Nintendo DSi Gets Date and Price in US

Nintendo has just announced that they will be bringing the DSi, the latest iteration of the DS, to the United States on April 5, 2009 for $169.99. The system, which sports many new and enhanced features not found on the DS or DS Lite, will be available in both Black and Blue when it hits retail shelves.

Amongst those features are the (heavily branded) DSi Camera, DSi Sound and DSi Shop. DSi Camera is the introduction of not one but two cameras, one on the inside of the clamshell design, the other on the outside, to the handheld that will give “developers a new tool to devise creative games and experiences” as well as giving users “an easy way to take and share your photos with family and friends.” The DSi Sound functionality will turn the system into a voice recorder as well as a music player. Music will be available for playback from an SD Card even when the console is closed. Lastly, the DSi Shop will allow users to download games from the DSiWare online store using the DSi’s built-in wi-fi capabilities.

Nintendo has also announced that, along with the new version of the DS, Rhythm Heaven, the US version of Rhythm Tengoku Gold for all you importers, will be coming to store shelves on the same day. It is one of the 850 games that can be played in both a DS and DSi. It was pointed out by Nintendo that 850 is most but not all DS games out there and we may have to look to backward compatibilty lists to make sure our favorite DS games continue to work in the DSi.

All of these new features certainly seem to be an attempt by Nintendo to make the DSi more of a mutlimedia device rather than simply a game player. I am very interested to see how users respond to that as Nintendo’s handheld has been lauded for not being overly complicated and being all about games. Now, as they go a route that will bring more complexity and demand further technical acumen, it will be interesting to see if, once again, the general public follows Nintendo on to new ventures.

It will also be very interesting to see if Nintendo can hit another home run in the innovative gameplay department. Many people, including myself, never thought touch screen stuff on the DS would be big and it has turned out to be wildly popular. Will developers and gamers want to create and use things that interact with the two cameras on the DSi or will that be a bit too much for on-the-go gaming. I’m sure we all feel a bit foolish blowing into the mic on the current DS, how will gamers feel when we have to make gestures in front of duel cameras on the train when it is required for a new DSi title?

Will you be upgrading your DS to the new model or are these features not worth the cost of upgrading?