British studio Rare is not working on titles for the Nintendo DS, according to a statement from Microsoft denying reports which surfaced at E3 that the Microsoft Game Studios subsidiary had games in the pipeline for the forthcoming system.
Microsoft is "focusing all efforts on developing games for the Windows and Xbox platforms," according to the statement, which went on to say that "at this time, there are no plans to support the DS."
Rare has continued to develop titles for Nintendo's Game Boy Advance since its acquisition by Microsoft in 2002, with four announced titles being published by prolific GBA third-party publisher THQ.
The E3 reports, which originated on the GCAdvanced website, suggested at Microsoft exec Ken Lobb - who works closely with Rare, continuing a relationship he had with the company while at Nintendo of America - had told a reporter that the studio has development kits and is working on two unnamed titles for the DS.
While Microsoft's denial certainly makes this look unlikely, the terms of the denial still make it plausible that Rare could be in possession of DS development kits. Microsoft may not have any official plans at present to support the DS, but this doesn't preclude the possibility that Rare's handheld team is indeed creating prototypes for the hardware.
Another possibility is that the Rare handheld team has been moved onto development for Windows-based mobile devices, but no suggestion that this is the case has emerged from either company.