Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Clarification About the 3DS Warning

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the warning that Nintendo released concerning their 3DS that will soon be available. I talked about the effect that Nintendo said the 3DS’s screen could have on young children’s eyes. Well, at the Consumer Electronics Show, Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo for America, spoke about the recent reports concerning the company’s 3DS. He wanted to clarify the extent of the hazardous effects that the gaming device could have on young children.

Fils-Aime was interviewed recently by Gearlog’s Brian Heater. He claimed that the warning that Nintendo put out about their 3DS is very common when it comes to any kind of 3D display.

"Essentially, there's manipulation of your vision being done to get the 3D effect, and we're recommending that not happen for children six and under," he said. "All 3D devices carry a similar warning. Some of them, the age begins at six, some of them they say seven and under. What we’re saying is six and below should not experience the 3D images."

He went on saying that Nintendo has very similar warnings for many of their existing devices. "We do that with every device. With the Wii we recommend that you take a break and go outside. We're recommending the same thing. The insight here is, anything you do for an extended period of time, it'll put stress on your eyes."

The 3DS is a portable device that delivers 3D images without gamers having to wear any special 3D glasses. Fortunately, for concerned parents the 3DS also has a 2D mode that is completely safe for children of all ages. This allows gamers who are younger or have a disability and cannot safely experience the 3D mode to still have the opportunity to enjoy the device.

"The screen, even in 2D mode, is substantially better than any DS we've done to date," Fils-Aime said. "So even if you were going to use it only in 2D mode, there's a substantial experience that you can have."

Although the warning about the 3DS was released by Nintendo when the device was revealed in the summer, no one really seemed to pay any attention to it until late December when the 3DS quickly became the center of scrutiny by the media. The warning is posted on the Japanese Nintendo Web site. Translated it says, "Vision of children under the age of six has been said [to be in the] developmental stage. [3D content] delivers 3D images with different left and right eye images, [which] has a potential impact on the growth of children's eyes."

Fils-Aime warned that even older children who are using the 3DS should take a break from viewing the 3D content. Every 30 minutes or if users are feeling sick at all, gamers should take a break from their 3D device. In the past, Nintendo has advised gamers to take a break from their hand-held devices every hour, but since 3D causes eye fatigue much more quickly than 2D game play, this is why Nintendo decided that the 30 minute intervals were more appropriate for the 3DS.

One issue that needed to be addressed though was the 3D movies that the 3DS can play. Movies are obviously a lot longer than a mere 30 minutes, so what are kids supposed to do? Do they have to take a break from the movie every 30 minutes? That’s not exactly practical when we’re talking about kids here. Fils-Aime commented on the situation saying that parents will just need to use their best judgment when it comes to letting their kids watch 3D movies on the 3DS. If it seems as though their children’s eyes are getting fatigued, they should suggest that they take a break.

Fils-Aime also pointed out the convenient parental control feature that is built into the 3DS. It allows any concerned parents to turn off the 3D mode on the device.
I think that this clarification about the 3DS was a good move for Nintendo. People were a little freaked out when they first heard about the warning, but now that they know that Nintendo has similar warnings for most of their devices just as a precautionary measure, they should hopefully feel a little better.

The 3DS will soon be released, and like a lot of people, I absolutely can’t wait.

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