Nintendo 3DS Coming Q1 2011, Will Cost the Same as 250GB Xbox

Nintendo held a big press conference yesterday in Tokyo, during which they released finalized details about their new portable gaming device, the 3DS. (The 3DS is Nintendo’s successor to the DS, with upgraded specs and a 3D screen that requires no special glasses.)

The big news: the 3DS is releasing in Japan (which always gets Nintendo’s stuff first) on February 26, 2011, and then sometime in March 2011 in North America and Europe. The price? It’ll be 25,000 Yen in Japan, which translates to about $300 in the U.S. Yes, that’s right: the price of portable gaming devices is catching up to their television console brothers (though the U.S. price has not yet been officially announced). Will the cost of 3D gaming will be the same as an Xbox 360 console with a 250GB hard drive? It sure looks like it.

New 3DS capabilities that were announced, videos of games being made for the new hardware, and more are right after the jump…

Just like the Wii, the 3DS comes with a passive “always on” feature that allows the hardware to receive system updates and communications from other players (via their Miis) even when it’s not in use, and flashes a light when it’s received something new. Speaking of Miis, one nifty new feature announced at the press conference is the ability to use the 3DS’ built-in dual cameras to take a photo of someone and then have the system automatically create a Mii for them. A built-in app called Mii Studio makes this possible. You can also save Mii images to an SD card.

Something else you can do with the built-in 3D camera system is Augmented Reality (AR) games. Ever on-the-nose with their software titles, Nintendo is working on a proprietary game that shows off this technology, called AR Games.

One announcement that the Nintendo faithful will especially love: the 3DS has a virtual console built in that will let you play old Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games, which will be downloadable through an online store. A new wireless LAN service is being launched exclusively for the 3DS, called “Wifine.”

Perhaps one of the most interesting announcements out of Tokyo is that Nintendo is planning to offer some streaming 3D television content through the device, as a test trial. Should it work well and become popular, you can probably expect to see it rolled out in other parts of the world. No word on how much this feature will cost in Japan.

Two colors for the portable console will be available in Japan at launch: “Aqua Blue” and “Cosmos Black.” (Is Crayola is the official sponsor of the color names?) It comes with a fancy new telescoping stylus.

Here are some new vids of the 3DS, including game footage, to whet your appetite…

So what do you think? Is the 3DS the new hotness? More to the point: is it worth $300?

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Robin Parrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

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