Supposed Nintendo 3DS Details Emerge

By Chris Faylor, Mar 23, 2010 1:10pm PDT Fresh off this morning's terse revelation of the Nintendo 3DS--a Nintendo DS successor that can display "3D effects without the need for any special glasses"--andriasang translated some reports from Japanese outlets that offer some unconfirmed details.

The new hardware will include some sort of 3D stick and rumble functionality, according to Nikkei--the outlet that brought us the first details on the Nintendo DSi and DSi XL, details Nintendo dismissed and downplayed before their subsequent confirmation.

Other details from Nikkei include expectations of screens smaller than 4 inches--the Nintendo DSi LL/XL's are 4.2" each, the Nintendo DSi's 3.25" and the DS Lite's 3"--plus the oft-rumored tilt-sensitive accelerometer, improved battery life, and faster wireless.

Meanwhile, Yomiuri Shimbun writes "it is believed that the system will use a Sharp 3D LCD panel." Reportedly, it features a filter on top of the screen that causes left and right eyes to perceive a slightly different image, thus producing the promised 3D effects.

Rumors regarding so-called Nintendo DS2 hardware previously claimed that development kits were already in the hands of various studios, something Mainichi Shimbun seemingly corroborates with word that multiple developers have been briefed on the hardware and will have software available when the Nintendo 3DS launches.

Those same rumors also claimed that the new hardware was "similar in power to the GameCube," a detail that these new reports apparently didn't touch upon.

Additional insight on the technologies behind the Nintendo 3DS emerged via glasses-free 3D company Magnetic 3D, with CEO Tom Zerega telling Shacknews:

It will be interesting to see the price point of the 3DS, as glasses-free 3D display technologies often feature additional filters or lenses to create the 3D effect, as well as additional processing powering and robust graphics engines to render glasses-free 3D media. In addition to a potentially higher price tag due to elevated hardware costs on the handheld itself, there are also special considerations with respect to the production costs of developing glasses-free 3D games. Whether new titles are created from the ground up entirely in 3D or older titles are retooled to fit the new format, there will undoubtedly be additional production costs such as those typical in producing 3D films. Similar to the dilemma the movie studios are facing with a lack of 3D capable cinemas, there will need to be enough 3D-enabled handheld devices in the market to justify the added production costs of developing 3D games, but before that can happen, Nintendo will need to ensure that their handheld solution provides the quality 3D experience that players will expect from Nintendo at a price point that encourages adoption.

According to Nintendo, the Nintendo 3DS is to launch before the end of March 2011--Nikkei reports that it's targeted to hit Japan within the latter half of 2010-- and will be backwards compatible with Nintendo DS and DSi software. More details are expected around June 15, 2010 as Nintendo will be showing off the new hardware at E3 2010.

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