Nintendo DSi North American Launch: April 5th

Nintendo has confirmed that it will be launching the DSi in North America on April 5th of this year and has given some tantalizing news regarding its innovative DSiWare service.

In case you didn’t already know, DSiWare is shaping up to be the portable equivalent of the WiiWare portal that is already entertaining millions on the Wii. Games will be downloaded directly to the DSi and will be paid for using a points system; Nintendo has confirmed that the cheapest games will retail for 200 points.

Here’s a little more information on the machine straight from the horse’s mouth:

Some features that will be built into the system and ready to enjoy upon purchase include the Nintendo DSi Camera, Nintendo DSi Sound and Nintendo DSi Shop. The most noticeable feature of the slim Nintendo DSi system is its two cameras – one camera is on the external body, and the second one points at the user when the device is flipped open. As the first truly interactive digital camera in a video game system with 10 different interactive "lenses" that can manipulate your photos, the Nintendo DSi Camera offers an easy way to take and share your photos with family and friends. The cameras also present people with unprecedented ways to interact with their games while giving developers a new tool to devise creative games and experiences. If the touch screen gave Nintendo DS a sense of feel and the microphone allowed it to hear, the two cameras give Nintendo DSi the sense of sight.

Another enhanced feature is the Nintendo DSi Sound application, which serves as both an interactive voice recorder and music player that allows users to play with their music while they listen to it. Users can access different audio filters or control the pitch and speed of recorded voice or music files to alter voices or change the tempo of a song. The mic is located between the two screens when the device is flipped open, and there is also a stereo headphone output that lets users listen to music saved on an SD card, even with the screen shut.

In the world of software, Nintendo DSi will be the platform for the most relevant and fun on-the-go games and applications. The Nintendo DSiWare™ application will populate Nintendo DSi with software that can be downloaded using Nintendo DSi Points directly to the portable system, just as WiiWare™ has with Nintendo's Wii™ console. Developers big and small are invited to create software that makes use of the properties and functions of the hardware. Nintendo DSiWare games and applications will be available at a range of values, starting at 200 points.

In addition to downloadable games, Nintendo DSi is able to play games made specifically for the system and sold at retail. The system can also play most Nintendo DS™ games, and will have access to a library of more than 850 titles originally made for that system.

Also on April 5, a new Nintendo DS game, Rhythm Heaven™, will join this roster of games available for both Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DS owners in the United States. Having sold more than 1.6 million copies since its July 2008 launch in Japan and still increasing sales today, this infectious game challenges players to tap and slide the stylus on the touch screen in time to original music created by legendary Japanese pop-star producer TSUNKU♂. Simple gestures with the stylus combined with fun music and quirky visuals make Rhythm Heaven a completely unique musical experience for players of all ages.

Naturally, we’ll be looking to give coverage to DSiWare titles in the same capacity that we currently cover WiiWare releases. In the meantime however, you can check out the Nintendo DSi page here.