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Nintendo 3DS Formally Announced

Gordon Kelly


Nintendo 3DS Formally Announced

It has been almost three months since Nintendo announced the 3DS. All we learned at the time was it would be backwards compatible with existing DS titles and feature 3D that didn't require glasses to enjoy. Well we know a lot more now...

The first thing to say is - in typical Nintendo fashion - the new 130 x 74 x 20mm, 230g 3DS looks very much like every other DS we've ever seen. It retains its boxy looks and dual screens, but look closer and there are a lot of subtle changes.

For a start the top 3D display is now 3.5 inches, the bottom is three inches. There is a new touch sensitive 'slide Pad' controller on the left side which allows 360 degree analog input and Nintendo has added a gyro sensor for motion detection. A biggie: battery life, remains a mystery.

Where things get more interesting, however, is the new 3D functionality and Nintendo is doubling up the tech featured in the top display by adding what it dubs a '3D camera'. In reality this is two VGA outer cameras which take photos simultaneously from two different angles, but the end result should be fun nonetheless. Should all this 3D get too much, however, there is a slider on the side which allows the 3D effect to be adjusted depending on your distance from the screen or turned off completely.

Just as importantly the 3DS will also have a raft of 3D compatible titles at launch including 3D Nintendogs, Dead or Alive, Splinter Cell, The Sims, Super Street Fighter IV, Metal Gear Solid, an updated Mario Kart, new Star Fox title and Paper Mario.

The flip side is this being Nintendo it didn't actually say when the 3DS will be available or how much it will cost and these are two details which vary enormously in Nintendo Land from country to country. I'd be tempted to say "in time for Christmas" (oh look, I just did), but fingers crossed that is simultaneously likely to be a worse case and best case scenario depending where you live...

Link: Nintendo 3DS

meeto 0

June 16, 2010, 11:36 am

I thought nintendo would get swamped by Sony and Microsoft but for me they were best in show. THe game line up is just ridiculous. And nintendo with the Sora project have finally got third party support nailed for the 3DS. Lets hope this happens for nintendos new home console.


June 16, 2010, 12:31 pm

I'm most looking forward to the new Pilotwings!


June 16, 2010, 1:20 pm

Any idea if it has the nice smooth DS Lite buttons or the nasty clicky DSi ones?



June 16, 2010, 1:27 pm

Yet again Nintendo seems to surprise me with it's innovation, whilst the competition are just playing catchup. For me this is the future of 3D gaming. Why should we wear 3D glasses? Improve this kind of tech and you have me sold.

Microsoft have lost touch with what it is they want from their system with the over priced new peripheral playing higher definition games of what have already been done on the Wii.

Sony, were a bit better but lacked any real exciting new releases.


June 16, 2010, 2:38 pm

I don't get it. Can someone explain the 3D aspect of this?

Steve 12

June 16, 2010, 4:39 pm

@Simon me too "3D that didn't require glasses" ?


June 16, 2010, 4:51 pm

@ Simon, to give you an idea of how it works I'll give you a crude example: remember those holographic cards that you could get from certain cereal brands that had a multi-coloured image of an animal/ object that when you tilted it from side to side, gave you a psuedo 3D effect of depth and shape. It's a similar method used on the screen hear except you don't need to tilt the screen from side to side but instead look on it head on; and obviously the picture clarity/ colour is greatly improved.


June 16, 2010, 4:55 pm

I'd also like to know how this 3d works without glasses! I'd assumed that it might involve the similar theory behind johnny lees head tracking with a wii remote (I.e that the front camera would track your face and "adjust" the screen if you moved your head, giving the illusion of a 3d image. But that doesn't seem correct?


June 16, 2010, 5:11 pm

Its a different type of technology, the screen allows 3d without glasses but only if your in the 'sweet spot', not a problem with a handheld console. For a full sized TV everyone would have to sit in the sweet spot or see half the action i.e. 2D.


