Ending weeks of speculation, Nintendo announced that it is launching a new portable gaming system. However, the device in question is not the rumored "Game Boy Enhanced"--a portable game deck that could play both GameCube and Game Boy Advance titles. Instead, the Japanese giant unveiled the "Nintendo DS," a double-screened game deck that it will formally unveil at this year's E3 in Los Angeles. No pictures of the system were released.
According to Nintendo, the DS will feature two separate 3-inch TFT LCD display panels, two individual processors, and a memory of up to 1 gigabit. The DS will give players a general view of the game on one screen while letting them zoom in on part of the action on another. For example, a football game would feature an overview of the field on one screen while letting gamers zoom in on a specific player on another. "We have developed Nintendo DS based upon a completely different concept from existing game devices in order to provide players with a unique entertainment experience," said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.
Nintendo's announcement made no mention of whether the Nintendo DS would support GBA or GameCube games or would require a third software format. However, Nintendo did say the DS would be "marketed separately from the company's existing Nintendo Game Boy Advance portable system and Nintendo GameCube home console," indicating the latter to be more likely.
The Nintendo DS is scheduled to go on sale in late 2004. GameSpot will have more details on the system as they become available.