The ageing Nintendo DS got an unexpected new feature in Japan this week courtesy of auto-maker Toyota: satnav. The deal allows drivers and passengers to pair up a Nintendo DS with their car’s navigation system, and have it act as a second screen. Is this really the solution for Nintendo’s current woes?
Kuruma de DS for the Nintendo DS lets you use Nintendo’s old handheld to add destinations, check out the map and explore landmarks, connecting via Bluetooth to new Toyota models’ dashboard navigation systems. It can also be used to pipe sound from the DS to the car’s stereo systems and see your speed. With added Nintendo Mii characters.
The Nintendo DS navigation solution doesn’t come cheap though, at ¥7,329 or £57, and the Smart Navi system itself costs as much as ¥206,850 (£1,600). Which begs the question, why bother?
Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo’s always been a games company first and foremost. We’ve reported on how this focus has thwarted the company, and budding software developers, before. And Nintendo has steadfastly avoided putting its games on mobile platforms, even when developers of premier DS games have jumped ship, and is going through its worst financial troubles in decades.
So why go out and partner up with a car maker on an expensive second screen for satnavs? Why indeed. Here’s hoping we get a better sense of Nintendo’s vision for its handheld systems at E3 in a few weeks’ time.