Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nintendo's 3DS: The System Itself

This past Wednesday, Nintendo held two press conferences, one in Amsterdam and one in New York, focused entirely on the upcoming release of the Nintendo 3DS, including its price and launch date (which we conveniently placed at the end of this article).

The Nintendo 3DS, for those unaware, is the next generation of Nintendo's handhelds, focusing around a 3D display which can be seen without the use of glasses. The top screen specifically displays 3D imaging without glasses needed. Unlike movies whose 3D effects are fixed, the 3D in 3DS games can be toggled in strength using the 3D Slider, and it can even be turned off if players find the 3D tiring on the eyes or prefer benefits to 2D game display. The bottom screen is a standard touch screen, in order to help backwards compatibility with both DS and DSiWare titles.

The DS contained a D-Pad and four face buttons, but the 3DS adds a special Circle Pad which acts as a thumbstick for the multitude of 3D games which are expected to come out for the handheld. A D-Pad is located just below the Circle Pad, and there is no second Circle Pad for the right side. Beyond that, the system still retains a microphone component, but it also adds in a gyroscope and accelerometers which allow movement to affect the games in play. Those concerned over the combination of 3D and movement can consider that the motion-sensing components can help players look around physically with the system still facing them, although it seems like tilting games might be best used without 3D.

Coming over from the DSi and DSi XL are the two cameras, one facing in and the other facing out. However, the camera facing out now has a second camera alongside it, allowing for more effective 3D rendering of the outside world, both for AR Games and for 3D picture and video capture.

The 3DS has built-in Wifi capabilities beyond that of the previous handhelds. Specifically, the 3DS has the ability to obtain information from hotspots and from other passerbys with 3DS systems. The former of those methods, called SpotPass, allows the 3DS to connect to public hotspots or wireless broadband connections in order to download updates from Nintendo and for games players have played before, even when the system is in sleep mode. StreetPass is an opt-in system in which players will be able to exchange information with people in close proximity who also have a 3DS. The information includs character information, scores, game data, and other unique content. In order for players to be aware of when special SpotPass or StreetPass information has been received, a light near the R button will glow a particular color reflecting on what data has been obtained (as well as a warning for low battery).

The system will be sold in a bundle with a number of extra components which will help its other capabilities. It will come with both a charging cradle and an AC adapter, so that players can keep it charged when at home. Even though the system has flash memory, the bundle will come with a 2 GB SD card for memory storage, and statements reflect that players will be able to boot software from the SD card, unlike the Wii and DSi. Also provided will be 6 AR Cards, which are used for Augmented Reality games, both built-in the OS and available in future products. Finally, as per usual, it will come with applicable reading materials that come with every console known to man.

Now for the big launch news. It will be launching on March 25th in Europe and South Africa, but America will see its release on March 27th, just before the end of the company's fiscal year. The handheld will sell in America for $249.99, where a number of people have been guessing since Nintendo unveiled the price in Japan. Launch titles are still currently not specified, but a large launch window of games has been demonstrated to all at the events.

SOURCE: Nintendo 3DS Official Page

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