Even as Sony’s latest handheld, the PS Vita, continues to stumble from one dismal sales week to another in Japan, Nintendo has achieved something truly special by managing to sell over 5 million 3DS units in Japan in little less than a year -- the 3DS launched on February 26, 2011. It’s quite an amazing feat considering that probably even the most die-hard Nintendo supporter would have ruled out such a possibility a few months back. Hit the jump for more.
When the Nintendo announced that 3DS sales weren’t living up to expectations, 3D skeptics were quick pile on. The company responded by sharply cutting the price, and while I have to admit even we were skeptical, it seems to be exactly what they needed to change their fortunes. According to the NPD group, the system has sold an impressive 1.65 million units in the USA year to date, putting the handheld on track to outsell its predecessor the Nintendo DS during the same period.
It's hard finding good work with the economy in the toilet, but we hear Nintendo's looking for a few good men (or women) to help Mario punch Link in the face. The way the company's drumming up interest in the opening is a little unconventional, though. After Nintendo head Satoru Iwata announced that Smash Bros is coming to the Wii U and 3DS during the company's E3 press event, reporters asked when the game would be released. The answer? Um, we haven't actually started on it yet. Know anybody looking for work?
I want a 3DS. Really badly, in fact. Of all the shiny new tech toys I desperately want to fiddle with at the moment, Nintendo's eye-popping portable is very nearly at the top of the list. I mean, the 3D effect looks stunning, and the brittle dam on my gushing nostalgia practically explodes at the mere mention of 3D updates to Metal Gear Solid 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Call me weak, but the thing's a day-one purchase for me, and I'll be drooling all over the packaging during the drive back home.
It's a damn shame, however, that such a neat little machine's being born into a world that's already passed it by. Sad to say, the game's changed. New players have entered the arena, and Nintendo's not even on equal footing – let alone prepared to trade blows and come out on top. But hell, I almost can't blame Nintendo for its current predicament.
Those of you holding your breath for the Nintendo 3DS will have to do so until late February or March (depending on which part of the world you call home). Nintendo has confirmed the launch date of the 3DS and also revealed its price. The handheld will debut first in Japan on February 26, 2011 and then go on to launch in Europe, Australia and the U.S the following month.
The autostereoscopic successor to the Nintendo DS will cost ¥25,000 (US$298), according to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. He made the announcement at a press event in Japan. The hardware package will include a Nintendo 3DS hardware unit, recharging cradle, AC adapter, 3DS stylus, 2GB SD memory card and 6 AR Cards (used for games with AR technologies). The complete 3DS spec list is available here.
There has been an addition to the list of upcoming autostereoscopic (glasses-free 3D) devices. The latest addition is of the portable variety. Supernova X1 is a 3D-capable tablet prototype that does not rely on 3D glasses for its mojo. Engadget's Chinese site was the first to get a glimpse of this tablet prototype from China's Rockchip.
However, not a lot is known about the Supernova X1 at this point in time apart from the fact that the glasses-free 3D effect can be adjusted (or even disabled) in much the same way as the Nintendo 3DS. Rockchip will unveil this tablet at the upcoming IFA 2010 event in Germany.
These days, it seems like consoles are the talk of the town. You can’t walk two feet without stubbing your toe on a new game that’s taking “full advantage” of either the Xbox 360 or PS3. But that’s now. And the upcoming revolution, according to BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk, won’t be televised.
"The future isn't necessarily on console," Zeschuk said. "That's the past. It's going to be a strong thing going forward, but the future is in all of these new businesses that are starting up.”
"We want to expand because, you look at what kids are playing on. Kids are playing on iPhones and iPads. The 3DS looks pretty amazing. All these platform options, we want to be touching on all those.”
BioWare doesn’t intend to be left in the dust, either. Already, the Mass Effect developer has expanded its horizons, though Zeschuk made sure to emphasize that BioWare “is still going to do the giant stuff.”
