With the $299 3DS casting its glasses-less spell on gamers, Nintendo is graciously dropping the prices of the handheld’s still prospering predecessors. Effective May 20 the DSi and DSi XL will see their prices slashed to $99 (from $149) and $129 (from $169), respectively. Not into the whole 3D craze that’s going on these days? Nintendo has now made the decision to jump on the DS bandwagon a heck of a lot smoother.
In related news, also on May 20 Nintendo is unleashing a new color variant of the 3DS: Midnight Purple. This joins Cosmo Black, Aqua Blue, Flame Red, and Pearl Pink in the fight against uniformity. Brief PR after the break.
PS Vita, the most powerful handheld video game console ever, is out now. Have launch day nerves? Here’s what you need to know. Sony is selling two different SKUs: the $249 PS Vita with WiFi and the $299 model that also packs in 3G from AT&T. (Also available are the $299 Launch Bundle and the $349 First Edition Bundle, but these are being sold in limited quantities.) If you opt for the 3G model, AT&T is offering up tiered data plans that go like this: 250MB ($14.99), 3GB ($30), and 5GB ($50). There are 25 PS Vita-specific titles from first and third party developers, and the standout must-buy game is Naughty Dog’s Uncharted: Golden Abyss. In addition to fantastic graphics, Uncharted takes advantage of many of the Vita’s innovative input functions including the dual analog sticks, the six-axis motion sensor, and the touch-sensitive back; and so the game will help acclimate you to the new handheld. What else? The PlayStation Store has been updated with Vita-specific apps including Facebook, Netflix, LiveTweet, and Flickr; these freebies are necessities for early adopters, no doubt.
Gamers, it’s time to getcha game on and discover what the new PlayStation Portable is all about. Links to snag one for yourself rest in the paragraph above.
If you’ve got a 3DS and entered yourself into the Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors club in August, there are ten additional free games waiting for you in the eShop today! They are Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare Inc. Mega Microgames, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Wario Land 4, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity. This batch of free Virtual Console games from the Game Boy Advance vault follows the first wave of free NES games that were offered in early September. Access the eShop to download the games; for step-by-step instructions click here. Ninty hopes this serves as a peace offering between the company and early adopters of the 3DS that were tied down and forced to witness a significant hardware price drop over the summer.
Today Nintendo boosted its 3DS handheld with some fresh functionality. Nintendo said this feature was coming and now it’s finally here: after downloading the free software update, 3DS owners can now have fun with 3D video recording. You can record up to 10 minutes of glasses-free 3D video in continuous or stop-motion style. Another cool new feature is system transfer; if you’ve got a 3DS you can transfer photos, audio recordings and games, including save data, to other 3DS systems. Street Pass Mii Plaza and the Nintendo eShop have been updated as well. Buying and downloading content in the shop has been made easier; you can use your credit card to purchase content by adding only the needed funds, you can choose to Download Now or Download Later, and now there’s the ability to cue up downloadable content and let it install to your system in Sleep Mode. The update also includes something special for Mario Kart 7 players; any time you play online against another Nintendo 3DS owner in MK7, you can now automatically add them to your Friend List without a friend code. And last there’s Nintendo Zone. If you find yourself standing in one of Ninty’s 29,000 3DS hotspot locations you’ll be offered free and automatic access to game previews, 3D videos, trivia challenges, retailer promotions, coupons and more. Dig into the 3DS’ system settings to perform the software update right now.
Sony is giving its most loyal customers an opportunity to snag a PS Vita one week before the powerful handheld officially launches in North America on February 22. To get your sweaty palms and greasy fingertips on a PS Vita February 15, all you have to do is preorder the “First Edition Bundle” which comes with the Vita (3G + Wi-Fi model), a limited edition case, a 4GB memory card, and the Little Deviants game. The bundle costs $349.99 (that’s a hundred dollars more than the standalone 3G + Wi-Fi model) and it’s up for preorder now at select retailers including Best Buy and Amazon. Want a chance to play with the next generation portable before everyone else? This is it.
