Games in Science and Technology

Nintendo 3DS Detailed

Nintendo 3DS LogoNintendo President Satoru Iwata used his company’s E3 2010 media briefing as an opportunity to showcase the successor to the widely-popular Nintendo DS family; a next-generation handheld that promises 3D gaming without the need for expensive hardware or the use of special glasses.

Though the Nintendo 3DS hardware shown looks familiar, the slim device will unsurprisingly house a host of improvements. The 3D-capable top screen will be a 3.53” widescreen display that will run at a resolution of 800 x 240, with 400 horizontal pixels being dedicated to each eye during 3D viewing. Read More...

The bottom screen will remain touch-capable and run at a resolution of 320 x 240 to ensure backwards compatibility with Nintendo DS and DSi retail titles. There has been no mention of DSiWare titles, nor a system for users to transfer existing content. The touch screen will display in 2D only and the 3DS will come with a telescoping stylus that extends to four inches in length.

Nintendo 3DS HardwareAn analog “Slide Pad“, similar to the nub on the PSP and PSP go has been added to aid control in 3D environments, with the traditional d-pad located underneath it. The start and select buttons have been moved underneath the touch screen and a home button has been added to access system functions.

The 3DS will come equipped with both motion and gyro sensors, making it the first handheld console to feature out-of-the-box motion control capabilities.

Like the DSi, the 3DS will feature both internal and external 0.3 Mega pixel cameras, however there are now two outer cameras. This allows users to take 3D photographs, which can then be viewed on the device.

A slider on the right side of the 3DS will let users actually adjust the amount of 3D effect they see when playing software; from full-effect to completely off, something that is not possible with traditional glasses-based 3D viewing.

The wireless capabilities of the device have received a rather significant update. The 3DS will support both WPA and WPA2 secured networks and the device will be capable of communicating with the Internet and other 3DS units when in sleep mode. Users will also be able to toggle wireless communications on and off, even when using software, using a simple switch.

According to an interview with Ryan Stradling, a developer at EA, the 3DS will not only support updating software through wireless communication, but will allow users to exchange information such as game scores or current activity with those on a friends list and the developer hints at an “achievement” system. He also implicitly mentions a voice chat system.

The 3DS unit itself, though not finalized will weigh around eight ounces and be approximately 5.3 inches wide, 2.9 inches long and a mere 0.8 inches in thickness; almost exactly the same size as a DSi unit.

nintendogs and cats for Nintendo 3DSThe Nintendo 3DS is already receiving strong developer support. In addition to first-party flagship titles like nintendogs + cats, Mario Kart and Animal Crossing, early adopters can expect to see entries in the Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil and Shin Megami Tensei series’ to name but a few.

Developers will have 2 GB to work with at launch, which is a significant upgrade from the current maximum DS cartridge size of 256 MB and even more space than a UMD for PSP can handle.

Based on early screenshots, the 3DS is much more graphically capable than it’s predecessors. Output is being compared to Dreamcast or PS2 levels, which apparently looks quite impressive on a small display and unlike other 3D viewing methods is said to not lose fidelity of colour or appear blurry.

The 3DS will be capable of viewing 3D movie content and Dreamworks, Disney and Warner Bros. have all been confirmed as content partners.

More technical information such as battery life and the processors being used has not been released yet, though Digital Foundry speculates that an ARM-based processor is being used to ensure backwards compatibility and that the NVIDIA Tegra GPU is not included as previously reported.

There was no announcement of a release date or pricing for the Nintendo 3DS made during the E3 2010 media briefing.