Technologizer posts about Nintendo 3DS

Place Your Bets: Will Nintendo 3DS Dual Thumbsticks Take Off?

By  |  Posted at 12:59 pm on Wednesday, December 14, 2011

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One thumbstick is rarely enough when you’re playing modern video games, so Nintendo’s 3DS is giving gamers a second stick via a $20 peripheral.

The Circle Pad Pro, which launched in Japan this month, is coming to the United States on February 7. The attachment snaps in around the base of the Nintendo 3DS, and includes an extra shoulder button as well. It requires a AAA battery to operate.

Here’s the issue: Existing games won’t work with the Circle Pad Pro, and developers will have to design future games to support dual sticks. So far, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D and Resident Evil: Revelations are on the roster of supported games.

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More Shake-Ups Rumored for Nintendo 3DS

By  |  Posted at 2:20 pm on Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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Something’s brewing at Nintendo headquarters. According to Gamasutra, the company is planning a news conference in Tokyo on September 13, with only one topic of discussion: the future of the Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo’s newest handheld device had a troubled launch, with slower sales than expected. That prompted Nintendo to drop the 3DS price from $250 to $170 earlier this month. In a letter to early adopters, Nintendo said it had to cut the price to boost sales, ensuring that publishers would support the new hardware.

Now, Nintendo is rumored to be planning even bigger changes. French site 01net reports that Nintendo may redesign the 3DS with a second analog stick and a reduced emphasis on glasses-free 3D. This model would launch under a new name in 2012, the site’s unnamed sources said.

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Nintendo Outs Flame-Red 3ds, Walmart Drops Price Early

By  |  Posted at 12:55 pm on Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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If you haven’t snatched up a 3DS yet (if not, we wouldn’t blame you, given the dearth of interesting games) Nintendo’s sweetening its upcoming price drop with a ‘Flame Red’ version. If red’s your thing—as opposed to “Aqua Blue” and “Cosmo Black”—Nintendo says it plans to offer the alternative color from September 9th, shortly after the handheld’s price plummets from $250 to $170 this month.

Except wait a second, isn’t that supposed to happen this Friday, August 12th? That’s what Nintendo’s said, you know, all official-like.

But according to reports (and pictures of actual sales receipts), it seems some stores are selling the system at the new price already. Like Walmart, where you can reportedly get it for $169.96. (I know, does anyone seriously choose to buy, or not to buy, based on the cheap pennies discount gimmick?)

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Nintendo Gets Desperate, Will Drop 3DS Price to $170

By  |  Posted at 9:11 am on Thursday, July 28, 2011

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Nintendo has already admitted that sales of its 3DS handheld are lower than expected, so the company’s announcement of a Nintendo 3DS price cut isn’t a huge surprise.

But boy, is it ever a price cut. Starting August 12, the cost of a Nintendo 3DS will fall from $250 to $170, making for one of the sharpest price drops in handheld history.  This also makes the 3DS a mere $20 more expensive than a Nintendo DSi, unless Nintendo announces discounts for its 2D handheld in the coming weeks.

Early adopters who paid $250 for the 3DS will get 10 free NES Virtual Console games starting September 1 and 10 free Game Boy Advance games by year-end.

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Nintendo Takes Heat for 3DS Bricking Policy, Rights to User Content

By  |  Posted at 10:59 pm on Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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A consumer advocacy group is giving Nintendo a hard time over the Nintendo 3DS’s terms of service, which allow the company to disable modded consoles and claims a license to all user-generated content.

Defective By Design, a campaign run by the Free Software Foundation, seeks donations in exchange for sending Nintendo a brick — symbolic of Nintendo’s ability to render devices useless.

I suppose the campaign has done its job, because I wasn’t aware of Nintendo’s 3DS terms of service until I read the coverage on BoingBoing and PC World. But while several sites reported on Nintendo’s anti-modding policy back in March, not much attention’s been given to the rights Nintendo claims on users’ activities, personal information and content.

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Nintendo 3DS In Trouble Already

By  |  Posted at 9:58 am on Wednesday, April 27, 2011

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Nintendo’s latest financial results admit that the Nintendo 3DS handheld isn’t selling as well as the company had hoped, while ignoring the elephant in the room.

The magic of glasses-free 3D was supposed to sell itself — or so Nintendo thought. Now, the company realizes that showing off the Nintendo 3DS at retail stores and public events isn’t enough. “There is no easy road to making people understand the attraction of glassless 3D images and making Nintendo 3DS widespread,” says the company’s report (via Kotaku).

But instead of acknowledging that smartphones and tablets have eroded demand for single-purpose portable gaming devices, Nintendo pins the blame on a lack of education. Nintendo says it needs to “thoroughly encourage people to properly adjust the 3D Depth Slider” and add more content that can be viewed passively, such as 3D video.

