Motion Control on a New DS — How Might That Work?

An oblique reference to a DS successor helped turn Satoru Iwata's interview with Japan's leading newspaper into a full-on bombshell. Specifically, the Nintendo chief said such a device must be enabled for motion control. What could they be working on?

Motion control in a handheld is trickier proposition because, of course, you're manipulating the thing you're supposed to be watching. So offhand, an accelerometer seems like a no-brainer. And Shigeru Miyamoto himself referred to it as far back as 2004, before the original DS's debut.

An accelerometer would enable tilt-steering for a racing game, for example, plus shaking or waggle controls. It's not hard to imagine a game in which players tilt or flip their characters/vehicles/puzzle pieces back and forth across two screens.

But Iwata specifically told the Asahi Shimbun the device must have a sensor to "read the movements of people playing." Something like WarioWare: Snapped already uses the DSi's camera to recognize player motion independent of the device, through capturing a player's hand as a silhouette, for example. Maybe the DSi successor would improve that.

Finally, what will this thing be named? The DSe? The DS2? The DX? The Dii? Nintendo had some interesting working names for the DSi LL, maybe one of those could be recycled. The company would likely only break from the DS branding if it were a radically different device. Well, Iwata referred to successors of the handheld in dismissing speculation that Nintendo would not implement cellular functions or monthly service plans for connecting to a gaming service. And the DS is absolutely a proven winner. So something different sounds unlikely.

We've asked Nintendo for a clarification of their plans for a DS successor device, but haven't heard back yet. Until we hear something, let's put it to the mob: What can we expect to see? What DS franchises and hits can most benefit from motion controls? What does motion control on this platform offer that it doesn't on something like the iPhone - or even a console? We've got the rumor - let's start the speculation!