Nintendo has announced that its much-anticipated 3DS, which offers glasses-free 3D gaming, will launch in Europe on March 25, closely followed by a U.S. release on March 27. This comes after the previously announced February 26 release date for Japan, where it will retail for JPY25,000 (approx. US$305). In the U.S. the device will be priced at US$249.99, while pricing outside these markets will be set by local retailers – UK retailers are quoting a price range of UKP219 to 229 (approx. US$350 to $366).
The March European and U.S. release date will mark a year, almost to the day, since the company first announced a new portable gaming device that would allow users to enjoy 3D effects without glasses. Since then, Nintendo has revealed pretty much all the details of the 3DS, right down to the colors available at launch – Cosmo Black or Aqua Blue – although there will no doubt be other color options released in the future.
There’s also a built-in motion sensor and gyro sensor for playing motion-compatible titles and that let the console act as a pedometer in Sleep Mode, with the steps users take earning them Play Coins that can be traded in for additional content in compatible games and applications.
The 3DS packs not one, not two, but three cameras. One facing the user and two pointing outward that can take 3D photos that can naturally be viewed on the console’s 3D display. The two outer cameras can also used in conjunction with augmented-reality (AR) cards – six are included with the 3DS – that are read by the cameras allowing images and animations to be superimposed on top of the card on the 3D display.
On the connectivity front, a StreetPass feature will allows gamers to exchange game information, such as Mii character data, maps for games, and high scores and custom character data for different games, as they pass each other. The SpotPass feature will allow the console to connect to compatible public hotspots and home Wi-Fi networks to receive new content and updates even when the 3DS is in Sleep Mode.
The 3DS is compatible with DS game cards and includes an SD card slot – Nintendo is including a 2GB SD card with the 3DS. After the launch Nintendo will provide a service that allows DSi and DSi XL owners to transfer games downloaded from the Nintendo DSi Shop onto their 3DS. The updated Nintendo eShop, available through a system update, will offer access to downloadable games, including DSiWare and 3DS-specific titles. An upgraded internet browser will also be available via a system update.
The 3DS also boasts strong support from third-party publishers such as Electronic Arts, Capcom, Konami, Namco Bandai, Sega, Square Enix, LucasArts, Tecmo Koei and Ubisoft. Upcoming titles include, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, The Sims 3, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Ridge Racer 3D, Thor: God of Thunder, BUST-A-MOVE UNIVERSE, Dead or Alive Dimensions, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars, Splinter Cell 3D, and Rayman 3D, just to name a few.
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