3DS: Your essential guide

Ben Parfitt
3DS: Your essential guide

Nintendo is preparing its biggest hardware launch of all time with its new 3DS.

The platform holder revealed the price, release date and games of its upcoming handheld at a press conference in Amsterdam last week.

The 3D device will hit shelves on Friday, March 25th – two days earlier than the US street date. Around 30 games are scheduled for release between the handheld console’s launch and June (see ‘The launch line-up’ for the full list).

Retailers are selling the 3DS for around £219 to £229 with some providing bundles and extra offers (see our ‘3DS price roundup’ for more information).

MCV understands Nintendo will ship 900,000 units into Europe during the first three weeks of the 3DS launch, and will look for around 5m sales during its first year.

The platform holder also revealed further details about how the 3DS’ online functionality will work in the UK (see ‘Streetwise’).

3DS PRICE ROUNDUP

Retailers have decided the 3DS’ RRP, with many selling it between £219.99 and £229.99.

Here’s a list of the offers currently available:

Amazon – £217.00
Argos – £229.99 (includes £60 worth of savings vouchers and an accessory kit worth £20)
Asda – £217.00
GAME and Gamestation – £229.99
Gameplay – £229.99
Gameseek – £229.99
HMV – £229.99
Play.com – £219.99
ShopTo – £219 (preliminary price) or £199.85 (limited time pre-order offer)
Tesco – £219
Zavvi – £217.00

3DS SPECIFICATIONS

* Size when closed: Approximately 5.3 inches wide, 2.9 inches long and 0.8 inches tall
* Weight: Approximately eight ounces
* Top screen: 3.53-inch widescreen LCD with 800x240 pixel resolution
* Touch screen: 3.02-inch LCD with 320x240 pixel resolution
* Cameras: One inner camera and two outer cameras with 640x480 pixel resolution
* Wireless: 2.4 GHz band. Supports IEEE 802.11 with enhanced security (WPA/WPA2)
* Buttons: A, B, X, Y, L, R, Start, Select, Home, Power, 3D depth slider, wireless switch, control pad and slide pad
* Battery life: Up to five hours when 3D is in use, or eight hours if the 3D mode is switched off

THE LAUNCH LINE-UP


Retail sources say at least eight games will arrive on day one, with around 30 due for release by June.

The following titles are due for release on launch day on March 25th:

* Nintendogs + Cats (Nintendo)
* Super Street Fighter IV (Capcom)
* Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 (Konami)
* LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Activision)
* Asphalt 3D (Ubisoft)
* Rayman 3D (Ubisoft)
* Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars (Ubisoft)
* Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D (Ubisoft)

These are currently scheduled to hit shelves at some point between April and June:

* Paper Mario (Nintendo)
* Star Fox 64 (Nintendo)
* Pilotwings Resort (Nintendo)
* Animal Crossing (Nintendo)
* Mario Kart (Nintendo)
* Steel Diver (Nintendo)
* Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (Nintendo)
* Kid Icarus Uprising (Nintendo)
* Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D (Ubisoft)
* Rabbids 3D (Ubisoft)
* Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars (Ubisoft)
* James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes (Ubisoft)
* Driver: Renegade (Ubisoft)
* Resident Evil Revelations (Capcom)
* Resident Evil Mercenaries 3D (Capcom)
* Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater (Konami)
* Dead or Alive Dimensions (Tecmo Koei)
* Samurai Warriors Chronicles (Tecmo Koei)
* The Sims 3 (EA)
* Madden NFL Football (EA)
* Ridge Racer 3D (Namco Bandai)
* Thor: God of Thunder (Sega)
* Super Monkey Ball 3D (Sega)
* Puzzle Bobble Universe (Square Enix)

WHAT'S IN THE BOX?

The 3DS comes in two SKUs – Cosmos Black and Aqua Blue – both of which include the following:

* 2GB SD card
* Stylus
* Charger and cradle
* Six augmented reality cards
* Operations manual
* Built-in Face Raiders game

3DS: WHAT CAN IT DO?

Apart from displaying games in full 3D without the need for 3D glasses, the Nintendo 3DS also boasts a range of other features.

It includes a motion and gyro sensor for motion-sensing games, as well as one 3D screen and one touch screen. A 3D Depth Slider allows the user to adjust the strength of the 3D effect. There is also an embedded microphone that can detect the user’s voice.

Users can take pictures in 3D, watch films, manipulate MP3s, browse the internet, play games online with friends or even use the 3DS as a pedometer.

Partnerships with Eurosport, BSkyB and Aardman Animations will also bring 3D TV programmes to users.

The 3DS is fully backwards compatible with almost all DS games, while older Game Boy games will be available to purchase from the virtual console, dubbed eShop. Users will be able to pay by credit card or buy an e-Shop card from retailers, while parental controls allow the user to switch off the 3D function entirely or limit internet access.

Files can also be transferred to the system’s SD card and moved onto other formats such as PCs.

Finally the 3DS comes with six augmented reality cards which seemingly project images onto the 3DS’ screen. For example, the user just has to focus the camera on the card to see a dragon pop out of their kitchen table.

STREETWISE

The 3DS features two pieces of wireless technology – StreetPass and SpotPass – allowing gamers to interact with one another wirelessly.

Street Pass kicks in when two 3DS units detect one another, even if  they’re in battery-saving sleep mode.

The signal is strong enough to link two handhelds as two strangers walk past each other in the street or stand next to each other in a queue.

The 3DS’ LED light will flash when it has picked up new data which can be used for in-game challenges. For example, in Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 StreetPass is used to put two Master League teams head-to-head. Whoever has the strongest football squad will unlock new players, teams, pitches and more.

SpotPass, on the other hand, works by detecting wireless hotspots or LAN access points. This allows users to access the internet faster, initiate downloads or play online with other users.

Nintendo has teamed up with BT Fon in the UK to allow users to access more wireless hotspots on the move.

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