Japanese users of Nintendo’s DS Lite portable games console can now purchase and download movies for the device, reports Japan Today.
The new service, dubbed DSvision, is a collaboration between Nintendo, print firm DNP and am3, a digital media distributor. After purchasing the DSvision hardware add-on – comprising of a USB dongle/card reader, 512MB microSD card, and “an adapter for slotting the media into the console’s game port” – users can begin downloading content from the DSvision website via their PC for transfer to the DS Lite. However, the need to “side-load” content seems an unnecessary and convoluted step considering that the DS supports Wi-Fi. In addition to video, the new service will also sell ebooks, digital music and comics.
Compared with rivals Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo hasn’t shown much interest in expanding its latest game consoles beyond gaming and light web browsing, therefore the launch of its DSvision service, while limited to Japan, isn’t insignificant. Sony’s PSP will soon gets its own UK-only video download service and the company has hinted at more ambitious video plans for its PS3/PSP PlayStation Network. While Microsoft has long viewed its XBox 360 as a trojan horse into the digital living room by providing access to XBox Live.
Both Sony and Nintendo’s portable video efforts also pit the two companies in direct competition with Apple’s iTunes and iPod offering. And more intriguingly, the expansion by Sony and Nintendo into video downloads is being mirrored by Apple with the release of the iPhone/iPod touch SDK which will inevitably see an explosion of casual games coming to its Multi-Touch platform.