If you followed Nintendo’s simple instructions to become a Nintendo 3DS Ambassador like a good fanboy and fangirl, ten Virtual Console games are now waiting to be downloaded on your portable gaming machine, free of charge! The first batch of games come from the NES collection and they are Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, Metroid,Yoshi’s Egg, Mario Open Golf, Wrecking Crew, Balloon Fight, and Ice Climber. Access the eShop to download the games; for step-by-step instructions click here. And if this wasn’t enough to satisfy your appetite for classic gaming on the go, you can expect Ninty to offer another 10 retro games from the Game Boy Advance catalog later this year.
On September 9 a new Flame Red version of the Nintendo 3DS will join the Cosmo Black and Aqua Blue paint jobs on retail shelves. Remember, the significant 3DS price drop goes into effect tomorrow August 12, so all three color variants will be sold for a reasonable $169.99. (Don’t forget: If you’re an early adopter and already own a 3DS, connect to the Nintendo eShop before midnight tonight to become eligible for a boatload of free Virtual Console games!)
In a press release (pasted after the break) Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime pumps up anticipation for the holiday sales season. ”Nintendo 3DS is poised to be on fire for the holidays, with its new suggested retail price, great games and our new Flame Red color,” said Fils-Aime. “With major upcoming releases in the Star Fox, Pokémon and Mario series, in addition to downloadable offerings from Nintendo eShop, Nintendo Video and Netflix, the system offers new and fun experiences to owners on a daily basis.”
3DS sales have been waning since the initial launch surge in March due to lack of must-get titles. Nintendo is aware of this, and that’s why they’re gearing up for an exciting games lineup starting in September. Star Fox 64 3D releases alongside the Flame Red 3DS in September, Super Mario 3D Land (featuring the famed Tanooki Suit) drops in November, and Mario Kart 7 races to the 3D handheld this December.
Netflix is officially available on Nintendo latest handheld device, the 3DS. As long as you are signed up with streaming plan (starting at $7.99/month) you can stream content from Netflix directly to the 3D-capable handheld. I know what you’re pondering: does any of the Netflix content take advantage of the 3D capability? At the moment, no. But the press release (pasted after the break) is promising. It hints, “Users will soon have access to an additional library of select movies that can be viewed in 3D without the need for special glasses.” Unfortunately I do not think this future update involves Netflix, however. Back in March Ninty mentioned that a short-form video service was on the way; it is described as a 3D video channel that will act as a gateway to 3D produced content like movie trailers, music videos, and comedy shorts. Perhaps that is what the PR is referring to. But for now, if you’ve got a 3DS go ahead and enjoy Netflix content in classic 2D. The app is now available to download for free in the Nintendo eShop.
The second big E3 press conference was hosted by the PlayStation makers. Again, here’s all the info in easy to digest bullet-point form.
- President of Sony Computer Entertainment of America Jack Tretton started by addressing the elephant in the room. He apologized to everyone for the recent PlayStation Network outage.
- Sony announced that the PS3 is the leading Netflix streamer amongst consumers, account for almost 30 percent of Netflix’s streams. Coming this fall to PS3 owners is Best Buy’s CinemaNow video service, providing consumers with access to more than 12,000 TV episodes and movies for rental or purchase.
- Upcoming PS3 exclusives include: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (a demo was played and a 3D trailer was shown, due out November 1, 2011); Resistance 3 (Sony will ship a Resistance 3 Sharpshooter bundle dubbed the “Doomsday Edition” and it’ll come with the game, the gun accessory, the PlayStation Eye, and Move controllers, $150, due out September 6); the God of War Origins Collection will bring the PSP games Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta to the PS3 remastered in HD and 3D; the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus collection is also coming to the PS3 with support for 3D gaming.
