LOS ANGELES: Right at the end of Nintendo's presentation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime cheekily dismissed home 3D by saying, "There's nothing to watch or play yet on big screen 3D, and those glasses are not cheap."
Laying down the gauntlet to Sony, who are keen to push 3D TV and 3D gaming on the PlayStation3, Reggie went on to confidently proclaim "No one said (3D) would be easy. No one but Nintendo!" before Japanese company president Satoru Iwata took to the stage.
Like the DS, Iwata explained, the 3DS has two screens, but the top screen is a 3.5in 3D widescreen instead of the usual square display seen on previous models.
Users will not need to wear special glasses as the 3D effect can be seen with the naked eye. There is a slider on the 3DS's side that can be used to regulate how strong the effect is.
Like the Wii's controllers, the 3DS has motion sensors built into it, so it can tell which direction it is being moved in. Players can tilt and move the handheld in order to get a better view of objects on the 3D screen.
It also has a slide-pad controller, a little like a circular touchpad, and two cameras on the outside of its clamshell design.
This enables users to take photos that will then be displayed on screen in 3D. 3D films were touched on, indicating that preliminary deals have been done with Walt Disney, Warner Bros, and Dreamworks Studios at least for trailers if not full-length features.
As for games, Mr Iwata promised "ample game content the first day on the market." Kid Icarus and Nintendogs + Cats were mentioned during the presentation itself, with others alluded to or saved for a later announcement.
Iwata, Miyamoto and Fils-Aime were shown in a promotional video with characters and accessories from Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong. A special E3 edition of "Iwata Asks" later mentioned Starfox, Animal Crossing and Pilotwings for the device.
Astonishingly, the Nintendo 3DS was assigned neither a release date nor a price point by the end of the conference, though there are plans for price-cuts for the DS line.
Though Nintendo has scheduled the hardware for release sometime before March 31, 2011, it's much more likely to see the light of day by November or December 2010, at least in Japan if not in the United States and Europe as well.