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Animal Crossing MMOG / DS Flash Card Rumored

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the great-week-for-rumors dept.

Nintendo 68

Though there are no official announcements at the moment, Next Generation is reporting on two interesting possibilities for the future of Nintendo products. In a report filed yesterday, the site hints that Nintendo may be considering a MMOG version of Animal Crossing , to be released on the Wii console. Also exciting: the possibility of a Flash Card for the DS that would allow classic Nintendo games to be (legally) played on their handheld console. "The uncontrollable homebrew and piracy communities that use the DS rely on similar devices ... this should, in the long term, allow Nintendo to exercise some control over at least the former through the simple step of offering a path to publisher-supported content. Compared to the slightly vague WiiWare proposition, this has the possibility to revolutionise homebrew development - at least in terms of distribution and the possibility of mainstream success - but how far the notoriously controlling Japanese giant will allow that community the creative freedom it requires to flourish will only be seen in practice."

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Fantastic (4, Interesting)

68030 (215387) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117405)

An MMOG version of Animal Crossing might be enough reason to convince my wife we need a Wii. I think the outline of the clock is burned into the corner of our television.

Tom Nook Must Die (4, Funny)

SethraLavode (910814) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118187)

... The only question is what treasure does he drop, and how soon will he respawn?

Animal Crossing has police for a reason (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119973)

... The only question is what treasure does [Tom Nook] drop, and how soon will he respawn?
Don't try it. You don't want Copper, Booker, and their clones from every other town on your server to beat you down.

too late? (2, Insightful)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117437)

why would I buy a Nintendo branded flash card when I already have an N-card?

Re:too late? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21129745)

You wouldn't but the 99% of the userbase that doesn't have a flashcard might.

Re:too late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21129943)

I think his sentiment was that those of us who are into the homebrew scene haven't waited until Nintendo gave us an extremely sterilized, watered down version of what is already available on the market. Those 99% average joes probably think homebrew still means the moonshine they make in the bathtub and bottle in those quaint XXX labled bottles.

DS homebrew rocks (5, Informative)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117453)

As a new owner of an R4DS [r4ds.com] micro SD cartridge I'm glad to report that homebrew on the DS is totally wicked. There are productivity apps like e-readers, media players, web browsers, IRC clients, wardriving packet capture utils, and much more. Also, many retro PC games like Doom, Heretic, Hexen, Flashback, Lemmings, SCUMMVM, and lots more have been ported to the DS.

Considering Nintendo's resistance to homebrew I'd be wary of an officially supported solution. I think your best bet is to go with a third party solution. This would enable you to play homebrew NES, SNES, MAME, and other ROMs using their various emulators. This ought to be legal, DMCA notwithstanding.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21117619)

How long before the R4's become "inoperable" due to a firmware flash , or something equally devious that causes the R4's to become essentially "bricks"? Is this even possible on the DS? Given Nintendo's recent crackdown on R4's, I wonder how long the R4 will be a viable option for homebrew?

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

Big Boss (7354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117967)

The DS can't be flashed without a hardware mod. There are two pads on the board you have to short out to be able to write to the firmware flash chip. Back when flashing was required for running homebrew with the old Slot-2 cards we used to have to put some metal tool in a hole and short those contacts to get the flash to write. Not needed with the slot-1 cards out now though. The new cards use a software hack of some kind.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

trytoguess (875793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117985)

The DS doesn't update it's firmware, and last I checked to do so required a person to void their warranty. This lack (probably to make the DS easier to use) is why R4, M3, and others can exist in the first place imo. It's unfortunately also the reason why the DS only supports WEP (homebrew firmware does exist that supports WPA last I checked).

Update: After a google check I notice the DS WPA firmware project no longer exists due to a cease and desist, ah well.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21123271)

FYI: The DS does indeed get firmware updates occasionally. Some games update the firmware when they run.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21127499)

I call BS. I've done some homebrew- not a lot, but enough that I read the gbadev forums regularly. I've never read of firmware updates before, and it seems like that would be a pretty huge topic. I've never seen a game tell me it was flashing the firmware, which seems like the sort of thing you would want to warn a user about; we'd hear a ton of pissed parents moaning because their kids turned off their DS while it was flashing otherwise. Third, if they could flash the DS, you would think that they would try to curb the cards like the R4DS, which would also be huge news. Forth, as has already been posted, in order to fully flash the device, you have to bridge two contacts on the board. The protected area is where all the interesting parts of the firmware are. They wouldn't be able to change a lot without these two contacts bridged.

