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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 September, 2004, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
US debut for Nintendo DS gadget
Nintendo DS
The DS has a sleeker design than previous devices
Nintendo has announced more details of its up-coming new two-screen portable gaming device, the Nintendo DS.

For the first time the gaming giant, which dominates the portable games market, is releasing such a device in the US before Japan.

The gadget will go on sale on 21 November in the US and 2 December in Japan. Europe will see the device on sale sometime at the start of 2005.

Rival Sony is set to release its portable PSP at the end of the year.

It is widely expected to go on sale in Japan first, however.

Nintendo also announced the DS will have a price tag in the US of $149.99 (84), and 15,000 yen in Japan (76).

Sony PSP
Sony and others are launching portable devices to rival Nintendo
It already announced a 20% price cut on its popular GameBoy Advance SP in an attempt to reinforce its position as the dominant portable gaming device.

GameBoys have commonly attracted a wide range of gamers, with its different colours and relatively inexpensive price tag.

The DS has a sleeker design and will be launched in silver and black. When the device was announced in January, it was stressed that it was not meant to be the successor to the GameBoy Advance.

Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, said the idea behind the DS was to "expand the game experience" and build a "road map" for the future of gaming, according to what gamers demand.

Portable gaming is a lucrative and growing market for the big games console makers.

There is also an increasing effort from major games companies to target their efforts on mobile gaming.

Nokia has launched its N-Gage devices and others, like Gizmondo and Tapwave Zodiac, are moving into the market too.

Games console makers tend to start making announcements on price and availability of their wares in the run-up to the busy Christmas period, which is a big market for them.

In 2003, global 10.1bn ($18.2bn) was spent on gaming, according to a report by analysts Screen Digest. It predicts that this will grow to 11.7bn ($21.1bn) by 2007.

Touch and voice

The Nintendo DS has two separate screens so that players can check maps, whilst the game is being played on the other screen, for instance.

At 148.7mm (5.85 inches) wide, 84.7mm (3.33 inches) long, and 28.9mm (1.13 inches) tall, the device also has a wireless range of 30 to 100ft (nine to 30m), which means that multiple users can play multiplayer games using one DS game card.

It also has a touch screen and an embedded microphone for voice recognition control, and has a chat software that lets up to 16 users chat at once.

Games will come from 100 different companies which have already agreed to develop titles for the device.

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12 May 04  |  Technology

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