What does DS stand for in Nintendo DS? Explained

It has more than one meaning.

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Nintendo released its third handheld console in 2004, the global favorite Nintendo DS. The two-screen console is still beloved by the 2000s generation, but even two decades after its launch, many fans don’t know what the DS stands for. Spoiler: The DS has had more than one meaning.

The Nintendo DS is the world’s most successful console with more than 150 million units sold, followed by the PlayStation 2, and the Nintendo Switch, which has sold more than 120 million units.

The console was different from everything in the console market. It had two separate LCD screens, the bottom one being a touchscreen, had a built-in microphone, was Nintendo’s first handheld to support a Wi-Fi connection, and even had backwards compatibility with Game Boy Advance games.

The two meanings for the DS in Nintendo DS

Many assume that the DS in Nintendo DS stands for Dual Screen because the two screens in the console stand out among the competitors. It makes sense and Nintendo has gone along with that definition, but it originally meant Developers’ System.

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Nintendo once answered that question in a customer support question. They have removed the page from their official website, but you can find it on Wayback Machine. The developers believed that game creators could be more innovative with the console, hence the “Developers’ System”.

But they also admit that “It can also stand for ‘Dual Screen.’” In the end, the meaning of the DS was in the hands of the players and not the developers.

Related: Nintendo aiming for “smooth transition” of player accounts to Switch 2

The Nintendo DS successors played around with the 3D and 2D definitions as Nintendo launched the Nintendo 3DS in 2011 and the Nintendo 2DS in 2013.

About the author

Nádia Linhares

Nádia is a Brazilian freelance writer who works for Dot since 2020. She has covered everything from Pokémon to FIFA. Video games are an essential part of her life, especially indie games and RPGs. You can catch her playing Overwatch in her spare time, but she writes better than she aims.

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