What you may be thinking of is when the first WFC game was released (Mario Kart) the Wifi information was stored in a section of flash that was thought to be unused thusfar, which resulted in some trashed DS consoles.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134633)

Call BS all you want, but several of the first batch of DS games had firmware updates on them, primarily designed to block attempts to hack the system. Once we managed to bypass those protections and future-proof the flashing methods, Nintendo pretty much gave up on them, since they never added any features other than tightened security.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118557)

The R4 is what I would call a soft mod - the DS hardware and OS aren't changed, it's just a normally shaped cartridge that takes a standard Micro SD memory stick.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21117783)

You have caught my interest, sir. I've been wondering where to get info on and get into the homebrew universe. Mind if I ask where you picked yours up, and where to get more info on homebrew in general?

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21120011)

I bought my R4 at dealextreme. You can start learning about DS homebrew at dev-scene or gbadev.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

punkrockguy318 (808639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118217)

I'm a proud Supercard Lite owner. You speak of a homebrew e-reader; that would be infinitely useful. I've searched and haven't found much. Could you share you links for your nds ereader?

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118659)

Here's a link to DSreader which isn't too bad - http://www.dcemu.co.uk/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=68172 [dcemu.co.uk]

To tell you the truth I'm disappointed with all the DS ereaders I've tried because they don't support being held sideways like the Brain Age games. That's almost a dealbreaker for me. However, most support scrolling with the stylus which is quite precise and handy.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

Idolminds (547797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119307)

You might be interested in dslibris. Takes a little fiddling because it reads xhtml files, but it displays the text sideways like Brain Age. http://rhaleblian.wordpress.com/dslibris-an-ebook-reader-for-the-nintendo-ds/ [wordpress.com]

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21122259)

If it can display white text on a black background it'll be my dream ereader. Thanks for the link.

Speaking of ROMs (1)

gmezero (4448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118487)

Why the hell hasn't someone unwrapped the format used on the NES, TG-16, Genesis ROMs and figured out how to encode your own ROMs to run on the Wii?

Re:Speaking of ROMs (1)

mzs (595629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118745)

Because if you compare my copy of SMB to yours they are not equal and in fact are encrypted.

Re:Speaking of ROMs (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21123259)

The mythical "they" haven't even cracked the save game encryption on the Wii yet. The goal seems to be, "Crack saved game format so we can make fake saved games. Pass modded save game to various games till a buffer vulnerability is found. Use that vulnerability to get access to the firmware of the Wii."

From the looks of it, the downloaded stuff is encrypted like the saved games, then encrypted again to pair it with the particular Wii account that downloaded it. Look in the /. archive for last month, there was a story about Wii elliptic curve encryption. It doesn't look like an easy task at all, Nintendo must have really hated the homebrew scene that the DS has.

Re:Speaking of ROMs (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21129855)

I think they're mostly worried about any hack allowing the system to run warez, that homebrew gets blocked is a coincidence.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119579)

I own an EZ Flash V along with the 3-in-1. I'm intrigued by this wardriving application. Any hints as to where to find it?

DS Wifi Lib Test (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21120061)

DS Wifi Lib Test [akkit.org] lets you probe for 802.11b access points.

Re:DS Wifi Lib Test (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21120167)

Thanks a lot man! This makes my day. :D Of course, I will be using this for solely legitimate purposes!!!

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21122219)

I haven't tried it yet but the program I was referring to is DSBlue [qj.net] .

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21127565)

As a new owner of an R4DS micro SD cartridge I'm glad to report that homebrew on the DS is totally wicked.

May I ask where and how you bought it? I've been browsing their website [r4ds.com] and can't find how to buy. Their "Where to buy" page gives me a nice empty list on all 6 continents.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21128231)

I got it from Gamersection in Quebec. I placed the order on a Friday and received the part the following Monday (though I'm in Toronto which is quite nearby). I see the price has dropped $4 since I bought it last month!

http://www.gamersection.ca/product_info.php?products_id=372 [gamersection.ca]

The R4 comes with a MicroSD USB coupler, a mini CDROM with the firmware (very easy to install, but the web has the new version 1.11), and a nifty little keychain that holds 2 DS games.

All I needed in addition to the R4 was a MicroSD card. I bought a 2GB one for $50.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21128867)

Wow, Thanks. I expect having to import this from China or Hong Kong, but having it shipped from Montreal (to Montreal!) is pretty amazing.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130977)

Thanks, just ordered the R4 Revolution DS v2 along with a 1GB Kingston microSD from GamerSection.