- Speaking of 3D gaming, Sony plans to drive adoption for the new in-home format by selling a PlayStation-branded 3DTV. The 24-inch set features a mode where players can view individual, unique, full-screen images of gameplay when playing two-player games; the bundled set of 3D glasses do the trick. Other specs: LCD display, 1080p, 2D/3D support, high contrast (5000:1), wide viewing angle (176 degree) high response time (4ms GTG average), slim design, high quality sound, 2 HDMI ports. For $499.99 you get the 3DTV, Resistance 3, one pair of 3D glasses (PS-branded 3D glasses will sell separately for $69.99), and an HDMI cable. It’s a good idea, but question remains: is the lower barrier of entry low enough to get you to buy into 3D today?
- Upcoming games to utilize Move include: NBA 2K12 (Kobe Bryant popped by for the demo); Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest (made by the devs who brought us the Move launch title Sports Champions); inFamous 2 (out now); deeper Move functionality is coming to LittleBigPlanet 2 this September; Starhawk; Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (he’s back in 2012); Dust 514 (this PS3 exclusive releases spring 2012 and will extend to the NGP); BioShock Infinite (Irrational Games’ Ken Levine had to be convinced by Sony to incorporate Move support in this new title; though skeptical at first, Levine has found potential in it…he also announced that a new game set in the BioShock universe will release for the NGP some time in the future…and Infinite will come packed with the original BioShock); and Star Trek (will release next year alongside the J.J. Abrams sequel and will ship with a phaser-like accessory).
- New games from EA will provide PS3 exclusive content: SSX (Mt. Fuji map), Need for Speed: The Run (exclusive cars), and Battlefield 3 (Battlefield 1943 comes on the disc).
- Sony honcho Kaz Hirai also addressed the PSN outage and said, “We learned a lot during the recent outage of the PlayStation Network and one of the most important things we learned was the trust and loyalty of our customers.” On that higher note, he talked up the PlayStation Suite and PlayStation-certified Android devices.
- And then the announcement we’ve all been waiting for…the NGP is officially called PlayStation Vita. Where does the name come from? Sony explains: “Derived from the Latin word “Vita,” which means “Life,” this next generation portable entertainment system enables a revolutionary combination of rich gaming and social connectivity within a real world context.” It ships this holiday season and two models will be offered: WiFi only for $249.99 and WiFi+3G for $299.99. Sony has partnered with AT&T for the 3G data (the crowd moaned in laughter when this news was announced). The following games will be coming to PS Vita likely as launch titles: Uncharted: Golden Abyss, LittleBigPlanet, Ruin, Wipeout, and ModNation Racers. Capcom previewed Street Fight X Tekken; the game will feature InFamous‘ Cole MacGrath as a playable character. For a more in-depth look at the PS Vita, click here!
- Some DJ concluded the event with thumping beats.
Like Microsoft’s presser, I was left somewhat unsatisfied after watching Sony’s outing. They failed to excite me with a new franchise or by reinvigorating an old classic (though the return of Sly looks promising). PS Vita is an odd name for the PSP successor, but that won’t matter in the end if the content developed for it is good. And by the looks of it many developers are jumping on board to produce all kinds of fun, interactive experiences with the handheld’s OLED touch display, tilt functions, camera, and back touch pad. Here’s to hoping that Nintendo brings the goods tomorrow when they announce their new home console and new 3DS titles.
Sony’s next-gen handheld known as the NGP is going to be the talk of the town at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). During their press conference Sony will likely give the NGP an official name, price, and release date. To ramp up anticipation for the announcement, they’ve posted five “NGP Previews” at the PlayStation.Blog website. They introduce gamers to a handful of the system’s launch titles and they include Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Wipeout, Sound Shapes, Hustle Kings, and Super Stardust Delta. The former three previews were paired with video demonstrations, and they’re embedded here for your viewing pleasure (one above, two after the break).
