Nintendo has announced its newest portable gaming system: the 3DS. The most exciting thing about the announcement seems to be that the game will feature 3D content. The company's Nintendo DS line dominates the portable gaming market and this newest member will probably continue that tradition. In February alone, Nintendo DS sold 613,200 units. Over four and a half times the sales of Sony's PSP. But it's not exactly clear if the 3DS is aimed to replace the DC and other portable consoles, or simply be a new addition to the entire line.
While Nintendo has confirmed the new gadget via a written letter just released today, they've been pretty quiet about the details. It says the 3DS will be released before the end of the current fiscal year (March 2011). Also, no glasses will be needed to view the 3D content, which has many gamers excited.
The console will also be backwards compatible with non-3D games. Meaning you will be able to use it to play game titles created for the DS and DSi. Nintendo says it will provide more details at the E3 show in Los Angeles on June 15, including a possible launch date. Many experts are predicting a holiday-time release, which would make a lot of sense for the company.
Other rumors about the gaming system include that it might possibly use Hitachi microlens 3D displays. This technology uses a microlens array of tiny convex lenses in columns under an LCD screen. In turn, they crate 3D effects as you look at the screen. Although Hitachi technology supposedly requires large resolution displays, it is also rumored that Hitachi has a demo system that uses five-inch 1280 x 768 panels. The DSi XL uses a 4.2-inch display but a slightly larger display for the 3DS, in an effort to make it 3D, would not be out of the question. Of course, there are other technologies out there, that allow for 3D effects without glasses.
Despite their portable sales, Nintendo has been one of the hardest hit gaming companies. In 2009, in Q3, they saw a 23% loss in profits, which many attribute to the diminishing demand for the Wii. However, the entire gaming industry saw a nearly $2 billion loss in sales in 2009, compared to 2008. Recent numbers from February of this year show that the Xbox 360 was the top-selling gaming console that month, followed by the Wii and the Playstation 3. The month also shows a 15% decrease in sales compared to February 2009.
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