Nintendo has finally announced a release date and price for its much anticipated 3DS. Those hoping to add the 3D portable games console to their Christmas list will be disappointed as it is not set to hit stores until February 26, 2011 – and that’s only in Japan. Other markets will have to wait a bit longer with North America and Europe reportedly seeing a release sometime in March, 2011. It also looks like the extra dimension won’t come cheap with an asking price of 25,000 yen (approx. US$299) in Japan.

Although 25,000 yen equates to roughly US$299, some are speculating a lower price could be possible for the U.S. because, back in 2006, 25,000 yen was the same price the Wii launched at in Japan, while it launched at a price of US$249 in the U.S. – although exchange rates were a little bit different back then, so such hopes could be nothing more than wishful thinking.

Those who manage to scrape together the cash will receive the Nintendo 3DS console in either Aqua Blue or Cosmo Black, a charging cradle/AC adapter, telescoping metal stylus, 2GB SD memory card and six augmented reality (AR) paper cards that use the console’s cameras.

Other details for the device include a home button that allows users to return to the home screen and access other system features without shutting down a game, the ability to transfer purchases from a DSi to the 3DS, and a mini Virtual Console that lets users purchase Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance titles updated to support the 3DS’s 3D capability.

In addition to the previously announced details, the 3DS will also include “3DS Sound”, AR games which make use of the included AR cards, and Mii Studio, which lets users create avatars from photos. Check out the Nintendo video below, which is in Japanese but gives an idea of the console’s features.

Via Tiny Cartridge