June 16, 2010, 5:15 pm

I dunno... not convinced at all by the 3DS, which is a shame because I was hoping to like it. Two main points for me:

1) The 3D effect is reliant on your being in EXACTLY the right place relative to the screen. Not so bad in the home but a pain in the backside when you're trying to use this thing on public transport or generally out and about.

2) I haven't yet seen any real gameplay innovations. Oh we've seen lots of cool gimmicks but has there been anything in gameplay terms that couldn't be done on a 2D system?

To be honest I was pretty let down by this years E3, lots of gimmicks (some of which might be very popular I admit) and lots of games but so little true innovation. After almost 30 years of gaming I was hoping for something new to grab my attention again but at the moment I haven't seen it.

meeto 0

June 16, 2010, 5:44 pm

@BOFH_uk You expect innovation every year at E3? What industry innovates on a yearly basis. 30 years on from 8bit we have HD gaming with a number of possibilities of interaction, motion with or without controllers, camera and sound input and 3D. Its one of the fastest moving industries. I suppose you cant please everyone.

Tim Sutton

June 16, 2010, 5:52 pm

Well, what a lot of miserable bar stewards we have here.

I think the 3DS is the most exciting thing to happen since the day I discovered girls want sex too. I highly encourage a read of Eurogamers hands on {url}http://www.eurogamer.net/ar...{/url} and if you still aren't excited then, well, I'll be very surprised.

I've skipped both the DS and Wii, but the 3DS is an absolute certain day one purchase for me, and I may even import hardware for the first time ever if the UK release date is significantly behind the US.

Quite apart from the games, the 3D photography the console offers is gamechanging. I honestly cannot wait.


June 16, 2010, 6:31 pm

I imagine it will use a lenticular lens, which RazorA was referring to. This system uses a lens over the screen to send a different image to each eye. The downside is that your eyes have to be in a 'sweet spot' for the effect to work. I imagine that this is what that slider on the side of the unit is really for. Adjusting this could allow the image to adjust to how far away your eyes are from the screen.


June 16, 2010, 7:47 pm

The 3Ds stole the show, not sure about 3D pictures that could get ugly.


June 16, 2010, 9:27 pm

Even though this seems to be playing on the "old" ds, this video shows how the 3d might work with the gyro sensor....



Tim Sutton

June 16, 2010, 9:52 pm


No. That's an ancient what-if mockup. That's not how it works. At all :-)

It's true auto-stereoscopic 3D, ie: 2 offset images generated at the same time. It's not pseudo 3D. And you can watch proper 3D films on it. Which is awesome.

Apparently the sweet spot viewing area for use is bigger than thought, but even so, tilting it around like in that video would mean any 3D effect was lost.


June 16, 2010, 10:26 pm

@Article: Some notes-

-There's actually a gyro sensor /and/ "motion sensor". Not entirely sure what that means, but basically sounds like Wii Remote + MotionPlus.

-Regarding battery life, Nintendo stated during their developer roundtable "battery life is important to us and we want to match the DSi".

-Despite being "3D", the cameras are still only 0.3MP apparently.

-I'm not sure they actually said which were launch titles, but I'm pretty sure it should be "new Mario Kart, updated Star Fox" rather than the other way around (also updated Ocarina of Time, possibly).

@The Rest:

-No word on the clickiness of buttons yet, but will inform when I read more.

-The 3D is similar to the holographic cards, as described, but the "sweet spot" isn't that hard to find (positive impressions all around the web).

-True gameplay innovations aren't clear yet(and can't be without a lengthy hands-on), but Nintendo's talked a lot about being able to judge distance better for things like platforming, describing how it's difficult to jump forward and land precisely where you want to (hence loads of 2D sections in Mario Galaxy 2). They're basically talking about proper depth perception in a game.

-As mentioned, the screens sends "a different image to each eye". Apparently the resolution is 800x240 because each eye gets 400 vertical lines worth of data.

