Dec. 29, 2010 at 4:35 PM ET
Nintendo is warning parents that its forthcoming 3-D portable game machine may not be appropriate for the youngest gamers. More specifically, that no one under 6 years old should play 3-D games on it.
Earlier this year, Nintendo announced that it was working on a successor to its massively successful Nintendo DS handheld game machine. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo, they showed off the 3DS, a device that lets gamers play games in 3-D but without the use of special glasses.
The gadget is scheduled to go on sale in Japan on Feb. 26 for about $300 and will launch in North America and other areas in March. Nintendo is in the midst of preparing to show the 3DS to the Japanese public for the first time at next month's at the Nintendo World event. In advance of the event, the company issued the warning about children and 3-D via this web site.
Game site Kotaku.com translated the page and reports that it warns that 3-D viewing causes quicker eye fatigue than standard screen viewing, and says that since the vision of young children is still in developmental stages, the company recommends children under six not use the 3DS's 3-D screen effect.
This warning follows comments made by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, who told gaming site Kotaku.com, "We will recommend that very young children not look at 3-D images," he said. "That's because, [in] young children, the muscles for the eyes are not fully formed."
He pointed out that this is the same message that's being passed on by the movie industry as well.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, Sony issued very similar warnings about playing 3-D games (with the glasses) on the PlayStation 3 console.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America recommends that you "consult your doctor (such as a pediatrician or eye doctor) before allowing young children to watch 3-D video images or play stereoscopic 3-D games."
But there's good news for young Nintendo fans: The 3DS will come with a slider that lets players adjust the amount of 3-D they see in a game. The 3-D effects can be completely turned off for youngest players, and Nintendo executives have said the device will include parental controls for keeping the 3-D turned off.
Really, this is good news for parents of young gamers: The good ol' non-3-D Nintendo DS or DSi will do your kids just fine until they're old enough for the third dimension ... and will cost you a whole lot less to buy.
(Thanks to Kotaku for the heads up.)