Nintendo's 3DS handheld console launches today in the UK and Australia, while the system will launch in North America on Sunday the 27th. Priced at $250, this marks Nintendo's most expensive handheld to date, but also its most ambitious. The main feature is obviously the glasses free 3D screen for games and video, but there's a lot more packed into the little hand held than meets the eye.
Overall the reviews of the hardware itself have been pretty positive, talking about screen quality, impressive 3D affect, and plenty of pack-ins. The big negative? Battery life. Almost every review mentioned the sub five hour battery life on the system as a downside.
Of course with any new system its all about the game's, and sadly for co-op fans, there's absolutely nothing at launch that supports true co-op play. Dead or Alive: Dimensions was supposed to be a launch title, but recently got delayed until May. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is slated for a June launch. You would have thought that LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars on the 3DS would have supported co-op play, but for some reason, Lucas Arts decided to cut the feature despite the normal DS version supporting it.
That said you will notice a lot of the game boxes mention co-op play in StreetPass. StreetPass is functionality that allows your 3DS to trade data with other 3DS systems when they "pass" each other on the street while in sleep mode. This "co-op" play usually involves things like trading characters, adding bonus items, etc. Right now we know that The Sims 3 and Combat Dinosaurs 3D both mention this type of "co-op" play on the box, but don't be fooled into thinking its anything more than a little bonus features - its not true co-op play.
The back of the Sims 3 Nintendo 3DS game mentions co-op play for StreetPass
We hope to have our review of the 3DS hardware up next week along with a few of the launch titles. We're hearing some good things about some of the pack in software like the Augmented Reality games and such and are anxious to get our hands on the system.
Will you be picking up a 3DS this weekend?
Below are the full specs for the launch system courtesy of Amazon which is offering $25 credit on a game when you purchase a 3DS system as well as $10 credit on all 3DS games.
Like previous handhelds released by Nintendo, the Nintendo 3DS incorporates both an upper and lower LCD display in a clamshell layout. The lower screen features familiar Nintendo touchscreen technology, is 3.02" (2.42" wide x 1.81" high) with 320 x 240 pixel resolution and is capable of displaying 16.77 million colors, but the groundbreaking upper 3D screen of the Nintendo 3DS system is where Nintendo opens up a whole new world of eye-popping gameplay possibilities. This 3.53" display (3.02" wide x 1.81" high) is capable of displaying approximately the same 16.77 million colors, but with 800 x 240 pixel resolution. 400 pixels are allocated to each eye to enable 3D viewing. This stereoscopic 3D display gives objects within the gameworld a feeling of space and depth that extends far into the back of the screen. This amazing depth of field effect vastly increases the ability to see the position of characters and obstacles in compatible game, making many game experiences even more intuitive for all types of players.
3D Depth Slider
A built-in 3D Depth Slider along the right side of the top display allows you to immediately adjust the intensity of the 3D settings on the Nintendo 3DS system to your liking. The 3D effect can also be turned down completely if the player so chooses. All Nintendo 3DS games and applications can be played in 2D, and look better when played on the Nintendo 3DS than any Nintendo handheld before it.
Motion Sensor and Gyro Sensor
Portable play control reaches a new level with the Nintendo 3DS' Motion Sensor and Gyro Sensor combination. Together these precision built-in features allow for new and unique gameplay mechanics as the 3DS reacts to real-time motion and tilt. Whether players are twisting their systems side to side, or moving it up and down, their motion-compatible Nintendo 3DS games respond instantly.
Circle Pad Analog Control
With the Circle Pad, located above the + Control Pad, Nintendo 3DS offers full analog control in 3D game worlds. Combined with the touch screen, traditional buttons, camera and microphone input, and advanced motion control of the Motion Sensor and Gyro Sensor, the potential is extraordinary.
3D Camera Functionality
Along with a digital camera facing inwards towards the player, the Nintendo 3DS system features two outer cameras positioned along its upper edge when device is open. These two cameras see the world in 3D, much like the human eye, allowing for the creation of 3D photos - and a similar 3D effect to that seen in Nintendo 3DS games. All cameras feature 640 x 480 resolutions with single focus lenses that use the CMOS capture element and an active pixel count is approximately 300,000 pixels.
The adjustable Nintendo 3DS Stylus takes the idea of touch control to a new and even more user-friendly level. Once removed from the holder, the stylus length can be adjusted to your liking with a simple push or pull. Now anyone can achieve the optimum level of comfort while playing games that use the stylus.
Dock your Nintendo 3DS system whenever you are not using it in the included Charging Cradle to keep it powered. You can then leave the system on in Sleep Mode while charging, so that it can communicate via the SpotPass feature at any time of day or night.
Other Key Features
Social and wired like no Nintendo system before it, Nintendo 3DS brings fellow players together in exciting new ways with StreetPass communication. Set your Nintendo 3DS to Sleep Mode and carry it with you wherever you go to exchange game data like Mii characters, high scores, and custom characters with other users you pass on the street. You control what data you exchange and you can exchange data for multiple games at once, making virtual connections with real world people you encounter in your daily life.
Nintendo 3DS includes SpotPass, a feature that lets Nintendo 3DS detect wireless hotspots or wireless LAN access points and obtain information, game data, free software, videos and so on for players even when the system is in sleep mode.*
2 GB SD Memory Card Included
Every Nintendo 3DS system comes packed with a 2 GB SD memory card. You can use this SD memory card to store your 3D photos, and sound recordings created on the Nintendo 3DS system, and music** from your PC. You can also use it to store games downloaded from the Nintendo eShop. The Nintendo 3DS system has SDHC card compatibility to increase your storage space even further.
Almost all existing Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi games can be played on a Nintendo 3DS system in 2D. With backwards compatibility, your existing portable games look and play just as well.***
Nintendo 3DS utilizes a frequency of 2.4 GHz, enabling local wireless communication among multiple Nintendo 3DS systems for game play and StreetPass, as well as access to the Internet through wireless LAN access points (supports IEEE802.11 b/g with the WPA/WPA2 security feature). Recommended distance of wireless communication is within 98.4 feet. This can be shorter depending on the environmental situation.
What's In The Box
Nintendo 3DS system, Nintendo 3DS charging cradle, Nintendo 3DS AC adapter, Nintendo 3DS stylus, SD Memory Card (2 GB), six AR card(s) (view the cards using the outer cameras to play supported AR games), Quick-Start Guide, Operations Manual (including warranty).
Thanks to Theo for the image of the Sims 3 3DS box and the StreetPass co-op info.