Just this morning, Nintendo has announced that the new premiere handheld, the Nintendo 3DS, has a United States release date of March 27th and a suggested MRP of $249.99. More details after the break.
The most anticipated handheld since its predecessor, the DS, finally has a release date. Promising to deliver 3D, glasses-free graphics on the top of the two screens, Nintendo is looking to revolutionize portable gaming and graphics technology with the release of the 3DS. As if that weren't enough, they added an analog stick and full motion-control and gyro recognition, possibly a stab at Apple's own portable devices that have seen great success in the field of gaming and have been the most viable threat to Nintendo's handheld market dominance.
Adding another level of depth to the gaming experience, Nintendo has incorporated two new features: StreetPass and SpotPass. With the former, StreetPass, players can choose to turn it on and get data from nearby strangers also playing a 3DS. Trying out the newest Nintendogs, for instance? You might play your game and find that you see another user walking around with a pet of their own. With SpotPass, you can connect your 3DS to a wireless hotspot and get gaming updates even while your system is in sleep mode.
Nintendo is not one to settle for just a few cool features, however. In addition to all of the above, the 3DS is equipped with three cameras: one that faces the user and two that face outward. The coolest application of this, by far, is the ability to capture and view true 3D photos. I can imagine the ability to take 3D photos being a huge incentive to carry the device around at all times.
Furthermore, when in sleep mode the 3DS can be used as a pedometer. Not only is this useful to track how much you walk with the device with you, but you can use this to earn Play Coins, a universal in-game currency that can be used with applications that choose to support it. Imagine games that come out where you can buy new characters, maps, and other content with currency that you earned just by walking around with the device.
There are also the standard multimedia tools that users have come to expect from portable devices today. Beyond being able to access the internet and download application and system updates, the 3DS is compatible with SD cards (and includes a 2GB card in the box) and is fully capable of MP3 and AAC music playback. Additionally, users can create their own Miis on the 3DS, now no longer and exclusive feature of the Wii, and even take screenshot pictures of them if they want to use that as a profile picture.
According to Nintendo, approximately 30 games will be released between March 27th and E3 in June, including Pilotwings Resort, Nintendogs + cats, Steel Diver, and an absolute flurry of 3rd party games like Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Super Monkey Ball 3D, and Ridge Racer 3D with tons more that I couldn't even fit here as well as anticipated first-party titles like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox, Mario Kart, Paper Mario, Animal Crossing, and Kid Icarus.
The release of the 3DS is shaping up to be the biggest handheld gaming event in years. Will you be ponying up the $249.99 plus the price of games to be a part of it?