or 5 yrs old now right? While I am not keen on buying a new console so soon, the DS graphics are dated at best and from a lifecycle and features stand point the DS could use a major refresh.

    • I’m with you. I really wanted a DSi (love the smart-cam) but I think I’ll hold off now. While I LOVE the DS, I think there’s a lot of potential for better portable games with more networking functionality, and this new device could be a step in the right direction.

      Plus, hey, a new DS would keep Japanese developers on their toes.

      • kylehyde

        I wanted a DSi too, but I think that I’ll follow your example and hold off until november 2010.

        I know that this is a rumor but in the case that this turn real I will have mixed feeling: One part of will say YAY, that sounds great

        and the other will say that’s a big kick on the balls to all the people who decided to migrate from DS-lite to DSi. I mean in case that this turn real, it will be a really bad jock on Nintendo side to all the consumer.

        Bu in other side, the idea of a DS with improved graphics + FF6 or even 7 (a man can have dreams, no matter how crazy are these)= Pure epic win.

        • Aoshi00

          Definitely a kick in the nads for those who bought the DSi (me included).. I know people would say nobody tells you to buy it.. well, I never regretted upgrading to Lite, since the brightness level btwn Phat and Lite is night and day and it was a necessity for me. DSi for me was purely an aesthetic upgrade since the new features (camera, SD card, etc) are not utilized for any games substantially yet at this moment, it just has a better screen, brighter, and the matte and wider sides feel easier on the hands.

          Whatever happen happens, personally I think both consoles and portables this gen just change models way too quickly.

          Fact is I’m not that big on portable gaming, so I never really got into the iphone thing either…

          • ElTopo

            I have been predicting a new model for around this time since day 1, which is why I didn’t pick up a DSi, I was waiting for a next gen DS with real power behind it.

            And really if you look at the time-line for the GBA series, this mirrors it almost perfectly in terms of when new models came out. Your still going to get a solid year and half if not two out of your DSi, so don’t even worry about it.

      • ElTopo

        The DSi seemed like an experiment to me in design for Nintendo. They stepped slightly out of their element and created a system with features not entirely dedicated to just portable gaming, and it was really well received. With the Tegra processor your getting even more, and I have a feeling we are going to see a multimedia machine with capabilities on par with the iphone/zune and the gaming only a nintendo portable can bring you.

        Please, please, please have dual OLED multi-touch displays! This could turn out to be one the most epic portables ever if Nintendo does it right.

        • You’re right, this next DS could be huge. Hmmm. Maybe that should be our topic for the next Facebook Files… :)

  • JeremyR

    I don’t see what Nintendo would gain from this. They would basically be competing with themselves, since they dominate the handheld market with the DS. The PSP is respectable in Japan, but I’d still guess it’s like 80-20% DS/PSP. Elsewhere, I doubt it’s even that close.

    I can see perhaps something to replace the Wii with. That seems to be running out of steam in Japan. And graphically, this thing would probably be better than the Wii. So maybe some sort of hybrid home/portable console? Lik

    • Aoshi00

      Totally agree w/ you, in terms of “needing” to upgrade, wouldn’t the Wii be a better candidate than a portable? I don’t get why people are so eager to see a more powerful DS, isn’t that a PSP?

      • Well I don’t know about others, but I just feel the DS right now has seen better days. A new portable from Nintendo, a DS2 lets say, with multi-touch and such, would be nice.

    • ElTopo

      Its a new system and it follows the trends of GBA design upgrades to a T. They gain more money, and if they are using the Tegra this puts them solidly in the realm of the Iphone in terms of competition.

      Its not better then a Wii, its about 650-750 Mhz processor with capabilities for 720p HD playback. Its slightly more powerful then an iphone, same processor is used in the new Zune HD.

    • Joanna

      I have to agree.

      Also, Nintendo always starts making their next console as soon as possible; it’s their backup plan in case they need to release it ASAP. Sort of like what happened when Sony released their PSP, and it forced Nintendo to release their DS. So in no way does this convince me Nintendo is getting ready to release the next little beast any time soon. Nintendo is just being smart and starting development early, they probably already have the thing designed and now want to make sure they can get the parts for it. People seem to be jumping to conclusions.

  • daizyujin

    And hence why I didn’t bother buying a DSi. This is just more oil on the fire of speculation that it is a stopgap product like the Gameboy Micro. At any rate, I hope this is true. The DS is in bad need of an upgrade and I would hate to see Nintendo loose market share to Apple of all companies.

  • ARM11?? *drools*

    Any other embedded devs on here? I’m a TMS470 (ARM7) and MSP430 guy myself.

    • Isn’t that an ARMv7R for TMS470? I’ve not screwed with Texas instruments in a while.