Can't wait to see all the crazy apps people have been making... is there PDF viewers? Or at least picture viewers, I could export PDF pages to PNG or something with my Mac mini.

How about MOD/S3M/XM players?

That Wi-Fi sniffer program looks like a nice tool to carry around, especially if there's a basic browser available. I do own Opera DS but it'll be fun to see other options.

Re:DS homebrew rocks (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131823)

If it's not too late you might consider getting a bigger memory stick as I'm displeased with the inadequacy of my 2GB card. :)

I haven't checked into MOD players yet but I did find a very attractive MOD tracker called Nitrotracker. It's quite functional though it doesn't support effects yet. You'd do well to check out which has some (but not much) demoscene love for the DS. The "Flower Demo" is pretty attractive. [pouet.net]

Don't Forget DSLinux! (1)

SonnyJimATC (939056) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133721)

Linux on the DS is actually getting slightly useful if you have a Slot-2 card with GBA RAM on it. You get a wireless webserver, ftpd, telnetd, openvpn/ssh/telnet clients, a mature web browser (links) and I even managed to get clam-av running on it. It is suffering from a lack of developers recently though. http://www.dslinux.org/ [dslinux.org]

Re:Don't Forget DSLinux! (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133823)

You can turn your DS into an FTP server? That's wild! I'm gonna try this out an see if I can get Apache serving a web page!

Re:Don't Forget DSLinux! (1)

SonnyJimATC (939056) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133951)

I'm just compiling a new build now and I might suicidally post the link to my DS running boa (web server) just to see how many hits it can take before it blows up.

Re:Don't Forget DSLinux! (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135045)

Do it!!

Flash Carts are at least "tolerated" if not legal (4, Interesting)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117603)

I have a flash cart and guess where I bought it... Wal-Mart here in the US. It was a Datel branded "Max Media Player" and it had a NoPass-like device to put in Slot-1 and a Compact Flash card reader on the bottom, its not the greatest for homebrew as it doesn't contain any extra RAM, but I have a NES and SNES emulator working fine on it, along with a few homebrew games, I don't believe commercial games will run on it though, but recently I saw a Datel product "Games and Movies" that was another flash cart-like device. So they aren't as hard to come by as Nintendo makes you think they are.

NES emulation (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117627)

I would just like to point out that you can fit a copy of every single NES game from every country on Earth on a 256MB flash device. It's going to be pretty damned insulting when they try and pull $5 per game or something similar.

Re:NES emulation (1)

thesameguy (1047504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117735)

It's not how big the games are, it's what you do with them.

Re:NES emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21117751)

I'm pretty sure you're wrong about that.

I have an extensive rom collection (manually collected about 8 years ago, not one of those p2p packages) and I'm well over 256 MB. I don't have dupes, but I do have US and JAP versions of the same game (slightly different gameplay. eg, Super Mario 3).

Re:NES emulation (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117819)

Every NES game ever made weighs in at 255MB with nothing more than standard zip compression.

Re:NES emulation (1)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119163)

And since only 5% of those are worth playing...

Re:NES emulation (1)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21123679)

I'm interested in where you get this information. I have a feeling you have an incomplete game list.

Re:NES emulation (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117925)

You're absolutely correct. My collection is 870 megs, brought down from almost 2 gigs. I'd say that's a bit bigger than 256 megs.

Re:NES emulation (1)

GlitchCog (1016986) | more than 6 years ago | (#21121649)

Bill Gate's checking account number and PIN can probably fit on a 3.5 inch floppy disk, but I bet it's worth an awful lot despite its tiny size.

The real motive... (1)

FataL187 (1100851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117701)

I knew that the rumors that nintendo was planning there own flash cart for the DS were probably true when nintendo started raiding manufactures of other flash cards. I personally own a RD4 and love it. The homebrew scene on the DS rocks and not to mention the fact that I can load all my DS games onto one cart and not have to carry extra crap around to play everything rules.

I also hate buying a game and hating it so if I can DL it and try it out first all the better. Plus being a collector I can buy the game leave it factory sealed and still play the copy I downloaded. If I like the game I will support the company and but it but if it's crap and I am only going to play it for a few min then I have no problem dl'ing a copy for that purpose.

-Fatal187

Re:The real motive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21117823)

There is no way in hell you are buying the game after you already played it then leaving it lying around still factory sealed. That's the biggest load of crap I've read on /. in a long time, and that's really saying something.

Re:The real motive... (1)

FataL187 (1100851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118107)

Dude you have no fucking clue, there are dozens of games that I own multiple copies of factory sealed. It's an investment several games on ebay got for $500+ sealed.

