Nintendo's 3DS game gadget has had a rough go of it since launching in March. On Friday, however, the company unveiled some new features designed to give the handheld device a much-needed boost as the all-important holiday shopping season nears.
Leveraging the thing that makes the Nintendo 3DS stand out from all other game devices — its ability to display 3-D images without requiring the viewer to wear special glasses — Nintendo will release a system update in November that allows 3DS owners to record up to 10 minutes of 3-D video. The update will also let them create their own stop-motion animation videos.
Nintendo also announced that the Hulu Plus streaming video service will be available on both the 3DS and the Wii. Of course, as is the case with Hulu on any device, you'll have to pay a $7.99 monthly subscription to the company in order to have access to their catalog of streaming TV programming.
"Nintendo 3DS continues to evolve with great new features and functions designed to reinforce its position as a premiere entertainment device," Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said in a press release. "All of these features, in addition to great upcoming games ... make Nintendo 3DS a smart gift option this holiday season."
In addition to the 3-D video and Hulu boost, Nintendo announced several new 3-D-focused games and apps that will soon be available for download via Nintendo's online eShop.
- 'Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive!' will let players create and customize creatures and bring them to 3-D life and will be available in November for $6.99.
- 'Pushmo' is a 3-D game launching in December that asks players to solve puzzles by pulling and pushing blocks. Players can also create their own custom puzzles.
- 'Swapnote' is an app that will give Nintendo 3DS owners the chance to send 3D messages to their 3DS-owning friends. It will be Available for free in December.
- 'Dillon’s Rolling Western' is a 3-D tower defense game coming early 2012 that stars an armadillo who defends an Old West town by rolling over his enemies.
You can see these games and apps in action at Nintendo's site here.
Earlier this year, I chatted with Nintendo president Fils-Aime and he acknowledged that Nintendo had made some mistakes in how it handled the launch of the 3DS. In part, the company needed to have more big first-party games and digital offerings ready to go when the machine arrived, he said.
Nintendo has spent the last few months trying to correct those missteps. After finding itself forced to slash the price of the 3DS from $250 to $170 in July, the company has been rolling out new features and games for the 3DS in an attempt to bolster interest in the product (the highly anticipated "Super Mario 3D Land" arrives Nov. 13).
Nintendo clearly hopes to enhance and highlight the 3DS' unique 3-D features — something that grows more important each day as rival Sony prepares to launch its competing handheld game machine (the PlayStation Vita) in February.
For more game news, check out:
- PlayStation Vita jumps into the game in February
- Down but not out: Nintendo shoots for 3DS comeback
- Will new 3-D video service boost Nintendo 3DS sales?
- Harrison Ford channels Indiana Jones for 'Uncharted 3'
Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things here on Twitter or join her in the stream here on Google+. And be sure to check out the In-Game Facebook page here.