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Nintendo 3DS Launches, Haunted by Smartphones

By  |  Posted at 9:55 am on Sunday, March 27, 2011

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The Nintendo 3DS goes on sale in North America today, and while my experience is limited to previews at trade shows and a public demo over the weekend, my sentiment is similar to that of full reviews: The tech is impressive, even if the first batch of games aren’t. (For more thorough analyses of the 3DS’s strengths and weaknesses, check out the reviews from Chris Kohler at Wired and Ben Kuchera at Ars Technica.)

But most reviews don’t offer a direct comparison between the 3DS and smartphones, which represent the handheld’s biggest threat. So allow me to share an anecdote:

Over the weekend, Nintendo showed off the 3DS at a kiosk on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. Public demos like this are a big part of Nintendo’s strategy, because advertisements can’t really convey the feeling of glasses-free 3D. I stopped by the kiosk with my father, who’s in town for the weekend.

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Nintendo 3DS Ad Grapples With 3D Marketing

By  |  Posted at 4:03 pm on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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With less than two weeks until the Nintendo 3DS launches in the United States, Nintendo is showing off its first commercial for the 3D gaming handheld. And in doing so, the company has raised a question that comes up every time someone tries to advertise 3D: How, exactly, do you market something that can only be witnessed in person?

In a way, this issue has dogged television makers for years. Back when tube televisions ruled, electronics companies had to convince us of HDTV’s visual fidelity through words or metaphor. That’s true with any incremental improvement in picture quality. But while it’s easy to believe that a new TV simply looks better than an old one, 3D has the challenge of selling the public on an entirely different way of viewing video. Take a look at how Nintendo handles it:

 

 

I think the visual effect of jumping into and out of the game is a valiant effort. If I were 20 years younger, I’d probably be flipping out over this stuff, and it definitely does a better job of selling the 3D concept than most 3D TV ads. (My personal least favorite is the one from Panasonic where a family gets sucked into outer space, accompanied by a voiceover from a creepy, whispering child.)

One other thing that strikes me about the Nintendo 3DS ad: the users. These people are my age, which is to say they fall into the stereotypical gamer demographic. In recent years, Nintendo’s made a killing by targeting everyone else.



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Nintendo 3DS, the Gaming Device That Streams Netflix Movies

By  |  Posted at 12:30 pm on Thursday, March 3, 2011

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It behooves Nintendo to insist that the Nintendo 3DS is first and foremost about playing video games. That way, when a feature like Netflix streaming comes along, it’s a surprise instead of an expectation.

Netflix streaming was the big news from Nintendo’s Game Developers Conference keynote on Wednesday. The feature will arrive during the summer, at least a few months after the Nintendo 3DS’s March 27 launch.

Despite the news, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime emphasized that the “primary function of the 3DS is to play games.”

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Nintendo 3DS: $250, March 27 Release Date

By  |  Posted at 8:20 am on Wednesday, January 19, 2011

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After 10 months of teasing, Nintendo has answered the biggest lingering questions about its next handheld: How much will the Nintendo 3DS cost, and when can you get it?

At $250, the Nintendo 3DS is almost twice the price of the DS Lite, and $100 more expensive than the DSi. It’s the most expensive handheld Nintendo has ever launched, and ties the Wii for Nintendo’s priciest hardware launch ever (if you don’t adjust for inflation).

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A Peak at Nintendo 3DS Pricing

By  |  Posted at 8:24 am on Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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In the most unceremonious fashion — a financial forecast — Nintendo announced the price and release date for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan.

The Nintendo 3DS will launch on February 26 for 25,000 yen (roughly $300). It’ll arrive in the United States and Europe in March at the earliest, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

(Update: Nintendo also held a press event in Japan with lots of 3DS announcements. Kotaku has the final specs and some good news: Nintendo DSi owners who bought downloadable games will be able to transfer them to the 3DS.)

If history’s any indication, the 3DS will cost less than $300 in the United States. As Gaming Age points out, the DSi XL, Nintendo’s latest handheld, sells for 18,000 yen in Japan (roughly $215 now), and $170 stateside. My completely speculative, uninformed guess? $250 in the United States.

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How Nintendo’s Dealing With 3DS Eye Strain

By  |  Posted at 4:46 pm on Monday, August 2, 2010

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If 3D gaming is going to take off, it’ll have to find a way to reduce eye strain during lengthy play sessions. For one Nintendo 3DS game designer, that means being mindful of the way 3D effects are applied.

Masahiro Sakurai is a veteran game designer who is now working on Kid Icarus — the first proper sequel to the NES classic — for Nintendo 3DS. When asked by CVG whether he’s felt any eye strain with the handheld, Sakurai said the issue is most pronounced when there are a lot of objects flying towards the user.

Sakurai’s solution? Focus more on movement away from the user. That’s it. Sakurai didn’t elaborate further or give any examples of how this would affect the game.