It's an investment, I also have a factory sealed NES, SNES, Master System, Gameboy, Atari Jaguar, Atari Lynx ect...

I collect everything to do with games so don't tell me what I have and don't have. If I don't have to open a copy to play it it simply adds value to my collection and saves me a bit of money.

So STFU..

-FataL

Re:The real motive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21122633)

So let me get this straight. You...
  1. Download a game.
  2. If you like it then you buy it as an investment, not to play.
  3. Wait several years.
  4. Hope to sell it on ebay for 10x what you paid.
If this is your retarded plan then why do you need to download the game in the first place? So what if you like the game or not, if you are buying it as an invesestment just to sell it later why would you care if you like it or not? It's an investment. You sell whatever you can sell for more later. It's ... an ... investment.

On another note how can you justify buying a game you never open, as an investment, to cover the fact that you downloaded and already played the game? That makes no sense. Let me explain this to you, say I want to buy 10 apples, for an investment. But I only want to buy the apples, as an investment, if I like them. So I steal 5 of them from the guy I'm going to buy them from if I like them. I eat them, they are good so I buy 10, as an investment. Then I sell them to someone else. Now even if I sell it at the same price I bought it for (and you are selling it for more, because after all, it was an investment) then I somehow still got 5 free apples out of it. Yeah.. that's stealing. You can not justify stealing the 5 apples just because you bought 10.

Re:The real motive... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21129923)

He downloads them to have fun, he buys them for profit. Completely independent actions.

Wii crossing (1)

tyrantking31 (1115607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21117787)

They're still trying to figure out what type of game animal crossing should be on the Wii? That is seriously dis-heartening.

But would it be ACPG or ACWW? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21120099)

They're still trying to figure out what type of game animal crossing should be on the Wii?
Of course they are. Half the people on AXA forums [megadoomer.com] think Animal Crossing Population Growing (for Nintendo GameCube) is better. The other half think Animal Crossing Wild World (for Nintendo DS) is better.

How easiest and cheapest to get Colors!? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118205)

After finding it in a Slashdot comment, I really want to play with the Colors! painting program [collectingsmiles.com] . What's the quickest way to get that up and running, assuming that I know absolutely nothing about DS homebrew?

Easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118393)

Just buy an R4 + microSD card, install the R4DS software onto the microSD card (it comes with it on a cd) and then copy whatever apps, games, music, etc you want onto the microSD card. Put the microSD card into the R4, put the R4 into your DS, and turn it on.

Re:How easiest and cheapest to get Colors!? (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118463)

Colors uses DLDI, so it's slightly more involved than some other apps, but briefly: Get some sort of flash cart (I've used the M3 DS Simply), get a microSD card if necessary, format the card if necessary, follow the instructions that came with the cart for files that need to be copied to the flash, download Colors and a DLDI patcher, run the Colors NDS file through the DLDI patcher, copy the output file to the flash, put the card in the cart (if necessary), put the cart in the DS, turn it on, select your app from the menu, and enjoy.

Ignore this nonsense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118729)

DLDL patching is only needed for shitty cards. Just get an R4 so everything will work with no patching or dicking around needed.

Re:Ignore this nonsense. (1)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21127203)

The R4s and M3s and the like haven't always included automatic DLDI patching. Sure, if the GGP buys a new R4/M3/Cyclo, then he'll be fine, but the GP is trying to cater to a wider audience.

Re:Ignore this nonsense. (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21127323)

Wrong. DLDI patching is needed for EVERY homebrew that uses DLDI (which are most of the new ones, thankfully.) Just because some might offer an R4 already-patched download doesn't mean that the R4 is some magical card that plays everything without the driver patched in.

Re:Ignore this nonsense. (1)

TXGB324 (685941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131561)

No, you're wrong. Newer version of the firmware for both the R4 and the M3 (and presumably other flash carts) will auto-DLDI patch homebrew apps that you run on them.

Re:Ignore this nonsense. (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133057)

Well, it's still being patched, even if it's automatically. Can we both be right? ;-)

Re:How easiest and cheapest to get Colors!? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21129235)

download Colors and a DLDI patcher, run the Colors NDS file through the DLDI patcher

I'm asking here for the benefit of everyone else who's scratching their heads at this question:

What is DLDI, why do I need to patch something with it, and why can't the people who are distributing the software put "dldipatch foo" in their Makefile as the last step in compilation so that everyone else doesn't have to do it?

