Where next for DS?

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Yet by Nintendo's reckoning there's still life in the old DS yet. It's hard to disagree. It was the UK's best selling games hardware in 2009 – accounting for a massive wedge of the 2.7m handhelds sold in total.

With Nintendo readying both bigger and better hardware now on a seemingly annual basis, and actually advertising those ‘hidden gem' online functions, there's clearly more to come.

Arguably this is breaking new ground for the games industry. The hardware cycle is potentially not even at its half-way point, so there's a learning curve ahead as the industry works out how to extend the life of the platforms it has pushed out to a bigger audience than ever before.

Nintendo has done this by switching its handheld focus to the DSi and its XL brother – presumably given their better connection to the online service the format-holder is slowly but surely building.

Once upon a time the firm was famously both unconvinced about some areas of online and stringent about others; it favoured user safety and ease-of-use over flashy features and content.

Watching the firm combine the two for the mass-market, and presumably beef up its share in the online space along the way, is going to be fun to watch. Rivals beware.

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