Nintendo has announced the launch of a double-screened handheld gaming gadget, codenamed Nintendo DS.
Players will be able to keep an eye on action with both screens
Nintendo said it would give gamers "a unique entertainment experience for the 21st century."
The three-inch screens are held in the palm and are supposed to give players two different views of a game.
It is due to hit the global gaming world by Christmas 2004, and more details are expected at May's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
Change of perspective
"We have developed Nintendo DS based upon a completely different concept from existing game devices," said Satoru Iwata, Nintendo president.
As such, it is not meant to be a successor to its highly successful GameBoy Advance, which already dominates the handheld gaming market.
There are no pictures of the device yet, but the gaming gadget is expected to be demonstrated at E3 in Los Angeles.
It will have separate processors and up to 1Gb of memory.
The GameBoy Advance dominates the handheld market
The TFT LCD screens on the temporarily named Nintendo DS are about the same size as the GBA displays and can be held separately. They are designed to allow players to focus on different characters or parts of the game.
By keeping an eye on each screen, gamers will be able to play without interruption when they wish to change what they want to see.
In a fighting game, for instance, players can shift from what the character is doing on one screen to a map of the environment on the other.
Nintendo will develop game titles for its new gadget, but it is also in discussions with third party game developers around the world.
The GameBoy Advance and GameBoy Advance SP had a good year in 2003, with a 33% increase on sales from the previous year.
But other big names are due to hit the handheld market in the coming year, including Sony, which plans to launch its PSP handheld by the end of 2004.
Nintendo said it was also working on successors to the GameBoy Advance and GameCube.