I’m not completely satisfied by the explanation. When I tried the Nintendo 3DS at E3, my most profound 3D moment happened when a dinosaur nearly popped out of the screen during a scream of rage. To hear that such moments must be used sparingly is disheartening.

But at least the explanation shows that Nintendo developers are trying to address eye strain at all. Nintendo was already burned once by the issue; the infamous Virtual Boy would actually pause and remind players to take breaks. Those who didn’t heed the advice got headaches.

Nintendo’s other eye strain solution is built into the 3DS hardware: Players can reduce or switch off the 3D effect entirely with a slider on the side of the device. Again, it’s no cure-all, but at least it will allow people to keep playing without interruption.



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Nintendo 3DS Has a Clever Defense Against Used Games

By  |  Posted at 8:54 am on Tuesday, July 13, 2010

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While game publishers slowly make used games less attractive to buy, Nintendo’s 3DS will encourage people to hang on to the games they’ve got.

Speaking to Wired, Nintendo 3DS platform producer Hideki Konno talked about a feature called “Tag Mode.”  Basically, it’ll allow two 3DS owners to wirelessly share game data from the handheld’s internal storage. So to swap profiles in Animal Crossing, for instance, users won’t need to keep the actual game cartridge handy.

Wired’s Chris Kohler said this sounds like a way to extend the life cycles of games, and Konno agreed, saying Tag Mode ” will bring consumers a sense of wanting to play a game again, after they get new data from games that they’d forgotten about.” To think of this in a business sense, gamers will be encouraged to hang onto the games they’ve played, on the chance that another 3DS owner will have something awesome to share.

That’s one less game for GameStop to sell at Nintendo’s expense. It’s a similar idea to downloadable content, with two differences: Tag Mode won’t require any development after a game’s release, and it probably won’t cost players anything extra.

There aren’t enough details on Tag Mode to know whether it’ll work, but I like the gesture in light of what other publishers are doing. In May, EA Sports announced that it will charge $10 extra for online play unless the game is purchased new. THQ followed with a similar policy, charging $5 for online play to second-hand owners of UFC Undisputed 2010.

Over time, I think we’ll see more publishers go this route, but I’d rather see them encourage customers to keep new games rather then discourage them from buying used ones. Tag Mode probably won’t distinguish between new and used games, but it could at least slow the cycle of trade-ins without punishing customers.



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Nintendo 3DS Impressions: Cool With Caveat

By  |  Posted at 5:34 pm on Thursday, June 17, 2010

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Judging by intimidatingly long lines alone, Nintendo’s 3DS was the star of E3. Crowds made a beeline to Nintendo’s booth every morning and formed a queue that snaked around the booth for the remainder of the day. Fortunately, the crowd thinned in E3′s final hours, and I finally got a better picture of Nintendo’s 3D handheld hardware.

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Lessons From Nintendo’s 3D Ventures

By  |  Posted at 3:36 pm on Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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Nintendo surprised us all today with the announcement of a 3D handheld gaming device, tentatively called the Nintendo 3DS. The company didn’t explain how the technology would work, only saying that the 3DS will be released this fiscal year (before March 2011) and will be shown in greater detail at the E3 expo in June.

Surely, I’m not the only one whose mind jumped to the Virtual Boy, Nintendo’s short-lived foray into 3D from 15 years ago. In lieu of any hard facts about what Nintendo’s doing this time, here are a few lessons that could be learned from that failed experiment.

Gimmicks don’t work: Short-sighted gamers once thought the Wii and the Nintendo DS were gimmicks, and they were wrong. These gaming devices fundamentally changed how games are played, with new control methods and ways of seeing the action. The same couldn’t be said for the Virtual Boy, whose games were often like any other console but with a cheap 3D effect (the controller’s dual D-Pads were meant to enable 3D controls, but most games used them interchangeably). Hopefully the 3DS will unlock new possibilities for gaming instead of just looking cool.

Comfort is Key: One issue with the Virtual Boy that I’ve never experienced on other gaming consoles is the requirement to sit in a very specific position, at a table with your head stuck into a set of tripod-mounted goggles. Obviously the Nintendo 3DS won’t be so extreme, but it could be a pain in the neck if you’re required to hold the device at specific viewing angles.

Headaches stink, and so do breaks: In the middle of some intense gaming, no one likes being told by the machine that it’s time to rest, as the Virtual Boy did. Nor does anyone enjoy getting a headache, as induced by the Virtual Boy, after ignoring the advice. I hope Nintendo’s new attempt at 3D doesn’t present the same dilemma.

Don’t Underestimate the Killer App: The Virtual Boy’s pack-in title, Mario Tennis, failed to convey the technology’s advantages, because it was basically a straightforward tennis game with a 3D perspective. By comparison, the Nintendo DS hit Nintendogs effortlessly showed the advantages of stylus and touch screen gaming. The 3DS needs to come out of the gate with something that sells the console over the existing and wildly popular Nintendo DS.



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