13 Million Nintendo DS Portables, Oh My

If you’ve read that Nintendo has sold 10M DS portables, you read wrong. The actual number is 13M, according to revised estimates announced a few hours ago. Not bad!

13M portable consoles with wi-fi, voice-recognition, and the ability to auto-detect and communicate with other nearby portables. Even without licensing the Palm OS, Nintendo has positioned itself to potentially change the communications landscape. Setting up thousands of free wireless hotspots didn’t hurt, either. So what might you do with all that nifty functionality? How about:

  • Call your friends. If you don’t understand why someone would want to use their DS instead of a cell phone, you’re not nine years old. And with many major cities planning to offer free wireless soon, coverage ceases to be a problem (in certain areas, anyway). VOIP code could conceivably be integrated into every future DS game.
  • Using the DS’s standby / local network funcionality to play social networking games. Imagine a game that alerts you anytime someone matching your specifications comes within range. Play could automatically ensue if both people have the time and interest. (Hmm… dating potential for the lonely gamer?) An interesting game might even have global, persistent characteristics; i.e. get “touched” by a zombie player, and you turn into a zombie until you’re “cured”. The global gameplaying population would collectively fight the infection. There’d be more to it than just this, but you get the idea.
  • How about adding a GPS-centric twist to the previous ideas? OK… I know this one’s pie in the sky. But it would be such fun…

Btw, if you think Nintendo will never do this stuff, it might not have to. There appears to be an army of hackers working on the DS, including the wifi system, specifically.

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