Re:How easiest and cheapest to get Colors!? (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130351)

As I understand it,
1) It's a layer for accessing FAT filesystems
2) The patcher is acting essentially as a linker, patching in the correct code for whichever sort of device you have
3) This is necessary because there isn't any code to do dynamic linking onboard the DS (and a dynamic loader, if written, would probably be a serious waste of memory)

MMORPG or Animal Crossing: Visitors (2, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21121789)

One wonders if this is just a chrome PR spin on the original plans to have Animal Crossing on the Wii have an online component that allows you to visit your friend's villages, or is it more of an attempt to allow multiple players to all take trains to the next town so they can whap the locals with their nets?

The main question - are we talking true MMORPG or are we talking multi-instance MMO where each time I visit your village it's a virtual copy, so that I can't jack your fruit (the stuff is always nailed down, even though you can turn it on or off)?

Obvious flaws with an Animal Crossing MMO (1)

Vacardo (1048640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21124459)

Having paid off two mortgages to that crazy raccoon, I can safely say that this MMO rumor is a dud:

1.) The fun of 'time-travel' would be ruined as all players would be forced to go by a standardised PST.
2.) The novelty of owning your own house, mixed in with other players, sort of demotes this to a Animal-Second Life.
3.) Friend-codes: Yeah, I'm sure that won't cause any problems here... I really don't expect kid-safety-first Nintendo to stop using this anti-pedo measure anytime soon, and probably won't make an exception here.

Nintendo are always the innovators of this market. Why would they try and imitate an existing engine just to try and make more dollars?

Re:Timetravel (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21127559)

Time traveling is is pretty much cheating, and like all forms of cheating, the 'fun' wears off pretty quickly for most people. I wouldn't exactly call 'lack of being able to cheat' a flaw in the MMO idea.

Friend Codes & patching (1)

crafton (1166353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21127555)

I hope they do drop the friend code system and allow people to interact freely online. The biggest problem is though, will they continue support for the game once it has been released? I reckon once a few exploits have been found it will just ruin the game for everybody. Nintendo need to allow their games to be patched.

Rumored? (1)

Lordnerdzrool (884216) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131555)

Rumored? Where? It can only be a rumor if it has actually been talked about. I am curious as to if this was actually "rumored" or if it was blind "speculation" or even ignorant "wishful thinking."

Starting with Animal Crossing, what on earth would make Nintendo change its position on online gaming so much as to make it a MMO of any kind? They barely let you play with people at random over the Internet. The only times they do, they usually remove anything that could establish communication between users who don't know each other. It is incredibly unlikely that a game that they advertise for children's use be the first game that allows users to communicate with anyone as they want in a MMO fashion. This seems almost like the rumors about the Revolution, before it was really announced, where people believed it would be some virtual reality system that allows you to create your own games and weird stuff of that nature. Based on the interviews I have seen with the creators of the series, they only added "lame" online support to support Wii's features, such as the bulletin board connecting to Wii's bulletin board, etc. I can't even see where the developers have once even hinted at the possibility of going beyond that. The article links to no new interviews where anything like this was made.

As far as the DS card, again, I have searched all over the web and there isn't even a hint that they are considering such a thing, other than people talking about the "rumor" the article's author probably started to begin with. And to be honest, I don't see it happening for two key reasons:

1) If it is released, and older Gameboy games can be downloaded, Nintendo will have officially killed the Gameboy brand once and for all, eliminating the "third branch" explanation of the DS. The reason the DS can't play Gameboy games was not a technical limitation, but an artificial one that they put on the system so they could ensure that if the DS failed, the Gameboy brand would be untarnished. The DS is not the successor of the GBA, and this seems to suggest that they are planing to make it one. By giving the Gameboy to DS, they have killed the Gameboy off once and for all.

2) I don't expect Nintendo to suddenly turn the tides against what they have advocated for more than a decade. The idea that they are going to suddenly support homebrew is fantasy. It is not Nintendo-like to suddenly accept something of that nature until it is proven to be in their financial benefit. Even though we like to think of Nintendo as the company that will take chances (such as with Wii) to be honest, they aren't. Look at Nintendo 64 where they stubbornly stood by cartridges and Gamecube where they stood stubbornly against online gaming. They tend to stick by their policies only until Sony or Microsoft kick their butts for doing so. Nintendo probably won't adopt support for homebrew not only until Sony and Microsoft have, but also had their asses served to them on a silver platter for not doing so. The tides are not flowing in that direction.

I don't know where this "rumor" started, but my guess is that the rumor started with the article linked to. Neither of these things are very likely at all, just by looking at Nintendo's past, and the fact that they won't be willing to take such a risk now they are the alpha dog of the console developers.
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