Iwata: New DS functions next year

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has revealed that the company is planning to add new functions to its DS handheld that are ‘more practical than entertaining’.

Although he didn’t provide hard specifics, Iwata told the Wall Street Journal that the features would be useful in train stations, amusement parks or museums and use wireless functions.

"This is the first device that is portable and wireless and anybody can use. And with so many devices out there, it would be wasteful to not turn it into a tool," he said, adding that it makes sense to try this with the platform given its huge sales success, with a global installed base of 53m.

Described as a ‘change in strategy’ by WSJ, it’s not the first time Nintendo has tried this – the DS is used in Japan at some museums, providing information about exhibits to touring visitors.

However it seems that Nintendo now wants to push the concept out further, devising massmarket practical services designed to encourage consumers with using a DS when not playing games on one. The services will first roll out in Japan – where almost one in six people owns a DS – before being available elsewhere on the planet.

Iwata also revealed that Nintendo is also looking into adding more online functionality to the Wii, including an online TV listings service for Japan and an ability to send downloadable games as gifts.

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