Update: Andriasang gives us more details on the announcement from the Japanese press. There will be a control stick included in the 3DS, a long-overdue feature. Rumble is mentioned as well. Release date window is between April 2010 and March 2011, which means we may get a holiday release this year. Imagine the sales and demand if this new handleld is finished in time for the holidays! Finally, it is believed that the system uses Sharp LCD 3D screens, possibly debunking Kotaku’s speculation on Nintendo definition of 3D and likening the experience our IMAX.
Original write-up: We knew it was going to happen, but we never expected it to be this soon. Rumors of the spiritual successor of the Nintendo DS have been afloat since late last year. Our director Jarrod Nichol even wrote a full-blown article about the sequel to the DS, but we didn’t even come close to Nintendo’s ace card. The power of a GameCube, having no gap between the dual screens — these are the features that have been talked about the most. But as we all know, Nintendo no longer depends on power alone when it comes to new hardware. As the name implies, Nintendo’s latest handheld will employ 3D technology, but without the use of 3D glasses to do so.
I can’t wrap my head around how will this work. It all depends on Nintendo’s definition of 3D. Are they referring to common technology in which graphics appear in a 3D space outside of the console, or is there another catch? Kotaku speculates about the latter by offering an example of a recently-released DSiWare download in Japan that exploits the camera as a tracking device, allowing one to manipulate the viewpoint of the game itself by moving around the DSi. Think Echochrome and Super Paper Mario.
This is the download in question. As you can see, it’s pretty cool and Nintendo may have something like that in mind…but basing a whole console around this concept may limit the types of games developers want to make. Morever, moving around the handheld with most games may feel clunky and weird. I will certainly be extremely impressed if Nintendo comes up with “true 3D” without glasses. I’m assuming that the handheld may be equipped with a camera and special light source in order to pull off IMAX-like 3D…perhaps the duel screens will also help to play tricks on our eyes?
Backward compatibility with DS and DSi titles have also been confirmed, meaning that touch screen and camera functionality will be intact with the 3DS. However, will they be upgraded? Will the 3DS have a better camera? Will Nintendo mimic the iPhone when it comes to touch screen controls? E3 2010 will reveal all the answers, and our team will surely be there to cover as much as possible.
And the imaginary chess game between Nintendo and Sony continues. “Your move, Sony!”