Attention Nintendo 3DS owners–your handheld’s first major system update arrives early next week, Monday June 6 to be exact. It brings the long-awaited Nintendo 3DS eShop and a handy Internet browser. The eShop contains a wide variety of downloadable content; the press release says it all:
The Nintendo eShop is a digital store for Nintendo 3DS owners that provides access to a wide variety of downloadable content, such as original 3D software, classic games that have been re-mastered in 3D called 3D Classics, Game Boy and Game Boy Color “Virtual Console” games in their original 2D glory, and more than 350 Nintendo DSiWare games. Visitors can also view video game trailers, screen shots and product information for games, including those available at retail locations.
To celebrate the introduction of the eShop on the 3DS Nintendo will offer the classic NES game Excitebike remastered in 3D as a free download until July 7. The company promises that new content will be added to the eShop every Thursday. Ninty hints that upcoming Virtual Console content includes Game Boy games Super Mario Land, Alleyway, and Radar Mission. Another free application that’ll be offered for eShoppers is Pokédex 3D; it lets you collect data for more than 150 Pokémon from the Pokémon Black and White Version games and view them in 3D with animated motion and sound. Data can be shared with friends using the wireless SpotPass feature.
Additionally the update also gives Nintendo DSi owners the ability to transfer “most” of their previously downloaded Nintendo DSiWare games to their new Nintendo 3DS systems. So that’s nice. Note that this system update does not include the short-form video service that will bring 3D movie trailers, comedy clips and music videos to the handheld; the company is saving it for “the near future.” Same goes for Netflix.
When the evening of June 6 rolls around, head over to System Settings from the Home Menu and select System Update to pump new life into your maturing 3DS.
The Nintendo DS Lite just got a tad cheaper. Effective June 5 the DSi predecessor will drop about $30 and sell for a low $99.99. Ninty boasts that “more than 48.9 million systems in the Nintendo DS family have sold in the United States alone.” The new price point will only force that number to increase in time. And if you think that’s impressive, check this: according to Nintendo “thirty-one Mario games have topped sales of more than 1 million units since 1995, more than any other franchise. Through the end of March 2011, more than 262 million games in the core Super Mario series have sold worldwide.” To celebrate Mario’s popularity, the company has hand-picked six Mario-themed DS games to receive new red packaging and they are New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart DS, Super Mario 64 DS, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! and Mario Party DS. Unfortunately there is no discount being applied to these games; the new coat of paint is simply there to ”make it easier than ever for consumers to identify these hit titles in stores.” Full PR after the break.
This week at Game Developer Conference 2011 in San Fransisco Nintendo held a brief press conference detailing their latest handheld sensation the Nintendo 3DS. Though it’s already been sold in Japan and the U.S. release is right around the corner (March 27) the company is already detailing the system’s first major software upgrade. First up, Netflix is coming to the 3DS this summer. Users will be able to access their Netflix movies and TV shows on the device and have the option to pause said content and resume it on the big screen via the Wii’s Netflix portal.
In addition, the 3DS will gain a new 3D video channel that will act as a gateway to 3D produced content like movie trailers, music videos, and comedy shorts. The channel will be automatically updated with new 3D content over a wireless connection. Ninty also hinted that 3DS owners will eventually be able to record their own videos in 3D using the devices dual rear-facing cameras.
The house that built Mario went on to further detail the Nintendo eShop, a place where 3DS users can browse and download all kinds of content including DSiWare games, Game Boy and Game Boy Color classics remastered in 3D, and a Virtual Console which will include titles from Sega’s Game Gear and TurboGrafx-16. All of this plus a web browser is expected to make its way to the 3DS via a software update in late May.
Speaking of Mario, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata teased a Super Mario 3DS title by showing a logo for the game; a small grey raccoon tail juts out of “o” in Mario likely hinting at what’s to come (perhaps a long overdue sequel to Super Mario Bros. 3?).
And finally, Nintendo announced a partnership with AT&T that will give 3DS owners free access to 10,000 WiFi hotspots. SpotPass, a 3DS software feature that automatically receives new game content and system updates even while the device in sleep mode or charging, will take advantage of the WiFi access points to do its thing.
The Nintendo 3DS releases March 27 for $249.99. Preorder yours today.
