At a launch event in Sydney last night, Nintendo announced the Australian pricing and release date for its 3DS handheld gaming console. The glasses-free 3D console will cost $349.95 and will be available in stores nationwide on March 31.
The Nintendo 3DS builds upon the dual-screen concept of the Nintendo DS that was released in early 2005. The slimmer Nintendo DS Lite followed in 2006, but three years passed until the handheld console was updated in the form of the Nintendo DSi. Mid-2010 saw a minor revision with a larger screen, the Nintendo DSi XL. The Nintendo 3DS has a lenticular 3D screen that simulates a 3D effect without the use of 3D glasses like those seen on 3D TVs. The control system remains largely unchanged with the lower screen responding to touch input, and familiar buttons and navigational pad remaining in their previous locations. A new analog joystick allows a full range of smooth motion when playing 3D games. Augmented reality games are also possible with the Nintendo 3DS, which includes six augmented reality cards with each console.
On March 31 the Nintendo 3DS will be available in two colours — Aqua Blue and Cosmic Black. The handheld console will cost NZ$453 in New Zealand, while US buyers can purchase it for US$250. The unit's £229 price in the UK is roughly in line with Australian pricing, but the ¥25000 Japanese RRP translates to around $300 Australian.
More than 30 3D gaming titles will be available for the Nintendo 3DS during the first three months after the launch, including DS stalwarts Nintendogs and Pilotwings. Further titles from Nintendo and third-party developers, including popular franchises Street Fighter, The Sims, Resident Evil and Ridge Racer, will also be released with 3D enhancements. A 3D version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is "coming soon".