For Christmas this year, my amazing girlfriend gave me a Nintendo DS Lite. It's my first portable video game in ages and I (we both actually) love it. But the one thing I'm not so wild about are game cartridges. Initially the cartridges were quaint, but now they just seem inefficient and annoying. Nintendo should really offer DS games downloads and a way to load a bunch of games on a single cartridge. Actually something like that already exists, sort of...
With a little hunting on your favorite search engine, you'll find these nifty DS cartridges that have a slot for a microSD memory card. You can then "find" games on the interwebs, download them to a microSD card, which slides into the DS cartridge, and then you can play the downloaded game just like normal on your DS. Apparently DS games are pretty small so you can fit several games on a 1GB microSD card, and the days of carrying a bunch of cartridges could be behind you. The problem is, this isn't exactly legal. Which begs the question, why doesn't Nintendo provide a legal way to download DS games?Nintendo already created the Wii Shop Channel for buying and downloading games on the Wii, and they could do the same thing for the DS. Nintendo could create a cartridge with a "DS Online Game Shop" application and lots of storage for downloaded games. The "DS Game Shop" application would provide access to an online store of DS games where you can browse, buy and download games right to the cartridge. Being able to shop on the DS would be great when traveling and for impulse buys. The Game Shop could offer free demos of games so you could try before you buy. Also this method could mitigate piracy because computers can't read DS cartridges without special hardware.
Alternatively, Nintendo could implement the same model as the pirates. You buy and download games on your computer, then transfer them to the DS. A cartridge that reads a micro SD card seems to work well and offers great compatibility and simplicity. The catch is that because a computer would have to be able to view and copy the downloaded game it makes it really vulnerable to piracy. So with this method Nintendo would probably have to implement some form of copy protection.
If the rumors of an updated DS Lite are true, maybe we'll see something like this coincide with it's release. Perhaps the new DS lite will have lots of internal storage for games and a online shopping functionality.