@Tim: I wouldn't exactly call @Soul's video link a mock-up, since it's available to buy on the DSi Shop right now...

But yes, that is totally different to the 3DS and actually closer to Johnny Lee's head-tracking Wii demo.

What that does is work out where your head is using the camera and move the room around when you move your head (nothing fancy, it's almost just uses reverse-bluescreening to work out where your head is).

The 3DS's 3D effect won't show in any image/video (so I expect Nintendo will be touring shopping centres a month or so prior to release).

Oh, also worth noting during the dev roundtable, they mentioned in Nintendogs, they're trying to have the dogs recognise you. This would indicate the internal cameras, though not featuring more MegaPixels, are more powerful than the DSi ones.


June 16, 2010, 10:55 pm

@BOFH_UK If any game hardware manufacturer can pull off innovation, it's Nintendo. They've laid out the framework here -- the 3D camera, the screen, the analogue nub etc. -- and they've got a fantastic line-up of game franchises.


June 17, 2010, 8:36 am

Oh, I forgot to mention that case design isn't final either, so they might streamline it a bit before release.

@AlexMck: Let's be fair, Sony did do an analogue nub on a handheld first; although they did make a mess of it. Which just goes to prove they really can't do anything properly unless Nintendo do it first, then they copy it.


June 17, 2010, 3:31 pm

@meeto_0: My point was hardware innovation is pointless without GAMEPLAY innovation. This is what I'm most concerned about in gaming these days, the sheer cost and risks associated with building games for modern systems makes it very hard to bring something really new to market. Over the last couple of years I've probably only really become properly invested in... oh, three games maybe four primarily because everything I play just feels so very, very familiar these days.

And that's the thing with the 3DS, the hardware's interesting but I just don't see how the 3D element is going to significantly alter gameplay, especially if it's a little bit flakey which initial reports seem to indicate. Believe me I hope I'm wrong but I fear it'll just end up as a gimmick and we'll see the same old games all over again.

One other thing I've just thought of, unrelated to the above, the new 3DS has motion sensing capabilities right? Basically the same internals as a Wiimote + Motion Plus. So we've got a console that supports tilt controls for gaming AND requires you to be looking at the screen in a very narrow sweet spot in order to see the 3D effect. Does anyone else see a wee bit of a problem there?

Steve 12

June 18, 2010, 1:27 am

Thanks for all the feedback all, I've learnt loads :o)


June 18, 2010, 4:24 pm

@BOFH_UK: I understand where you're coming from about the tilt controls, but that reminds me of when Sony showed the original PS3 controller (the Sixaxis) and said they're taken rumble out because rumbling at the same time would mess with the motion controls. That was just silly because they were basically saying they didn't trust developers to be smart enough not to turn both on at the same time. Also, that didn't help Lair, which had shit sixaxis controls anyway.

Just as the 3DS doesn't HAVE to use 3D in all its games, the developers aren't forced to include tilt controls for stuff. Nintendo has simply given them the best combination of tools they possibly can at the moment and will let developers do as they please. Devs aren't going to release something to boggle your mind and kill your eyes just because they can.

I did however, use your same argument against the iPad. Considering the limitation of control options, tilt is just about the only option for driving games, but it struck me as being really uncomfortable on the eyes on a screen that big (as opposed to an iPod touch), not to mention your arms.

I've only had a brief half-race on my manager's iPad though, but it didn't exactly dispel my reservations. Anyone here care to comment on racing games on the iPad?


June 22, 2010, 6:32 pm

I went to a photonics exhibition at the NEC Birmingham in 2008, and saw VERY similar technology, except it was applied to a 50" plasma tv, and the results were outstanding, although there was, again a "sweet spot" due to the nature of the tech. It was a micro-array that was placed on the screen surface. Very impressive nonetheless. I can't remember the name of the company, but it was a prototype.

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