Finally Nintendo gave a complete rundown on the 3DS handheld console. It will launch on February 26 in Japan and a month later in the U.S. Nintendo said its 3-D capable handheld will cost 25,000 yen, which is a little less than U.S. $300, in Japan but failed to give a price for the American market. The device will come in aqua blue or black finishes. Unlike viewing 3-D movies or television, a special pair of glasses is not required to play the 3DS, which looks similar to the Nintendo DS but has screens on each upper and bottom side. “Nintendo has been thinking that hand-held devices have many more advantages when approaching 3-D games,” said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata at a news conference in Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture.
Nintendo have also revealed the final design of the 3DS and some other delicious tidbits that many of you have been hoping for. The final design is almost identical to what was shown at E3, with the only noticeable difference being a white slide pad, as opposed to one the same colour as the console itself. The console will also come packaged with a charging dock, AC charger, 2gb SD card, six augmented reality cards and stylus. It will also have a built in motion sensor and gyroscope, will be Wi-Fi capable, just like the current generation and will be completely backwards compatible with current DS games.
While the 3.53-inch upper screen displays 3-D images, the 3.02-inch bottom screen is used to take touch-screen commands from the stylus. Users of the 3DS can adjust the sense of 3-D depth with the “3-D volume” slide and play 2-D games by turning the 3-D tuner off. The device also comes with Wi-Fi. While the device is likely to create a big buzz next year, Iwata stressed that the 3DS won’t be a sure-fire hit because of the difficulty in promoting 3-D products to consumers.
Another major feature of the new device is its “surechigai tsushin,” an enhanced communication network that allows players to exchange information on the games they are playing. The DS is only able to connect with other DSs when they are playing the same game, but 3DSs can connect with other 3DSs even when in sleep mode, Nintendo said.
Nintendo 3DS will apparently have a kind of multitasking, too, where users can save the state of an app while switching to another. This allows gamers to effectively leave a game running and return to it seamlessly after launching an app. There are also significant efforts to link Nintendo 3DS owners. For instance, the device can collect and view Mii avatars from other 3DS owners who are nearby, even if the 3DS is in sleep mode. Games can interact with other 3DS owners, too.
Nintendo is hoping the 3DS can put the company back on track after seeing sales plummet for its Wii video-game console and DS portables. In making Wednesday’s product announcement, the company slashed by more than half its forecast for net profits in the fiscal year that runs through March 2011 and cut it sales forecast by 21%. The company now expects profits of 90 billion yen, or roughly $1.1 billion at today exchange rate. Nintendo’s previous forecast was for 200 billion yen.
The 3DS in Japan will sell for 25,000 yen, or $298. The device is able to create the 3D illusion in games and images through a filter over its 3.5-inch display that sends slightly different images to the viewer’s right and left eye. The 3D screen can go to 2D mode by moving a slider switch near the display.