      And if it’s an ARM11, we’re probably dealing with an Nvidia APX 2500. Probably the weakest of the Tegras but at the same time we’re dealing with a 600MHz on-board chip, single-core. That’s still a ton faster than the current DS. Not to mention GeForce/OpenGL support and support for a really good internal camera (I think that’s ~12 megapixel for the max on those). Conversely, the PSP isn’t going faster than 333MHz, last I checked.

      So if this DOES happen, expect the PSP to follow for competition. Sony’s always like that and is always second to the punch.

  • eliel

    cool i hope Nintendo’s next portable system comes out in 2010, also that its compatible with ds/dsi (but that should be a given)

  • ElTopo

    Did I not call this? Pretty much exactly what I stated would happen in the comments section on previous rumors on a new DS. The interesting part will see how Nintendo implements software on this new device. They have the hardware for a full on multimedia device if they go with the Tegra (also powering the Zune HD…) all they need to do is implement it with some really good software and seeing what they did with the DSi I think its safe to see a Tegra powered multimedia DS is coming.

    • Never mention a FFVI remake unless you have news confirming it, Ishaan :P [goes off to cry just thinking about it]

  • I’m all game for this! I’d love to be able to skip right over the DSi. And FF6 remake?! What about a FF5 remake?!

    • I’m guessing that if it exists, it would be for DSi. :P

  • MadMirko

    I’m amazed that there are people actually believing all of that.

    Revision? Sure.

    Top-of-the-line hardware (and therefore pricing way above DS levels): No way.

    • pressstart

      The price levels will drop by the time it comes out, so it’s very doubtful it’ll be like the PSPGo pricing.

      • Aoshi00

        The Ironic thing is many people seem to have no problem buying this rumored expensive handheld just because it’s from Nintendo and yet they still don’t want to buy a PS3 or 360.. Like I said, people say they are excited about this more powerful DS, but if you want to play an ugly Kingdom Hearts there’s 358/ 2 days and if you want to play a great looking one it’s on the PSP… so why wait for the DS to play catch up..

        When this comes, PSP would have add the touch screen to the Go and such, just endless cycle of small modification.

        • ElTopo

          Because the DS is the one of the single best gaming platforms this generation. Period. You can play more games, of more genres then any other system out there. Games that don’t really exist anywhere else you can find within the DS’s great library of games.

          Yeah its underpowered but that doesn’t make the PSP better. You realize the Tegra is more then twice as powerful as a PSP right? In terms of pricing, look at a Zune HD (also has a Tegra running it) its priced at 219$ for a 16 gig and 289$ for a 32 gig.

          So if it came out around 199-225$ I can honestly say I would buy it day 1 if Nintendo pulled off the OS correctly. Because what your looking at is a multimedia device slightly more powerful then a Iphone 3GS, dual multi-touch OLED displays (guessing but Nintendo would be foolish not to use them, basically the future of portable displays) with the library of games and developers of the DS.

          This is huge.

          • Aoshi00

            I dunno, Nintendo priced the Wii (the least powerful among all 3 consoles) at $250, most highly priced for a huge profit, you think they would be so generous w/ this godly handheld? Also my point was you have people who only own a Wii constantly complaining why this or that game is not on the Wii (like SF4, RE5, etc), while they could have bought a 360/PS3 (at $200/$300) and playing the gazillion games on both of those machines that have come out in the past couple of years. But no, loyal Nintendo fans only stick w/ the Wii and what the big N comes out w/…

          • ElTopo

            Yes, because in 1-2 more years the prices for manufacturing nvidia’s new processor are gonna come down, and Nintendo would be wise to price it under the Wii. I think 169$-199$ is a fair estimate, assuming it used all the fancy new tech it could be using (Multi-touch OLED’s, Tegra, etc).

            The PSP Go is a terrible system, if Sony actually tries to continue this push for all digital (read monopoly) I will buy Nintendo’s hand-held guaranteed. Not too mention this isn’t a cycle of small modifications, its an entire overhaul. The PSP Go is actually just a lack of features, they took out stock features and slapped it with a higher price tag.

    • ElTopo

      Its not a revision if its using Tegra. That would make it more powerful then a Iphone, and with multimedia features to boot. (Zune HD runs one, priced at 219$ for 16 gig)

  • Interesting indeed; Gameboy becomes Gameman? I guess not getting a DSi isn’t all bad. On a lighter note I’m sort of getting tired of the “DS” abbreviation. I miss GB(C/A). I like the Gameboy title more than the Developers’ System/Dual-Screen. Though maybe GBA SP DS would be a mouthful. Yeah, I focus on the “important” stuff, right?

    It’d be interesting to see more concept art for this system. It basically looks like two iPod Touch units tied to eachother…

  • wiiboyguru

    no-one thinking hybred we all know about the mythical hybred console,portable just maybe a handheld terga based and a docking unit with aditional spec,tech wen both are combined its a wii hd wen there seperate its a DS hd games on the move games at home hybred games and full wii,ds,dsi compatabillity IT AINT THAT FAR FETCHED AND A TEGRA DEAL COULD MAKE IT HAPPEN

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