Nintendo’s new DSi comes with a camera

by Hiroko Nakata

Nintendo Co. unveiled a new version of the DS portable game machine Thursday that comes with a digital camera and an audio player.

The Nintendo DSi, scheduled to go on sale Nov. 1, is the video game giant’s latest bid to grab a bigger share of the ever-expanding game console market.

It is the third model in the venerable DS line. Since the popular player was launched in December 2004, more than 23 million units have been sold, according to President and CEO Satoru Iwata.

“I believe there is more scope for the Nintendo DS to spread,” Iwata told a news conference in Tokyo. “I hope we can create a trend of every family member having a unit, instead of one unit for the whole household.”

The new gadget allows players to take photos, scribble on them, mix images and transfer them to flash drives. It also has a recorder that can distort voices and other sounds for fun.

The new console has a 3.25-inch screen, compared with 3 inches for the existing model. The 18.9-mm machine is also thinner than the current 21.5-mm version.

The retail price will be ¥18,900. It will be available in either black or white.

The DSi will be sold overseas next year.

Iwata said DS sales have recently slowed but that Nintendo is confident it can reverse the trend with the DSi.

Competition in the wireless gadget market has heated up since July, when Apple Inc. brought over its iPhone, a gadget with design and multiple networking functions that have made it a global hit.

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. said last month it will launch a new PlayStation Portable in Japan on Oct. 16.