Jan. 19, 2011 at 10:56 AM ET
Nintendo has announced that it will begin selling the new Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming device on March on 27th and that it will carry a price tag of $249.99.
The gadget will not only play video games in 3-D without requiring users to wear special glasses, it will also be able to take 3-D photographs and display them on its screen.
At a press conference in New York on Wednesday, Nintendo also announced that more than 30 games will be available to Nintendo 3DS owners between the launch date and early June.
"Nintendo 3DS is a category of one – the experience simply doesn’t exist anywhere else," said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "You have to see Nintendo 3DS to believe it. And it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before."
This latest handheld game device from Nintendo – a follow-up to their extremely successful Nintendo DS and DSi game machines – will have two screens like the previous DS. The bottom screen will be a touch screen and the top screen will be able to display 3-D images...as well as 2-D images. A "depth-slider" will allow players to adjust the level of 3-D they see.
As for the 3-D still pictures, the 3DS will come with three cameras built-in: one camera points at the player, while two additional cameras point outward. The two outward cameras allow users to take their own 3-D photos.
Marc Franklin, director of public relations for Nintendo America, said the 3DS will also be able to play 3-D videos but he said the company is not currently discussing what that would mean and how those videos would be delivered to the 3DS.
Recently, there have been conflicting reports about the affect 3-D video and game viewing might have on young children's eyes. Nintendo is advising parents not have children younger than 6 years old play the machine in 3-D. In addition to the slider control, which can switch the game into 2-D mode, the device also includes parental controls that allow adults to turn off the 3-D visuals all together.
Beyond the 3-D capabilities, the 3DS will also have a built-in motion sensor and gyro sensor to sense the movement and tilt of the device (similar to what iPhone and iPod Touch devices currently have). The 3DS will also include a Circle Pad — in addition to the Control Pad and button controls found on current Nintendo handhelds — which provides 360 degrees of directional control in a game.
When it launches in March, the Nintendo 3DS will be available in Aqua Blue or Cosmo Black and will come pre-loaded with several games and applications.
One application allows players to use the 3DS as a pedometer and earn coins for how many steps they take. The coins can be traded in for additional content. Meanwhile, the Mii Maker application will let players create Mii avatars or import their Mii characters from their Wii game systems. The application will even be able to create a Mii from a photo the player takes of themselves using the 3DS camera.
The 3DS also will come packaged with six augmented-reality cards. Players simply lay the cards on a table, for example, and then point the two outer cameras at the cards. Looking at the table "through" the 3DS screen it will appear that animations come to life right there in the room with you. For a look at how it works, check out this video from our partners at Kotaku:
For those who own current-model Nintendo DS devices, the 3DS will be able to play your DS game cards with their original 2-D visuals. And using a service that will be provided after the hardware’s launch, players who own a Nintendo DSi or DSi XL will be able to transfer games they downloaded from the online Nintendo DSi Shop to their new 3DS.
Franklin said Nintendo will continue to support and sell the less-expensive Nintendo DSi and DSi XL game machines. The company dropped the price on the machines in August to $150 and $170 respectively.
As for the games that will be available first, Nintendo said they will launch "Pilotwings Resort," an acrobatic flying game; "Nintendogs + Cats," a new version of the best-selling Nintendo DS pet simulation game; and "Steel Diver," a side-scrolling submarine adventure "that gives the illusion that the player is peering into an aquarium."
Coming in the months after the launch window, Nintendo will be introducing new versions of previous hit games for the 3DS. "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" — the beloved classic originally launched in 1998 — will be playable in 3-D and will also include new motion control elements as well. "Star Fox 64" (originally launched in 1997) will get the 3-D treatment as well.
"Nintendo has this rich catalog of games and characters and we're carefully selecting each one and determining which ones would have the greatest opportunity to be put in a 3-D environment," Franklin said. "But we're not just putting them into a 3-D environment, we're actually remastering the whole game and really enhancing the gameplay experience."
Nintendo is also working on 3-D games "Kid Icarus: Uprising" and new installments in the "Mario Kart," "Animal Crossing" and "Paper Mario" series.
As for 3DS titles coming "soon" from third-party game companies, Nintendo announced the following: "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked" from Atlus; "Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition" and "Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D" from Capcom; "Madden NFL Football" from EA SPORTS; "The Sims 3" from Electronic Arts; "Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D" from Konami; "LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars" from LucasArts; "Ridge Racer 3D" and "Dual Pen Sports" from Namco Bandai Games America Inc.; "Super Monkey Ball 3D," "Thor: God of Thunder" and "Crush 3D" from Sega; "Bust-A-Move Universe" from Square Enix; "Samurai Warriors Chronicles" and "Dead or Alive Dimensions" from Tecmo; and "Asphalt 3D," "Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars," "Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D," "Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D," "Rayman 3D" and "Rabbids Travel in Time" all from Ubisoft.
For more on this topic, check out:
Doctors say 3-D not so bad for young eyes after all
Nintendo drops DSi and DSi XL prices $20
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