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The Nintendo DS family background

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The Nintendo DS line of handheld game consoles was developed and sold by Nintendo from 2004–2014. It succeeded the Game Boy Advance family and was succeeded by the Nintendo 3DS family in 2011.

Initially released as an experimental platform ancillary to the Game Boy line, the Nintendo DS line soon replaced it as Nintendo's flagship handheld device family. Featuring and interacting with many of the game series that are seen on the company's home console lines, the DS line has often represented the bulk of the company's unit system sales throughout the course of its history.

Throughout its lifetime, Sony's PlayStation Portable has been the main market competitor. There have been four different models of the Nintendo DS line on the market: the original Nintendo DS, the Nintendo DS Lite, as well as the Nintendo DSi and its XL variant. The Nintendo DS line has been highly successful, continuing the trend of its predecessor, the Game Boy line. With over 154 million units sold worldwide, the DS models are the best-selling handheld consoles, and second best-selling console overall behind the Sony PlayStation 2.


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Nintendo DS family

Nintendo DS

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An Electric Blue Nintendo DS in its opened position.

Template:Expand section The Nintendo DS (abbreviated to DS) was a dual-screen handheld game console developed and released by Nintendo. The device went on sale in North America on November 21, 2004. The DS, short for "Developers' System" or "Dual Screen",[1] introduced distinctive new features to handheld gaming: an LCD screen working in tandem with a touchscreen, a built-in microphone, and support for wireless connectivity.[2] Both screens are encompassed within a clamshell design similar to the Game Boy Advance SP. The Nintendo DS also features the ability for multiple DS consoles to directly interact with each other over Wi-Fi within a short range without the need to connect to an existing wireless network. Alternatively, they could interact online using the now-discontinued Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service.

Prior to its release, the Nintendo DS was marketed as a "third pillar" in Nintendo's console lineup, meant to complement the Game Boy Advance and GameCube. However, backward compatibility with Game Boy Advance titles and strong sales ultimately established the new handheld console as the successor to the Game Boy series.

Nintendo DS Lite

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A black Nintendo DS Lite in its opened position.

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The Nintendo DS Lite (abbreviated to DS Lite) is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It is a slimmer, brighter, and more lightweight redesign of the original Nintendo DS. It was announced on January 26, 2006, more than a month before its initial release in Japan on March 2, 2006 due to overwhelming demand for the original model.[3] It has been released in Australia, North America, Europe, New Zealand, Singapore, and defined regions in South America, the Middle East, and East Asia. As of December 31, 2013, shipments of the DS Lite have reached 93.86 million units worldwide, according to Nintendo.[4]

Nintendo DSi

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A black Nintendo DSi in its opened position.

The Nintendo DSi (abbreviated to DSi)[5] is a dual-screen handheld game console released by Nintendo. The console launched in Japan on November 1, 2008, and worldwide beginning in April 2009. It is the third iteration of the Nintendo DS, and its primary market rival is Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP). Development of the DSi began in late 2006, and the handheld was unveiled during an October 2008 Nintendo conference in Tokyo. Consumer demand convinced Nintendo to produce a slimmer handheld with larger screens than the DS Lite. Consequently, Nintendo removed the Game Boy Advance (GBA) cartridge slot to improve portability without sacrificing durability.

While the DSi's design is similar to that of the DS Lite, it features two digital cameras, supports internal and external content storage, and connects to an online store called the Nintendo DSi Shop. Nintendo stated that families often share DS and DS Lite consoles. Its new functionality was intended to facilitate personalization, so as to encourage each member of a household to purchase a DSi. The handheld supports exclusive physical media in addition to DS games with DSi-specific features and standard DS titles. The only exception to its backward compatibility are earlier DS games that required the GBA slot. As of September 30, 2014, Nintendo had sold 41.37 million DSi and DSi XL units combined.[4]

Reviews of the Nintendo DSi were generally positive; although IGN and bit-tech decried the console's lack of exclusive software and removal of the GBA cartridge slot, its added functionality caused many journalists to recommend it to those who had not purchased a previous DS model. Numerous critics were disappointed with the limited resolution of DSi's cameras, though others such as Ars Technica and GameSpot agreed they were adequate for the handheld's display. CNET and PCWorld considered the DSi Shop to be the most important buying incentive for current DS owners.

Nintendo DSi XL


A burgundy Nintendo DSi XL in its opened position.

The Nintendo DSi XL (abbreviated to DSi XL) features larger screens, and a greater overall size, than the original DSi. It is the fourth DS model, the first to be available as a pure size variation.[6] Iwata said that cost restraints had, until then, limited the screen size and multiplayer aspects of portable game consoles, and that the DSi XL offers "an improved view angle on the screens", which makes it the first "portable system that can be enjoyed with people surrounding the gamer."[6] He argued that this introduces a new method of playing portable video games, wherein those "surrounding the game player can also join in one way or the other to the gameplay."[6] While the original DSi was specifically designed for individual use, Iwata suggested that DSi XL buyers give the console a "steady place on a table in the living room," so that it might be shared by multiple household members.[6]

The DSi XL is the longest, widest and heaviest DS model.[5][7] The console features two Template:Convert wide-viewing-angle LCD screens with the same resolution as the smaller model.[8] It has improved battery life over the DSi on all brightness settings; for example, batteries last 13–17 hours at the dimmest setting.[5] The handheld is outfitted with identical speakers contained in larger speaker enclosures, enabling them to produce louder sound. The hinges stop the screen at 120° in addition to the original DSi's position of 155° to allow easier table-top viewing.[9] The DSi XL is bundled with two longer styli, one of which is thicker, rounded, and pen-like,Template:Sfn and does not fit inside the unit.[10]


