Earlier this week at a company event in Japan, Nintendo revealed the release date and price of the Nintendo 3DS. It will sell for ¥25,000 (about $299 USD) when it hits the Japanese market on February 26, 2011. Not from Japan, huh? Ninty only hinted at a US and Europe release date: March 2011; they did not disclose US pricing details, but several industry analysts are pegging a $249-$299 price point. When it ships in Japan, the 3DS will be available in two color variants, aqua blue and cosmo black. The portable game console will come bundled with a charging dock and a 2GB SD card.
At the company event Nintendo detailed a number of software enhancements. The Mii Studio app magically transforms a still image of yourself (taken with one of the 3DS’ cameras) into a customizable Mii avatar. The Mii Plaza app takes advantage of the 3DS’ ability to recognize other 3DS handhelds in close proximity. Whether you’re actively playing a game or walking the streets with your 3DS in standby mode tucked away in a bag, the system will recognize and pull information from nearby 3DS users. At any time you can hop into Mii Plaza to discover a growing community of Miis from all the 3DS owners you pass by throughout the day. Similarly, a new wireless “tag mode” featured in the upcoming Super Streetfighter IV game will quietly seek out other 3DS owners to battle against. A minigame will pit one of your in-game collectable action figures against a nearby opponent when your 3DS is in standyby mode; and standard wireless 3DS to 3DS battle royales with in-game characters is supported, too. Other 3DS apps include a web browser, an ebook reader, notes, and support for augmented reality gaming.
Remaining loose ends.. The final 3DS hardware is very similar to what we saw at E3; the only noticable exterior change is that the analog nub no longer matches the handheld’s color scheme–it remains gray in each color variant. The 3DS software lineup was shared in a brief video preview. Upcoming titles include Animal Crossing 3DS, Mario Kart 3DS, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS, Paper Mario 3DS, Dead or Alive Dimensions, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Resident Evil: Revelations, and Resident Evil: The Mercenaries. It’s also been reported that Game Boy & Game Boy Color games are coming to the 3DS’ virtual console store. Look after the break to see the software lineup video in addition to demonstrations of Mii Studio, wireless “tag mode”, and a 3DS introductory video–all in Japanese, of course!
On a separate topic, Nintendo also used the company event to formally announce the Wii Remote Plus. It had been rumored for some time, but now it’s official: the Wii MotionPlus accessory (that grants greater 1:1 motion capability) will soon come permanently built into a Wiimote. Nintendo showed off the newly redesigned controller in four colors, white, black, light blue, and pink. Launch date and price have not been disclosed for any country. Check ’em out in the gallery below.