Nintendo’s new portable gaming console 3DS that features an autostereoscopic 3D display, meaning that no glasses are needed to see the 3D effect, is going to be hitting the market at the end of March. Nintendo has just officially announced the release dates and pricing of the Nintendo 3DS consoles and according to the company it will be available in Europe on March 25th with a price of €249.99 (Euro) and on March 27th for $249.99 USD in North America and this comes a month after the Japanese release date of the 3D console that will happen on February 26th with a price of ¥25,000 (Japanese Yens).
Initially the Nintendo 3DS system will be available in either Cosmos Black or Aqua Blue color with more colors probably to come at a later time. The console uses two screens with the lower one being a touch sensitive one and the upper one being the autostereoscopic 3D one. The depth of the stereo 3D images being displayed on the screen while playing games in 3D mode can be adjusted with the help of a physical slider and you can even disable the 3D mode and getting the game “flattened” just like if you played it on a 2D screen (this is actually the 2D mode of the console). And besides a 3D-capable screen the 3DS console also comes with dual cameras allowing you to take photos in stereoscopic 3D format (there is also a third camera pointing at the user), but so far you will not be able to record videos in 3D with these two cameras (this functionality may come as a future update).
The Nintendo 3DS console will be able to take advantage of augmented reality technology and it comes with six augmented-reality cards, called AR Cards. When the two outer cameras are pointed at these cards, they can be recognized by the console and it can superimpose images and animations onto the scene. Developers will also be able to use this technology to add creative new experiences to their games.
The 3DS comes with built-in Parental Controls that can be used to limit Internet access or some of the wireless functions and by using a PIN code, parents also can turn off the 3D function altogether, or limit the ratings of the games that their kids can play. The parental control feature is important for concerned parents that want to limit the 3D functionality of the console so that too smaller children won’t be able to use it.
During the launch window (between the launch date and the E3 Expo in early June) more than 30 games will be available to Nintendo 3DS owners. These include Nintendo-created games like Pilotwings Resort, which has players soaring acrobatically over iconic Wuhu Island; nintendogs + cats, a new version of the Nintendo DS classic with a feline enhancement; Steel Diver, a side-scrolling submarine adventure that gives the illusion that the player is peering into an aquarium. Other Nintendo 3DS games in the works include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Star Fox 64 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising and new installments in the Mario Kart, Animal Crossing and Paper Mario series.
More details are already available on Nintendo’s official website, so you can also check it out.
– For the most eager Amazon is already taking pre-orders for the Nintendo 3DS console…
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This is how the new Nintendo 3DS will look like, of course with different color variations and not just blue as it was show in Nindendo’s presentation during E3. The 3DS has got an analog stick, a directional pad, four main action buttons and select, home and start control buttons and of course the power button. But there is one more interesting button on the top part of the console and that is the 3D Depth Slider that will allow you to control the level of depth you get displayed on the 3D screen. And the top screen is 3,5-inches with widescreen format (16:9) and 3D-capable, of course using an autostereoscopic display technology not requiring you to wear glasses to see the stereo 3D image. The smaller display on the bottom part is 2D only and in 4:3 aspect ratio with a touchscreen for additional level of control, and there is no touch panel on the top screen as it seems that 3D and Touch functionality still don’t go so well together. There is a WiFi functionality, but it will be just for new content download and maybe game to game console communication, although additional functionality may be added like a web browser for example.
Nintendo 3DS now has a motion sensor and a gyro, two built-in cameras or maybe you can actually say three as there is one camera on the inside (top center of the console), and two camera lenses on the outside that will allow you to take 3D photos. The interaxial distance between the two lenses on the outside 3D camera seems smaller, but it is most likely around 5-6 centimeters form what I can judge, so it should be Ok even when taking photos of closer objects, although still not close enough for macro. Yet another nice extra functionality, although no word on photo resolution and image quality as well as if it will also support 3D video recording or it will be only for taking 3D photos.
The graphic performance has also been improved over the previous generation of DS as it is to be expected in order to have good stereo 3D support, but besides better graphics and in stereo 3D the new 3DS will also be usable for viewing 3D movies. Probably with the first 3D title available How To Train Your Dragon from DreamWorks with other Hollywood studios to follow. The game studios backing up the new hand-held console are also joining the 3D party with big names like Activision, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Konami, Sega, Square Enix, THQ, Ubisoft already in the list along with a few more of course.
So the new Nintendo 3DS will be like a Nintendo Wii that fits in your hand, with a graphics at the level of that available on the Wii and in stereo 3D. But besides a portable console you’ll also get a 3D movie player and a 3D photo camera all in one portable device which doesn’t sound bad at all. Now all we need is a bit more technical details like specifications and then also the pricing and availability of the 3DS, but it is still a bit too early for that.
Update: Some of the specs were published on the official 3DS website…
– The top 3D screen is 3.53-inch with 800×240 pixel resolution, which is actually 400×240 per eye for the 3D of the autostereoscopic display.
– The bottom 3.02-inch LCD is with 320×240 pixel resolution and a touch screen functionality.
– Both the inner camera and two outer cameras are with 640×480 (0.3 Mp) resolution.
– The 3D Depth Slider used to adjust the level of 3D effect can also be turned off completely to disable the 3D effect, but why would you want to do that.
– The 3DS will be available in three colors: blue, red and black.
– The size is 5.3 inches wide, 2.9 inches long, 0.8 inches tall (13.5×7.4×2 cm).
– The weight of the console is around 8 ounces (230 grams).
Now a bit more about the wireless functionality that may even cause some privacy concerns due to the fact that even when the console is not in use and is in sleep mode it can still use the wireless to communicate with other consoles or get data from the internet. The WiFi module is using the 2.4 GHz band allowing the Nintendo 3DS to connect via a local wireless connection to let users communicate or enjoy competitive game play. Systems also can connect to LAN access points to access the Internet and allow people to enjoy games with others, supports IEEE 802.11 with enhanced security (WPA/WPA2). And there seems to be a button to disable wireless…
– For more information visit the official E3 Nintendo 3DS website…
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