Nintendo’s new games console with glasses-free 3D technology will be on sale in February in Japan, and March in Europe and the US, the company announced today.
The firm had promised the 3DS console for some time before April next year, so the announcement does not signal a delay, but there had been speculation it might be available by Christmas.
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said the 3DS will cost 25,000 yen (€219.87) in Japan, where it will hit stores on February 26. Overseas prices and specific dates will be announced later.
The portable machine looks much like the portable DS machines now on sale, and has two panels. The top panel shows 3D imagery, giving players a relatively immediate illusion of virtual reality.
The 3D games do not require the special glasses needed for 3D movies or 3D home consoles like Sony’s PlayStation 3. They also do not need 3D TV sets.
Mr Iwata said the drawback for 3D technology is that the appeal cannot be conveyed easily in TV or magazine ads.
Fears have also been growing about the health effects of too much 3D as some people have become sick looking at 3D movies or games.
“We are not taking the success of the 3DS for granted,” Mr Iwata told reporters at Makuhari Messe hall in Tokyo. “The value of the 3D experience can be understood only by getting people to try it out.”
Nintendo said that several 3D games are in the works including its trademark Super Mario games and “nintendogs + cats”.
Outside game developers are also preparing products, such as a '3DS Biohazard' from Capcom Co.
The 3D handheld version of 'Metal Gear Solid', from Konami Digital Entertainment - shown to reporters on the machine as a demonstration movie but not in playable game form – presented vivid animation of jungle scenery, buzzing bees and a warrior’s hands, all in 3D, inside the tiny screen.
The 3D feature is adjustable by a button at the side so players can choose the amount of 3D they want.