I'm having a hard time getting excited about the DSi. The prospect of the store is great (in theory), but it's about the only thing that gets my blood pumping ... and it is an idea that has its own issues, as I'll get to.
When the rumors of an added camera first broke, the only, only question that came to mind was: Why? Raise your hand if you don't carry a cellphone that has a camera as good as (or better than) the DSi's. Music playback? Raise your hand if you don't have an iPod, an MP3 player (or similar functionality in, again, your phone
). These additions were all great before we had them in one or two tiny devices. Putting them into a slightly larger device which also plays games is neat, but since I'm not likely to leave my phone or iPod at home, are they really necessary?
So what else is there? The DSi has a built-in browser ... which would be awesome, except it won't be unless it's significantly
different from Nintendo's official DS browser, which was terrible. Oh, it's thinner. Since the DS Lite already fits comfortably in a pocket or backpack, this is nice, but not drop-a-lot-of-money nice. Same for slightly bigger screens (and how will that affect the look of current games?) And that's almost all there is when it comes to the smaller differences. For my money, that's not enough of a return on the bigger investment. Moving from a Phat to a DS Lite was a huge jump in usability for me, and all without a major outlay of money.
But none of those features are what's really interesting, of course; they're neat and all, but it's the meat of the upgrade that is most potentially exciting. The problem is that the differences that are interesting -- DSware, SD card, memory -- are nearly all duplicated by DS homebrew
, and that's without losing the GBA slot, which likely adds more to the DS's library than DSware ever will.
It follows also that Nintendo must be doing something about that whole DS homebrew "problem." Piracy seems to be the foremost concern for all the people not buying
handhelds these days, and for those of us who are, it's one of the most compelling features. Homebrew programmers are doing a lot of things that really appeal to me personally
as a gamer, and I'm not willing to sacrifice that for DSware.
And that brings us to DSware, which is compelling in theory, but after watching WiiWare and the Virtual Console, I'm just not sure it's enough for me to justify buying another handheld next year. WiiWare and the VC both have some really compelling titles, don't get me wrong. I just don't end up buying that many. There are already more retail games than I can possibly keep up with, and while they're more expensive, they're also often heavier in content. With a few killer apps, I might be convinced, but at this point, DSware is only moderately exciting to me, and the fact that it's going to be region-specific, like the Wii's online marketplace, makes it less compelling. I can't read enough Japanese (or, uh, any
) to import and navigate actual important menus ... and that's even if they make it an option. After what we saw with DSVision, without a Japanese credit card
, importers may be out of luck (and a pile of cash).
In the end, I find the DSi compelling, certainly, but at this point in time, I'm just not really sold. The DS itself is so good -- I'm satisfied with it. I really am. I adore the homebrew community and just don't really feel the urge to upgrade.
Of course, I'll probably get one anyway. I mean, I'm a DS Fan(girl) here, c'mon.