Tag Archives | Nintendo 3DS

A Peak at Nintendo 3DS Pricing

In the most unceremonious fashion — a financial forecast — Nintendo announced the price and release date for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan.

The Nintendo 3DS will launch on February 26 for 25,000 yen (roughly $300). It’ll arrive in the United States and Europe in March at the earliest, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

(Update: Nintendo also held a press event in Japan with lots of 3DS announcements. Kotaku has the final specs and some good news: Nintendo DSi owners who bought downloadable games will be able to transfer them to the 3DS.)

If history’s any indication, the 3DS will cost less than $300 in the United States. As Gaming Age points out, the DSi XL, Nintendo’s latest handheld, sells for 18,000 yen in Japan (roughly $215 now), and $170 stateside. My completely speculative, uninformed guess? $250 in the United States.

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How Nintendo's Dealing With 3DS Eye Strain

If 3D gaming is going to take off, it’ll have to find a way to reduce eye strain during lengthy play sessions. For one Nintendo 3DS game designer, that means being mindful of the way 3D effects are applied.

Masahiro Sakurai is a veteran game designer who is now working on Kid Icarus — the first proper sequel to the NES classic — for Nintendo 3DS. When asked by CVG whether he’s felt any eye strain with the handheld, Sakurai said the issue is most pronounced when there are a lot of objects flying towards the user.

Sakurai’s solution? Focus more on movement away from the user. That’s it. Sakurai didn’t elaborate further or give any examples of how this would affect the game.

I’m not completely satisfied by the explanation. When I tried the Nintendo 3DS at E3, my most profound 3D moment happened when a dinosaur nearly popped out of the screen during a scream of rage. To hear that such moments must be used sparingly is disheartening.

But at least the explanation shows that Nintendo developers are trying to address eye strain at all. Nintendo was already burned once by the issue; the infamous Virtual Boy would actually pause and remind players to take breaks. Those who didn’t heed the advice got headaches.

Nintendo’s other eye strain solution is built into the 3DS hardware: Players can reduce or switch off the 3D effect entirely with a slider on the side of the device. Again, it’s no cure-all, but at least it will allow people to keep playing without interruption.

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Nintendo 3DS Has a Clever Defense Against Used Games

While game publishers slowly make used games less attractive to buy, Nintendo’s 3DS will encourage people to hang on to the games they’ve got.

Speaking to Wired, Nintendo 3DS platform producer Hideki Konno talked about a feature called “Tag Mode.”  Basically, it’ll allow two 3DS owners to wirelessly share game data from the handheld’s internal storage. So to swap profiles in Animal Crossing, for instance, users won’t need to keep the actual game cartridge handy.

Wired’s Chris Kohler said this sounds like a way to extend the life cycles of games, and Konno agreed, saying Tag Mode ” will bring consumers a sense of wanting to play a game again, after they get new data from games that they’d forgotten about.” To think of this in a business sense, gamers will be encouraged to hang onto the games they’ve played, on the chance that another 3DS owner will have something awesome to share.

That’s one less game for GameStop to sell at Nintendo’s expense. It’s a similar idea to downloadable content, with two differences: Tag Mode won’t require any development after a game’s release, and it probably won’t cost players anything extra.

There aren’t enough details on Tag Mode to know whether it’ll work, but I like the gesture in light of what other publishers are doing. In May, EA Sports announced that it will charge $10 extra for online play unless the game is purchased new. THQ followed with a similar policy, charging $5 for online play to second-hand owners of UFC Undisputed 2010.

Over time, I think we’ll see more publishers go this route, but I’d rather see them encourage customers to keep new games rather then discourage them from buying used ones. Tag Mode probably won’t distinguish between new and used games, but it could at least slow the cycle of trade-ins without punishing customers.


Nintendo 3DS Impressions: Cool With Caveat

Judging by intimidatingly long lines alone, Nintendo’s 3DS was the star of E3. Crowds made a beeline to Nintendo’s booth every morning and formed a queue that snaked around the booth for the remainder of the day. Fortunately, the crowd thinned in E3’s final hours, and I finally got a better picture of Nintendo’s 3D handheld hardware.

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Lessons From Nintendo’s 3D Ventures

Nintendo surprised us all today with the announcement of a 3D handheld gaming device, tentatively called the Nintendo 3DS. The company didn’t explain how the technology would work, only saying that the 3DS will be released this fiscal year (before March 2011) and will be shown in greater detail at the E3 expo in June.

Surely, I’m not the only one whose mind jumped to the Virtual Boy, Nintendo’s short-lived foray into 3D from 15 years ago. In lieu of any hard facts about what Nintendo’s doing this time, here are a few lessons that could be learned from that failed experiment.

Gimmicks don’t work: Short-sighted gamers once thought the Wii and the Nintendo DS were gimmicks, and they were wrong. These gaming devices fundamentally changed how games are played, with new control methods and ways of seeing the action. The same couldn’t be said for the Virtual Boy, whose games were often like any other console but with a cheap 3D effect (the controller’s dual D-Pads were meant to enable 3D controls, but most games used them interchangeably). Hopefully the 3DS will unlock new possibilities for gaming instead of just looking cool.

Comfort is Key: One issue with the Virtual Boy that I’ve never experienced on other gaming consoles is the requirement to sit in a very specific position, at a table with your head stuck into a set of tripod-mounted goggles. Obviously the Nintendo 3DS won’t be so extreme, but it could be a pain in the neck if you’re required to hold the device at specific viewing angles.

Headaches stink, and so do breaks: In the middle of some intense gaming, no one likes being told by the machine that it’s time to rest, as the Virtual Boy did. Nor does anyone enjoy getting a headache, as induced by the Virtual Boy, after ignoring the advice. I hope Nintendo’s new attempt at 3D doesn’t present the same dilemma.

Don’t Underestimate the Killer App: The Virtual Boy’s pack-in title, Mario Tennis, failed to convey the technology’s advantages, because it was basically a straightforward tennis game with a 3D perspective. By comparison, the Nintendo DS hit Nintendogs effortlessly showed the advantages of stylus and touch screen gaming. The 3DS needs to come out of the gate with something that sells the console over the existing and wildly popular Nintendo DS.