Thursday, September 30, 2010
Nintendo 3DS comin’ at ya, starting in February
Sorry, DS fans, but if you were looking to get your hands on Nintendo’s hotly anticipated 3D gaming handheld in time for the holidays, you’ll just have to wait. But the wait may well be worth it.
Nintendo announced early Wednesday that the Nintendo 3DS, which boasts a 3.53-inch 3-D display that doesn’t require glasses, will arrive in Japan on Feb. 26 and in the U.S., Europe and Australia sometime in March.
Nintendo also announced the Japanese price for the portable 3-D gaming console: 25,000 yen, equivalent to about $298. (If that sounds outrageous, keep in mind that pricing for the overseas market is rarely a simple matter of exchange rates. I’m guessing the final U.S. price will be more or less in line with previous DS models.)
For the record, Nintendo had never said it would release the 3DS in time for the holidays. But many gamers and industry types figured that the gaming titan might time the handheld’s release to compete with Sony’s Move and Microsoft’s Kinect motion controllers this fall — and as PC World points out, Nintendo launched its previous DS and DSi systems during the holiday shopping period.
While hard-core DS gamers and early adopters might be bummed by the news, I certainly don’t view the February/March release dates for the 3DS as a setback for Nintendo. I’m guessing that the 3-D handheld will be another triumph for the gaming giant (which has begun to see sales of its Wii and older DS consoles taper off after years of dominating the charts).
After all, 3-D without glasses is the holy grail of 3-D technology, and early eyes-on reports of the 3DS’s glass-less 3-D display have been overwhelmingly positive. I can’t wait to lay eyes on it myself.
Nintendo also released some final specs for the 3DS, which (as reported by Kotaku and CVG) will weigh in at 8 ounces and measure 5.3 by 2.9 by 0.8 inches when closed, almost precisely the same dimensions of the current DSi.
As for the 3.53-inch top screen, which comes fitted with a special filter for the 3-D effect (a slider control will let you adjust the depth of the image, all the way back down to 2D if you like), it’ll come with a display resolution of 800 by 240, or 400 pixels for each eye. The touch- (or rather, stylus-) sensitive 3.02-inch bottom screen will have a resolution of 302 by 240 pixels.
The 3DS comes armed with dual 0.3MP cameras for taking 3-D photos (there’s also a third, internal camera for self-portraits), while stereo speakers will flank the top 3-D display. Wi-Fi for downloading games and trading game data with fellow 3DS gamers is a given, as is the slot for DS games (no repeat of Sony’s UMD-less PSP Go debacle). There's also a slot for SD memory cards.
3-D-enabled launch titles for the 3DS will include Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater, Nintendodogs + cats, and "Resident Evil: Revelations, while Game Boy fans will appreciate the 3DS’s "virtual console" emulator for old Game Boy titles.
All in all, pretty cool. I only wish the Nintendo 3DS could arrive in the States a little sooner. In the meantime, here’s a video of the 3DS’s debut at the E3 gaming conference in June to tide us over: