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A man stands behind a podium, talking to the audience. Next to him is a projection screen displaying a presentation program slide.
Kuwahara discussed DSi's creation at the 2009 Game Developers Conference.
Development of the Nintendo DSi started at the end of 2006. It was the first time Masato Kuwahara of Nintendo's Development Engineering Department served as a hardware project leader. Work went at a quick pace to meet deadlines; his team had to devise a theme for the new DS in time for a late December presentation, and by February 2007, most specifications for a chipset had to be completed. Kuwahara reported that his team had difficulty determining the potential market for the handheld during the design process; he said of their goal, "We have to be able to sell the console on its own [without games at launch]. It also has to be able to meld into the already-existing DS market." The console's digital cameras were considered early in development: Nintendo president and Chief Executive Officer Satoru Iwata described the touchscreen as the Nintendo DS's sense of touch, and the microphone as its "ears"; a co-worker suggested that it should have "eyes". Kuwahara's team originally wanted one camera with a swivel mechanism, but this was abandoned due to concerns of reliability, cost, and the need of a thicker console. Owing to consumer demand, Nintendo also improved the handhelds' volume and audio quality and made it slimmer with larger screens compared to the Nintendo DS Lite. However, to improve portability without sacrificing durability, the GBA cartridge slot present on earlier models was removed. To compensate, Nintendo continued to support the DS Lite as long as there was consumer demand for it.
"I made the presentation [...] then at the end asked everyone if this was a game system they would want to own. The result was three to seven. Three people wanted it, seven didn't. And I imagine that since one of the designers was standing right there in front of them, some of them held back their true opinion. In truth, it was probably more like one to nine. It was as bad as I had feared."
— Kuwahara on Nintendo EAD's reaction to the original DSi designs.