Nintendo reveals dual-slot DSi plans

Planning processes laid bare in frank interview

Nintendo DSi

Apart from the games and hardware, one of the things about Nintendo that endears it to fans is its general openness – a quality well illustrated in a recent official publication that lifts the lid on planning the DSi.

A new 'Iwata Asks' roundtable with company president Satoru Iwata and the engineers who worked on the new handheld is surprisingly frank about its conception.

Unpopular design

Masato Kuwahara from the Development Engineering Department reveals that he began the DSi project as early as the end of 2006 on the instructions of his superiors.

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Kuwahara didn't meet immediate success, however, because of the first design with two DS slots that his team came up with. "The response wasn't that great, and, to tell the truth, we'd sort of been expecting that," he explained.

Extra game slot

Even though customers had asked for a dual-slot system, internal reviews of the prototype found it made for an unpleasantly large DS, resulting in the plan being scrapped.

The rethink brought larger screens and two cameras instead of a single, swivelling camera originally planned, all in a smaller case.

Object of desire

Ever with an eye on the bottom line, Iwata admitted: "Of course, that decision pushed back the release date, and you had to give up the double-slot design. But it was more important that lots of people who would see the Nintendo DSi would want one."

Come April, we'll all be able to see if that turns out to have been a wise decision or not. We know where our money is.