Today Sony hosted PlayStation Meeting 2011 in Japan, and there they announced the successor to the PSP (codenamed NGP) and provided details on how they plan to expand the PlayStation brand to Android devices.
Let’s start with what you’ve been waiting oh-so-long for. The oft-rumored PSP2 has finally been unveiled. But don’t call it that; Sony has branded the new device “Next Generation Portable” or NGP for short. Though at first glance the NGP aesthetically appears similar to its predecessor, additional control options and the spec sheet will blow your mind. The NGP packs a 5-inch 960×544 OLED capacitive multitouch display (OLED screen technology allows for great viewing angles, and the screen resolution is 4x greater than the PSP’s), a powerful quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, a quad-core Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX543MP4+ GPU, dual analog sticks (as opposed to the PSP’s single analog nub), front and rear-facing cameras, built-in GPS, WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth, microphone, stereo speakers, the same Six-axis motion sensing system that’s featured in the PlayStation Move controller (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), and there’s a three-axis electronic compass. Buttons-wise, you’ll find the usual suspects: the D-Pad, action buttons (triangle, circle, cross, square), left and right shoulder buttons, start, select, volume, power and PS buttons. And I’ve managed to save the coolest new input implementation for last. The NGP packs a rear-mounted multitouch pad; it’s the same size as the front-facing OLED display, so the location of your finger is mapped directly to the game screen. This new kind of input allows for “touch, grab, trace, push and pull” finger gestures and will open up a whole new world of gaming opportunities for developers. All of this is stuffed inside a “Super Oval Design” form factor that is, again, similar to the PSP (there is no slide-up mechanism as featured in the PSP Go). (Click here for more…)
Today Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime took the stage in New York City to discuss the Nintendo 3DS launch details we’ve been waiting for. The 3D-enabled DS handheld will release on March 27 in the US for $249.99. It will come in two color variants: Cosmo Black and Aqua Blue. Ninty promises that over 30 3DS games will be available during the launch window (that is, between the March 27 and the E3 Expo in early June). These include a mix of first and third party games. Though Nintendo did not specify a solid list of launch titles, the press release mentions the following games: Pilotwings Resort, which has players soaring acrobatically over iconic Wuhu Island; nintendogs + cats, a new version of the Nintendo DS classic with a feline enhancement; and Steel Diver, a side-scrolling submarine adventure that gives the illusion that the player is peering into an aquarium. The ones you really want to play like the 3D versions of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Paper Mario, plus the return of fan favorite Kid Icarus in Kid Icarus: Uprising are simply “in the works” with no release dates attached just yet. Some third party games mentioned at the event include Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition (Capcom), Madden NFL Football (EA), and LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (LucasArts), but again no release dates were specified.
So that pretty much does it for launch details. However, in addition to announcing price, release date, and games support, Fils-Aime took time to talk about the 3DS’ hardware and expand upon the some of the pre-installed software. Like its DS predessors, the 3DS packs two screens; the bottom one’s touch-sensitive and the top one’s 3D-enabled (no pesky glasses required). A 3D Depth Slider can be used to manipulate the 3D effect during gameplay; the slider can turn off the 3D effect entirely and all 3DS games can be played in traditional 2D. In addition to the D-Pad, a new Circle Pad provides a full 360 degrees of direction and allows for a higher level of precision during gameplay. The 3DS also packs built-in motion and gyro sensors, so it can react to the motion and tilt of the system. You’ll also find three camera built into this thing; one on the inside (facing you during gameplay) and two on the outside. Combined the latter two can capture 3D pictures and you can view them on the top 3D display. Other hardware notables: the 3DS comes bundled with an adjustable stylus (for use on the bottom touch-sensitive display), a 2GB SD memory card, and a charging cradle.
