At an event in Amsterdam today, Nintendo quashed months of speculation and officially revealed the retail launch date of its new handheld console.
Price and retail date
During the event, hosted by Jonathan Ross, Nintendo announced that the launch date of the 3DS in Europe will be 25th March 2011.
Nintendo gave no indication of the price that the console will be sold for, stating that it is the retailers who set the final price. At the time of writing, the console is available from HMV for £230, with Play listing it at £219.
In the US, the price has been set at $250.
The 3DS features a screen using parallax barrier technology, which gives the user the 3D effect without the need for glasses. There are two outward-facing cameras for taking 3D photographs, as well as an inward-facing camera for taking traditional photos and self-portraits.
The 3D effect can be controlled via a slider on the side of the screen, allowing the player to control the amount of depth in the game, or turn it off completely.
Like the DSi before it, the 3DS will come pre-loaded with its own software out of the box. This includes an activity log, which works alongside the console’s built-in pedometer to display how active the user has been over any period, a Mii character creator, and Face Raiders – a game that uses the player’s own avatar to create a shooting game.
The console is backwards compatible, and Nintendo has stated that most DS and DSi games will work on the system.
3DS users will communicate with other owners through Street Pass, a system of sharing content between consoles. When another 3DS is detected, it will automatically download the other user’s details, as well as other content, such as in-game items.
Also present is Spot Pass, Nintendo’s solution to Wi-Fi access on the go. In this mode the 3DS will automatically pick up Wi-Fi signals and connect the console to the internet. Nintendo has parterned with BT Openzone in the UK so that 3DS owners can use its Wi-Fi hotspots for free. Once at home, the 3DS will automatically connect to the home network.
Between launch and June, Nintendo promised that 25 titles will be released in Europe. Some of these are remakes of old classics, such as N64 veteran Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Street Fighter IV 3D. There are also new additions to popular franchises, including Nintendogs and Cats and Mario Kart. The 3DS will also mark reboot of some older titles such as Kid Icarus and Pilotwings.
Brand new titles include Steel Diver, a submarine game that uses the built-in gyroscope so that users have to rotate the system to spot enemy ships.
The console will come bundled with a charger, cradle, 2GB SD card and be available in two colours; aqua blue and cosmos black.
We’ll have more in-depth impressions from the Amsterdam event later in the week, including a hands-on first look with the latest games.
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