"We explored lots of different kinds of games. We did some Facebook stuff. We did an iPhone game for Mass Effect. It wasn’t the best one – people point that out to us… Large scale MMOs. Small scale MMOs. We're going to continue to do triple-A console, but we're also going to be exploring pretty aggressively."
So basically, if it has a screen and isn’t in some way attached to a car or airplane (and therefore, attached to a horrible car and/or airplane accident), you’ll soon be playing games on it. And while we’re all for a quick game of Pong on the ATM while we’re waiting for it to spit out our money, here’s hoping BioWare stays true to its word about continuing to make games for those of us who don’t currently spend a large portion of our day clicking back-and-forth between Farmville and Frontierville tabs.
E3’s been put to bed and tucked in tight, and we’ve given you a pretty good taste of what we saw while we were there. Here’s the thing, though: we only previewed games. Handy, sure, but isn’t there, like, an entire industry surrounding this stuff? So consider this your preview of everything else. Trends, technologies, when we’ll finally catch a glimpse of Half-Life 3 (answer: the day after Duke Nukem Forever comes out), and more!
1. Modern Warfare – I never thought I’d say this, but I sort of miss World War II. Actually, no I don’t, but after realizing that, by now, the number of fictional Middle Eastern countries invented to house fictional videogame terrorist groups probably outnumbers the actual Middle East, I’ve definitely started feeling some fatigue from constantly playing as the boys in fatigues. That, however, didn’t stop E3 from proudly displaying Call of Duty: Black Ops, Spec Ops: The Line, Medal of Honor, and plenty of others cut from the same cloth as Infinity Ward’s opus.
The Forecast: Modern Warfare’s influence has already spread to the most disparate corners of the gaming universe and will continue to do so. Some games won’t even try to dress up their influences (Medal of Honor, I’m looking at you. Oh, wait, is that you Modern Warfare 2? Sorry. Easy Mistake). Others, meanwhile, might try putting a personal spin on the proceedings – like Spec Ops with its choice-based storyline. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Every multiplayer game under the sun – war-based or not – is taking cues from Modern Warfare’s addictive level-up system. Don’t believe me? Try the latest Transformers game. Yeah.
There’s an old saying that goes, “If you want anything done, you have to do it yourself.”
Well, it’s a lie. Doing stuff is hard. Don’t believe us? Then here’s an object lesson: E3 happened last week. Now, you have two choices. You could turn the Internet upside-down, scouring hundreds of blogs, RSS feeds, and tweets for every last crumb of the information you so crave, or you could just let us do it for you.
Huh? Oh, hey. Would you look at that? We already did it. And you didn’t even have to lift a finger. Well, okay, you’ll have to lift one, actually, in order to click past the break. That’s still a pretty good deal, though, we think. And hopefully, we’ll have Maximum PC’s brand new telepathy-based “read more” link tech up and running in time for next year’s E3. Fingers crossed. Unless you don’t want to lift them.
If you think 3D is a fad you can do without, don't look now because Nintendo just got into 3D in a big way. The console maker has officially announced their new 3DS handheld game platform. The unit itself looks like a regular DSi, but uses a 3D screen that does not require glasses. It may be using a type of parallax barrier technology to produce the effect. The top screen is a 3.5-inch 3D panel, and the lower 3-inch screen is touch sensitive. There is also a motion sensor and a gyroscope that we believe will be used to adjust perspective in the 3D environment.
There will be a slider to adjust the 3D effect to their liking; it can even be turned off completely. Users will be able to download 3D movies to the device, and take 3D pictures. As for the games, Nintendo made it clear that they weren't going to be developing the only 3D enhanced games. The likes of Activisio, Take Two, Sega, Capcom, and Namco Bandai will be on board as well.
No pricing or street date information was provided, but at least it's now a real product. Are you in the market for this device? Admittedly, the prospect of a new Kid Icarus game has us a little excited.