Comparison of Nintendo DS line systems
Name Nintendo DSi XL Nintendo DSi Nintendo DS Lite Nintendo DS
Logo File:Nintendo DSi XL logo.svg File:Nintendo DSi logo.svg File:Nintendo DS Lite logo.svg File:Nintendo DS Logo.svg
Console Nintendo DSi XL File:Nintendo-DSi-Bl-Open.png Nintendo DS Lite An original Nintendo DS
In production colspan="4" Template:No
Generation Seventh generation
Release date

JP 21 November 2009

EU 5 March 2010
NA 28 March 2010

AUS 15 April 2010

JP 1 November 2008

AUS 2 April 2009

EU 3 April 2009
NA 5 April 2009

JP 2 March 2006

AUS 1 June 2006
NA 11 June 2006

EU 23 June 2006

NA 21 November 2004[11]

JP 2 December 2004[11]

AUS 24 February 2005

EU 11 March 2005

Launch price ¥20,000
Current price Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a
Units shipped Worldwide: 154.01 million (as of September 30, 2015)
Best-selling game New Super Mario Bros., 30.79 million units (as of March 31, 2015)
Display 4.2 in (107 mm) 3.25 in (83 mm) 3.12 in (79 mm) 3.0 in (76 mm)
256 × 192 px (both screens)[11]
262,144 colors[13]
5 brightness levels 4 brightness levels Backlight On/Off toggle
Processor 133 MHz ARM946E-S & 33.514 MHz ARM7TDMI 67.028 MHz ARM946E-S & 33.514 MHz ARM7TDMI
Memory 16 MB PSRAM 4 MB SRAM
(expandable via Game Boy Advance slot)
Camera Front-facing and outward-facing 0.3 MP sensors colspan="2" align="center" Template:N/a
Storage Expandable up to 32 GB via SD/SDHC card slot colspan="2" align="center" Template:N/a
Physical media Nintendo DS Game Card (8-512 MB) Nintendo DS Game Card (8-512 MB)
Game Boy Advance Game Cartridge (2–32 MB)
Input controls
  • D-pad
  • A/B/X/Y, L/R, and START/SELECT buttons
  • Touchscreen
  • Microphone
  • Camera
  • D-pad
  • A/B/X/Y, L/R, and START/SELECT buttons
  • Touchscreen
  • Microphone[11]
Battery 1050 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 13–17 hours (on the lowest brightness setting)
  • 4–5 hours (on the brightest)[14]
840 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 9–14 hours (on the lowest brightness setting)
  • 3–4 hours (on the brightest)[14]
1000 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 15–19 hours (on the lowest brightness setting)
  • 5–8 hours (on the brightest)[15]
850 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 6–10 hours
    (determined by screen brightness, wireless, and sound volume)[11]
  • Integrated 802.11b/g
    (only compatible with WEP or unencrypted networks while playing regular Nintendo DS games)[16]
  • Integrated 802.11 (legacy mode)
    (only compatible with WEP or unencrypted networks)[17]
Stylus Template:Convert long × Template:Convert wide Template:Convert long × Template:Convert wide Template:Convert long × Template:Convert wide Template:Convert long × Template:Convert wide
Weight Template:Convert Template:Convert Template:Convert Template:Convert

Template:Convert W
Template:Convert D
Template:Convert H

Template:Convert W
Template:Convert D
Template:Convert H

Template:Convert W
Template:Convert D
Template:Convert H

Template:Convert W
Template:Convert D
Template:Convert H[11]

Online services Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
  • Nintendo DSi Shop
  • Nintendo DSi Browser
  • Nintendo Zone
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
  • Nintendo DS Browser
Preloaded applications
  • Nintendo DS/DSi Game Card launcher
  • DS Download Play
  • PictoChat
  • Flipnote Studio
  • Nintendo DSi Browser
  • Nintendo DSi Camera
  • Nintendo DSi Shop
  • Nintendo DSi Sound
  • Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters/A Little Bit of... Brain Training Arts Edition
  • Dictionary 6 in 1 with Camera Function (UK)
  • Clubhouse Games Express: Card Classics (Aus)
  • Photo Clock (Aus)
  • System Settings
  • Nintendo DS/DSi Game Card launcher
  • Brain Age Reading
  • Brain Age Math
  • DS Download Play
  • Nintendo DSi Browser
  • Nintendo DSi Camera
  • Nintendo DSi Shop
  • Nintendo DSi Sound
  • PictoChat[11]
  • Flipnote Studio
  • System Settings
  • DS Download Play
  • PictoChat
  • System Settings
Regional lockout colspan="2" Template:Yes colspan="2" Template:No
Backward compatibility colspan="2" Template:N/a Game Boy Advance Game Pak
(single-player only)
  1. Template:Cite web
  2. Template:Cite web
  3. Template:Cite web
  4. 4.0 4.1 Template:Cite web
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Template:Cite web
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Template:Cite web
  7. Template:Cite web
  8. Template:Cite interview
  9. Template:Cite interview
  10. Template:Cite web
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 Template:Cite news
  12. Template:Cite web
  13. Template:Cite web
  14. 14.0 14.1 Nintendo DSi/Nintendo DSi XL – Battery FAQ Nintendo – Consumer Service
  15. Nintendo DS Lite – Battery FAQ Nintendo – Consumer Service
  16. DSi Operations Manual Nintendo – Support
  17. Nintendo Wifi Support FAQ –


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See also


External Links

Nintendo DS Line

Template:Nintendo DS Template:Seventh generation game consoles Template:Handheld game consoles