When you compare the new DSi Browser to the earlier DS Browser, what has changed, and how has it changed?
How it feels. Compared to the DS Browser, when you use it, it’s got more of the Nintendo touch.
And how would you define “the Nintendo touch”? That when you press a button it responds immediately?
No, not exactly. Put into words, it may sound that simple, but I mean something deeper that can’t quite be put into words. I think it’s the aggregate of characteristics that aren’t quite visible to the eye, such as how satisfying the unit’s response is when you press a button and the speed when you scroll.
I understand completely. But how do you convey that to others? Can you do it by taking a video of someone using a DSi?
Even if you saw a video of someone using it, you might not think it’s that fast. When it comes to what can only be seen by the eye, such as display speed, the specs lose out to personal computers and Wii.
Because the personal computer and Wii environments are completely different.
Um, this may not be very convincing, coming as it does from one of the DSi’s developers, but I think the DSi Browser is easier to view and easier to use than other handheld devices out there.
When I tried it out, I thought the same thing. I wonder why it feels that way?
Well, when it comes to browsers for handheld devices, personally, I want the words to show up as fast as possible. Most other handheld browsers, however, give priority to displaying everything neatly. I don’t much care for that.
The DSi Browser has two modes for viewing the Internet. The DS was the same. In one mode the screen appears the way it would on a personal computer. In one mode the screen appears the way it would on a personal computer. In the other, the words show up running from the top screen to the bottom, wrapping around so as to fit within the screen’s width. And you can combine use of the two, switching from one to the next in real time. For example, first you can scan through a page, and then display it in detail if it catches your interest.
I see. When I used it, I got the feeling that I would mostly view it in the mode that renders text to fit the screens in one column running from top to bottom. I asked that users be able to scroll the page using the +Control Pad, which made it really easy to use.
Shirakawa-san, how do you think it has “the Nintendo touch”?
When you use the DSi Browser’s Overview mode, the Touch Screen shows a magnified portion of the upper screen. If you want, however, you can reverse what the screens display. With the DSi, the screens don’t just simply switch images, their images rapidly shrink or enlarge. I think that really changes the way it feels. I think little things like that contribute to “the Nintendo touch.”
With the DS Browser, the screens simply flipped their content. When we added this animated element on a suggestion from Shirakawa-san, the improvement was clear enough to make you say “Wow!”
We’re not saying anything bad about the old browser, though.
No, not at all.
I understand. It’s a delicate matter. You don’t mean to be critical of the old browser or its developers. Besides, you worked together with them on this.
I should mention, I suppose, that there were hardware limitations before. The specs for the DSi have greater range, allowing more possibilities to be explored. It would be incredibly unfair to simply compare the DSi to something created in an environment without that expanded range and criticise it.
That’s right. The basic structure of how to browse the Internet using the two screens hasn’t changed at all. What’s new about the DSi is its brisk speed due to enhanced hardware and various other contrivances.
Also regarding how it handles—although it’s quite subtle—is that even if you use the stylus at a bit of an angle, the screen will scroll up and down or sideways the way you want. It’s so subtle that you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t told... but still. (laughs)
As for a feature that wasn’t in the previous browser, if you hold down and drag the stylus to highlight certain words on a webpage, you can perform a search for those words. This is another point of improvement that might not jump out and grab you.
I think it’s the accumulation of such details that makes for “the Nintendo touch.”
Here’s another subtle detail. (laughs) Various operations are represented via icons. We had quite a few debates about what those icons should look like, because if we simply used icons familiar from personal computers, they would be incomprehensible to people unfamiliar with the Internet.
The standard icon on a personal computer for the Internet is something like a globe with light swirling around it. Someone unfamiliar with that wouldn’t get it. (laughs) We were very attentive to those things.
I see. By the way, what would you say is the point of having a browser on a DS handheld console?
While there may be exceptions to the rule recently, game consoles basically play content that has been created by Nintendo or other video game makers. They’re machines that play certain calculated content. However, when you connect to the Internet and select content to display, you never know ahead of time what it might be like. I think that’s what makes the DSi unique among Nintendo’s products.
Furukawa-san, as a specialist in user interfaces, what would you say is the point of including a browser on the Nintendo DSi rather than selling it as a separate Game Card?
In my personal opinion, I think it would be great if the DSi became a device allowing children to experience the Internet for the first time. I think there’s an immense value in being able to experience the Internet in the way you like using a handheld rather than a personal computer.
What do you think, Takahashi-san?
Simply put, I think carrying around your DSi and viewing the Internet at the press of a button will further the concept of personalising the DS. I hope users will find it easy to keep their DS on them and start up the DSi Browser anywhere.
Lastly, I’d like to go around and have everyone say a few words about how software can be downloaded into the Nintendo DSi. We’ll start with you, Takahashi-san.
I think the DS’s appeal lies in the fact that while it’s a games console, it has steadily removed itself from that cubbyhole. Of course, it will continue to be a games console, but with the arrival of the Nintendo DSi, I think the DS as a bundle of various tools will further develop. In particular, the value of each individual being able to walk around with their own personalised DS has increased now that software can be downloaded onto it. The ideal is that each person increasingly customises their own DS.
Hmm. Since the Nintendo DSi has internal memory, it will allow users to choose from among a variety of downloadable software that previously did not fit within the video game category. I think it would be great if that broadens the chances for people all over the world—not just people working for video game companies—to bring out their own ideas.
Since additional software can be installed to the Nintendo DSi, I think it’s a game machine that can be enjoyed alone, or in groups. Starting with cell phones, there are lots of handheld devices all over the world that can download software, but the Nintendo DSi is the only one that allows users to have fun together in groups. I think it would be great if that kind of fun continued to spread with the Nintendo DSi at its centre.
Someone else once described the Nintendo DSi as the ultimate party tool, and I think your description is very similar. Thanks for your time today.
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