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Nintendo sees quirky future for DS

Plans to feed us localised Japanese titles.

With the release of the 3DS imminent, you'd imagine the old DS model was staring down a bleak future. Not so, insists Nintendo.

CEO Satoru Iwata has told investors that Nintendo plans to localise previously Japan-only games as a way of keeping up a flow of new content for the handheld.

"If we should use too many of our development resources in order to maintain the Nintendo DS market, we would not be able to realise a sound launch for Nintendo 3DS," he explained.

"Nintendo's software is often made in Japan and launched first in Japan, and then localised for the overseas markets after confirming its marketability in Japan," Iwata went on to explain.

"Some Nintendo titles, such as the ones developed by Mr. Miyamoto and his team, have been made with the global market launches in view from the start of the development because people inside Nintendo believed in their global appeal.

"However, even some of the titles that Mr. Miyamoto was involved with, such as the original Animal Crossing, were first launched only in Japan, and only after the localisation teams outside Japan were able to appreciate the appeal of the software, our overseas subsidiaries requested us to launch the same titles in their countries.

"As a result, some software has already proved its marketability in Japan but is still not available in the overseas markets, and for some software titles, our localisation teams are currently spending time to localise them.

"Taking advantage of such software may be one of the ways to deal with your question about the transitional period from Nintendo DS to Nintendo 3DS," he proposed.

If that turns out to be the case, the DS's twilight years could prove rather interesting. Among the titles Nintendo has yet to release in the West are a new entry in its excellent Fire Emblem strategy series, a sequel to the fun Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol and a follow-up to the bonkers Zelda spin-off Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland

Then there's the immensely popular Tomodachi Collection, which has sold over three million copies since its launch in June 2009. Imagine Animal Crossing with Miis and you're somewhere close.

And maybe we'll finally see a release for Soma Bringer, a highly-regarded RPG developed by Monolith Soft – the studio behind the Xenosaga and Baten Kaitos series - which saw a Japan release in 2008.

The DS will formally pass the torch to the 3DS on 26th February 2011 in Japan, with a European and US release expected the following month.

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.