Nintendo takes the 3D plunge

Nintendo's DSi XL

Nintendo has announced that it will be first out of the gate with a game console that features 3D gaming — and it’s a handheld, no less.

The successor to the super-successful DS handheld is being called the “3DS,” and is said to somehow offer handheld gamers the experience of playing games in 3D without the need for special glasses. Nothing is known yet about the technology Nintendo is using to make this work, but the company plans to unveil the device at E3 in June. Industry scuttlebutt suggests that the 3DS console could go on sale for this holiday 2010.

It doesn’t take a cynic to realize that this plunge into 3D is very likely a play to try and regain some of the market share that Nintendo has lost to the iPhone. Apple has been slowly encroaching on Nintendo’s dominance in handheld gaming since the iPhone first appeared, and recent reports indicate that Apple is starting to seriously gain a foothold in the gaming industry.

But this is nothing less than a huge risk for Nintendo. 3D is an unproven technology where video games are concerned, and unless the proprietary technology Nintendo has come up with is truly revolutionary, it could easily flounder.

Like its predecessor, the 3DS is expected to have two screens, and Engadget believes that they’ll be less than 4″ each, making it smaller than the DSi XL (seen above). Engadget also claims that the 3DS will come with some kind of new controller that’s being called a “3D control stick.” And one assumes that the graphics resolution and capabilities will take a big leap forward.

Not much else is known about the device, but if Nintendo is smart, they’ll not only unveil it at E3, but make it playable on the show floor. Nothing builds buzz for a new game or new hardware like thousands of geeks getting their sweaty hands on it and telling all their friends about how cool it is.

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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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