It’s official. Earlier this week, Nintendo announced that their new 3DS portable system will release on March 27 (US) for $249.
The successor to the highly popular Nintendo DS (and subsequent iterations), the Nintendo 3DS boasts their glasses-free 3D capabilities. How does it work? Long story short, with a smaller screen, the 3DS is able produce a 3D autostereoscopy effect. Since you’re most likely playing head-on, viewing angle isn’t as much of an issue and you don’t really have to worry about multiple people looking at the screen (as you would with TV). The 3D effect is option, however, as the system includes a slider to adjust the 3D effect.
Aside from 3D, the 3DS also offers several improvements including an analog stick, expandable SD storage, an accelerometer, and gyroscope. The menu system has been revamped, allowing for multitasking (switching out of games to apps) and easy access to the various programs in the system. There’s a 3D camera that allows you to take 3D pictures. Nintendo has also signed a deal with several studios to offer 3D movies.
A strong lineup of titles have been announced including Super Street Fighter 4, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries, Madden NFL 3DS, and the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. While we do see a few original games including Kid Icarus: Uprising, several titles are 3D adaptations of pre-existing games.
The 3DS doesn’t come in cheap. It’s the most expensive Nintendo portable console thus far. The original Game Boy ($80) adjusted for inflation would still come in at around $158 according to Kotaku. Games are ranging in the $30-$40 range as evidenced by early listings on Gamestop and Amazon. While there are a some pre-loaded apps and offerings of cheaper games via Virtual Console, it’s still a hefty price tag. The Wii amd 4GB XBOX 360 cost less.
To add to the bad news, the 3DS will be region-locked. While most users won’t feel a difference, it’s a disappointment for fans of Japanese games and imports. Another big disappointment is its battery life. The initial DS listed 6-10 hours battery life (with the subsequent iterations all ranging from 9-19 hours), the 3DS is only expected to have 3-5 hours for 3D games, 5-8 for standard games. It’s definitely limits the portability of the system.
The 3DS is expected to sell well. Still, there seems to be enough limitations and concerns for me to hold off, maybe even ’til the first revamp of the system (which is expected in about 2 years given Nintendo’s track pattern). Between expensive games (many of which I already own), the iffiness about 3D (having tried it, I found it fun but am hesitant about spending long times with it), and the short battery life, Nintendo will need to really show the value in the 3DS before I invest my dollars.