4 questions if Nintendo's 3DS allows game installs

The 3DS will allow you to install software from game cards, according to a Nikkei report, but will anyone care?

It sounds like Nintendo's new 3DS handheld will offer optional software installs, a feature available for some time on Sony's PSP, but unavailable to DS owners.

According to Japanese news-watcher Andriasang citing Nikkei, Nintendo's 3D game device will allow you to copy software from game cards to the system's internal memory. That's a surprise, as Nintendo said nothing about it during its press show or during the hands-on demos thereafter.

What's more, Nikkei says this will allow players to game without cartridges. By contrast, Microsoft's Xbox 360 allows you to install games to its hard drive, but requires the disc remain in the slot-loader as validation.

Assuming Nikkei's correct--and note that Nintendo's confirmed nothing yet--here's what I want to know:

Just how much internal storage does the 3DS have? 3DS game cards will reportedly hold up to 2GB of data. Even if the games use half that, you'd need a fair bit of internal storage to accommodate the average user's games, movies, and music library. Would 32GB be too little? 64GB be too much? Could Nintendo sell multiple size configurations at different price points?

Would internal storage be faster than external game cards? Common sense suggests that no, it won't, because where flash storage is involved, what's inside tends to be just another iteration of what's available outside. That said, it's always possible Nintendo's done up a deal to put something special under the hood.

What about game validation? Imagine any game can be copied to any 3DS's internal memory. What's to stop someone from sharing their copy of a game with friends? Online? Downloading 3DS games en masse via torrent networks? That's a pandora's box Nintendo's worked for years to keep shut, so don't expect anything quite that simple. Maybe Nintendo won't allow game installs. Maybe their internal storage only allows you to download games purchased through their online store (the same way Sony runs shop with its PSP today).

Will anyone care? DS game cards are tiny and take up no space at all. You can fit dozens in a coin purse. Access times tend to be as good from external cards as internal ones. I've honestly never heard anyone complain about Nintendo's card sizes. Then again, the cards are pretty small (postage stamp sized, in fact) and I'm sure someone, somewhere's lost one to a couch or car seat.

Follow me on Twitter (@game_on)

Tags NintendoE3 2010gamesNintendo 3DS

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Peckham

PC World (US online)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?