The Home Menu is where all your apps live. Mii Maker is just what it sounds like and works similarly to how Miis are created on the Wii. The difference here is that the Mii Maker will ask you to take a photo of yourself and the software will try its best to convert your real-life features into a Mii avatar. If the conversion doesn’t sit well with you, manual customization options are available to fiddle with to make things right. You also have the ability to import your Mii avatar from your Wii console by way of SD card transfer. The augmented reality-based game Face Raiders lets you take pictures of your friends and turn them into shooting targets. It’s a simple game that highlights the built-in gyro sensor since it requires you to physically lean and turn to search around for the targets and aim high and low to hit them. AR Games works similarly, but they take advantage of the pack of AR cards that come bundled with the system. All you have to do is place one of the AR cards onto a flat surface, point the outward facing 3DS camera at it, and targets come to life. Animations are superimposed into the scene; so for example if you place a card on your kitchen table the backdrop for the targets will be the kitchen table (that’s augmented reality gaming in a nutshell). The Activity Log tracks both your gameplay activity, much like the Wii Calender does automatically. It notes which games you’ve played and how long you’ve played them, as well as your physical activity, counting every step you take while carrying your Nintendo 3DS. Even when the system’s in sleep mode, it acts as a pedometer and tracks the distances you travel; the more you walk the more Play Coins you will earn. These coins can then be used to purchase in-game bonus content, if the game’s developer decides to support it. The Nintendo eShop offers access to downloadable games. In addition to DSiWare games, Virtual Console games pulled from the Game Boy and Game Boy Color catalogs will be available to download. Game videos, screenshots, demos, and ratings will also be browsable here. Titles can be purchased with either a credit card or prepaid cards. Other software notables: StreetPass Mii Plaza (more on this below), Internet Browser, Camera app (capture and view 3D pictures), Video app (watch 3D content), Sound app (listen to music in MP3 or AAC format from the SD card, plus record and play with sounds using the 3DS’ built-in mic); oh, and the 3DS is backwards compatible with all Nintendo DS games.
Fils-Aime mentioned that the 3DS is Nintendo’s most connected video games console ever made, and he’s not lying. First let’s get this awesome update out of the way: friend codes are no longer specific to each game you buy, there is only one code and it’s attached to your 3DS. Once you swap friend codes with someone, they will remain on your friend list and you can always check their online status no matter what game you’ve got running. Now to some fun new features: StreetPass and SpotPass. StreetPass is capable of exchanging game information with other Nintendo 3DS systems as owners pass one another. An example of StreetPass functionality is the aptly titled StreetPass Mii Plaza. Much like its Wii counterpart, the 3DS’ Mii Plaza will congregate your Mii avatar with all the other 3DS owners you happen to pass by, say, on the street (and your avatar will jump onto the 3DS of the person you pass). In addition to sharing your avatar, other information can be exchanged over StreetPass including maps for games, high scores, and custom character data for different games. This might be obvious but it’s worth pointing out–if you don’t want any information to exchange on the fly (because all this can happen while the 3DS is in sleep mode tucked away in your pocket) you can disable the StreetPass function. Next up is SpotPass and this essentially connects to 3DS up to public or private at-home WiFi hotspots. Once connected, the system can receive new content and updates even when it’s in sleep mode or charging.
Peer in the gallery below to get a closer look at the 3DS hardware, and look after the break to watch the 3DS virtual tour and catch a sneak peek at the software launch lineup. Also, don’t forget to check out my hands-on preview of the 3DS from E3.
Black Friday is right around the corner, and Nintendo know how to celebrate. Starting November 26 you can pick up the Nintendo DSi in two brand new colors, orange and green! The new colorful DSis will come bundled with a copy of Mario Party DS. $149.99 is the price. These new systems join the limited-edition red Nintendo DSi XL bundle and red Wii bundle in honoring the 25th anniversary of the Super Mario Bros. game on the NES. Mario Party? Really? Well, at least the new colors pop. Look after the break to see the packaging for Mr. Green.
