What We Know So Far About The Nintendo 3DS

The 3DS is coming in March, and while the picture is far from complete, we've compiled what we know about Nintendo's latest handheld into one handy post.

We've got the basics covered here, from launch dates and prices to the initial software line up. We've even got some technical details sprinkled here and there for those of you interested in knowing what makes the 3DS tick.

Expect updates as more details on the system's launch games surface.

What Is The Nintendo 3DS?
It may look like a Nintendo DSi and play DS games, but the Nintendo 3DS is the first in a new portable product line. The device has much more graphical power under its hood than the Nintendo DS line of handhelds, resulting in graphics that rival those of its console counterparts.


The 3DS also, as the name implies, is able to play games in 3D, and without the need for the player to wear special glasses. The lower touch screen of the DS and DSi remains intact, while the upper screen is replaced with a 3.53 inch LCD display capable of displaying 16.77 million colors at a resolution of 800 x 240 pixels. When viewing games in 3D, 400 columns of pixels are dedicated to each eye.

The 3DS features three cameras. The one inner camera can be used to take pictures of the player or use facial recognition functions. Two outer cameras produce 3D images that can be viewed instantly on the 3DS screen. The cameras will also be utilized in augmented reality games, super-imposing video game graphics on real-world visuals.

To read about more features of the 3DS, feel free to check out or full coverage of Nintendo's next handheld, including Stephen Totilo's excellent article tackling some of the burning questions the new device raises.

How Does Glasses-Free 3D Work On The 3DS?
3D glasses work by polarizing the light reaching each eye to match two different images being broadcast simultaneously. One eye sees one image, the other eye sees a slightly offset version of the same, which produces the illusion of depth to viewers of 3D movies and television. The technique is known as stereoscopy.

The 3DS uses a technique called autostereoscopy to deliver 3D images without the use of glasses. The upper display of the 3DS features a parallax barrier, a thin layer of material featuring a series of precision slits. These slits allow each eye to see a different set of pixels, delivering the offset images without the use of filtering glasses.

The main drawback to this process is that the distance between the user and the screen plays a part in how well the 3D images are perceived, as opposed to a glasses-based 3D solution where the player can view the effect from any distance or angle. The 3DS comes with a depth slider control that should help fine tune the action between player and screen.

When Does The 3DS Launch?
Japan is getting the 3DS first on February 26, 2011. Next comes Europe on March 25, and North America finally gets the handheld on March 27, thanks to Nintendo's tradition of releasing prominent hardware and software on Sundays.

How Much Does The 3DS Cost?
The Japanese will be paying ¥25,000 for the 3DS, which equals approximately $300 at current conversion rates. That's slightly more than the $250 price tag the handheld will carry in North America. In the UK and Europe the 3DS pricing is set by retailers based on the price they have to pay Nintendo for the device. Amazon.co.uk lists the system for £219.99 ($350), while video game retailer Game prices it at a slightly more expensive £229.99 ($366). French retailer Fnac lists the 3DS at 249€, which works out to $336.

Are There Different Versions Of The 3DS?
Nintendo is launching the 3DS in two colors: Cosmo Black and Aqua Blue. More colors will likely follow in the future, but black and blue is it for early adopters.

What We Know So Far About The Nintendo 3DSS

What Games Are Launching With the 3DS?
Between first-party titles and an impressive outpouring of third-party support from the likes of Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Capcom, the Nintendo 3DS has an impressive line-up of games in the works. The company says there will be more than 30 games available for the system between the March 27 launch date and E3 2011 in June.

The following is a list of upcoming titles for the system. So far only nintendogs + cats, Pilotwings Resort, and Steel Diver have been confirmed as Nintendo first-party titles that will be released within the three month window above.

  • Asphalt 3D
  • Bust-A-Move Universe
  • Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D
  • Crush 3D
  • Dead or Alive Dimensions
  • Dual Pen Sports
  • LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
  • Madden NFL Football
  • nintendogs + cats
  • Pilotwings Resort
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D
  • Rabbids Travel in Time
  • Rayman 3D
  • Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
  • Ridge Racer 3D
  • Samurai Warriors Chronicles
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked
  • Super Monkey Ball 3D
  • Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition
  • The Sims 3
  • Thor: God of Thunder
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D

View gallery »

Should I Buy The Nintendo 3DS?
At this point we've seen many compelling reasons to purchase the 3DS and not many reasons not to. The system is much more powerful than a Nintendo DS. It's got the full support of big name publishers ready to bring their most beloved franchises to the device. It'll play Nintendo DS games, DSiWare downloadable titles, and Nintendo will also be releasing classic Game Boy titles for purchase and download. It's also got 3D, and if that's not a selling point for you, it can always be switched off.

The only real hurdle is the price. At $250 USD, it's the most expensive handheld gaming device Nintendo has released. It's also the most powerful and technologically advanced. Does that make it worth the price? That's your call.

Looking for a more negative answer? Luke has the handheld's downsides covered.