In the handheld console market, the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable have always had two very distinct approaches. While the former concentrated on more ‘fun’ games and innovative styles with its dual-screen setup, the PSP has been pushing graphics-intensive games such as the stunning God of War: Chains of Olympus.
But all that looks set to change as Bright Side of News (BSON) is reporting that Nintendo has signed a deal with Nvidia to include mobile graphics computing Tegra chipset on the next-generation model of the console.
The next DS is planned for a debut in late 2010, giving the companies enough time and also letting them use the Tegra-2 chips, which are expected to be out in February. The 40nm chips would offer higher performance at lower power consumption than the current 65nm ones, which are superior to Nintendo’s current hardware anyway.
“Given the fact that Nintendo DS hardware is based upon 16-bit and 32-bit ARM cores, it looks like Next-Gen DS could be backwards compatible with the DS application library. According to our sources, all of the apps that came for old DS could run on a single ARM11 core, yet alone the next-gen CorTex-A9-based Tegra, leaving graphics subsystem to do ‘something smarter’,” BSON wrote.
If true, this move could lead to a whole new entry-point for Nvidia into the lucrative world of video game consoles, which is currently dominated by IBM and ATI.
The Nintendo DS (and its iterations, the DS Lite and DSi) is the world’s most popular handheld video game console, amassing 68.3% of the worldwide market.