We knew it was coming, but Nintendo has made it official. The Wii Remote Plus (or the newly designed Wii-mote with the MotionPlus accessory built inside) is coming to U.S. Wii players for an exciting low price of $39.99. Ninty confirms the Wii Remote Plus will become the new standard Wii-mote to come stuffed inside all Wii packages and bundles when it releases November 7. It will come in the following tints: white, pink, blue, and black.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros. game, Nintendo decided to deck out the Wii in a red coat of paint for Japanese gamers. Today I am happy to announce that the company who invented Mario is bringing the celebratory console to the States. In addition to the red Wii console, the limited edition bundle includes a red Wii Remote Plus and matching Nunchuck, Wii Sports, and a copy of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The bundle costs $199.99 and ships November 7.
But the fun doesn’t stop there! A special-edition Nintendo DSi XL bundle lands November 7, too. The red DSi XL features three iconic Super Mario Bros.-themed graphics and comes bundled with a copy of Mario Kart DS and preloaded with Brain Age games and a Photo Clock. It’s priced at 179.99.
Let’s hear it for the most iconic video game characher ever–happy birthday Mario!
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.
On September 12, Nintendo will drop the prices of their two DSi handhelds by $20. The DSi will be $149.99 and DSi XL will be $169.99. The DS Lite model will remain at $129.99. Says Nintendo’s Cammie Dunaway: “We know shoppers want to get the maximum value out of every dollar they spend. Our new Nintendo DSi prices make it easier than ever for consumers to access the tremendous variety of games, applications and social tools on the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DSi XL systems.” The press release announcing the price drop also shared this tremendous stat: According to the NDP Group, “through the end of July, total Nintendo DS family hardware sales are more than 42.3 million in the United States alone.” Wowzers. With the DSi lineup at a lower entry price and the 3DS readying for a launch (a release date is expected to be named soon), there really is no stopping the killer incentive to purchase a Nintendo handheld.
After a flurry of rumors Nintendo finally revealed its next handheld to the world with the 3DS. Its overall design does not depart from its predecessor the DSi. There are two screens; the top is 3D-capable (widescreen 3.5 inches), the bottom is touch-sensitive. No glasses required! Button and camera positioning remains almost the same. New additions include a home button, a Slide Pad (it’s an analog nub), a 3D Depth Slider that allows you to control the 3D effect from 100% to totally off, and a third camera positioned next to the one on the front allowing for 3D picture-taking. It also packs an accelerometer and gyroscope. All in all the 3D effect was quite pleasing and added a new sense of depth to the demonstrations and trailers. It definitely takes a couple minutes to adjust your eyes to the screen but once that’s done the depth perception becomes a welcome addition to gameplay. Your initial reaction will be “woah, this is neat.” It’s worthy to note that there is a 3D boundary when you’re holding the device in your hands. If you tilt the 3DS ever so slightly or try to have someone else watch what you’re doing from a slight angle the 3D effect gets completely distorted and essentially disappears. As for the analog nub, it feels and works similar to the PSP’s nub and will likely make for some new interesting control schemes for 3DS titles.
Speaking of games, the 3DS section of the Nintendo booth did include a couple playable games but they were extremely barebones and there only to give people a glimpse into the 3D effect. Samurai Warriors 3D had me fighting off an incoming army of ninjas. Thought the 3D effect was there, the gameplay was rather stale and did not make for such a great experience. On the other hand, StarFox 3D brought a sense of nostalgia over me and I quickly became immersed in the playable demo as I took flight in the skies and shot lasers at enemy planes. A vast amount of 3DS handhelds were loaded with 3D environments that you could only explore by manipulating the camera angle with the nub. Resident Evil Revelations cutscenes look fantastic in stereoscopic vision. All in all, the 3DS is an impressive piece of hardware and I’m excited to see how Nintendo continues to build on the platform as we near its release in 2011. 3D is starting to become a trend in the movie industry and now in video games thanks to the PS3 and 3DS. It’ll be interesting to watch the competing companies vie for the top spot with one bridging the gap between 2D and 3D gaming with glasses and the other doing it without them.