June 16, 2010
| by Matt Whitlock
In dramatic fashion at the E3 Expo, Nintendo has officially unveiled the Nintendo 3DS, a new handheld gaming system capable of delivering glasses free 3D visuals to players.
From a hardware perspective, the 3DS is similar to the DS in many physical aspects, like the top and bottom two-screen design, D-pad, four facing buttons, clamshell design, etc. Like the original DS, only the bottom screen is touch-capable, as Nintendo’s Soturu Iwata noted that “3D and touch don’t get along very well.”
3DS includes several new control mechanisms. For example, the D-pad has been given sub position in favor of the new “Slide Pad” which should offer analog-like control similar to the PSP’s analog “nub.” 3DS also includes a motion sensor and gyro sensor, which at least puts it on par with the iPhone 4 in those areas.
The 3DS also sports dual-camera lenses for 3D image capture, which it can playback on the 3D display. Whether or not these images are transferrable or viewable on anything is another question ... one that wasn’t answered today.
Iwata indicated the hardware is more advanced and significantly more powerful than the current generation of DS consoles, offering better visuals and graphics. Mum’s the word on what actually powers this thing, but the Kid Icarus: Uprising trailer certainly lends itself to that claim.
The 3DS includes advanced communication features that actively “seek out” other 3DS units and WiFi hotspots to download content, stages, rankings and more. Iwata’s line that it does so “without your knowing” didn’t come across very well, but does illustrate that it’s simple and easy to get DLC to your 3DS.
As far as the 3D screen is concerned, only the top 3.5 inch widescreen display offers the 3D effects, and just to the right is a slider that allows the player to adjust the intensity of the 3D effect ... or turn it off entirely should the player so choose. It seems odd that one would want to disable the distinguishing feature of this platform, but Nintendo is merely trying to be sensitive to players that don’t handle the 3D effect or want to take a break from it.
As far as the quality, early reports indicate that the 3D effect is decent, though not mind blowing. Most have said you need to look straight ahead and remain relatively still. Moving your eyes or turning your head removes the effect, a problem common to parallax barrier screen displays.
Nintendo offered up two titles for the 3DS today, Kid Icarus: Uprising and Nintendogs 3DS + Cats, but indicated that third-party support for this platform should be substantial (a common Nintendo claim that usually falls flat). Nintendo dropped a long list of big names including Konami, Capcom, SquareEnix, THQ, Ubisoft, EA, Tecmo Koei and more.
Interestingly, Nintendo also mentioned it will be compatible with Hollywood 3D video and will even be demoing video playback on the show floor with trailers for Disney’s Tangled, How to Train Your Dragon, and Legend of the Guardians. Iwata went out of his way to mention they’re only demonstrating capability and aren’t announcing anything specific in regards to 3D video.
Matt Whitlock manages several technology-focused community websites, including Explore3DTV.com
, and several others. With almost 15 years in the consumer electronics industry to draw from, his writings span a wide range of technology categories, from home entertainment systems to electronic gaming and everything in between.