The company cryptically announced it would give details of a ‘new product’ on Sept. 29. And while it’s possible the company has something unknown up its sleeve, most industry observers expect it will use that date to give the launch date and price for the 3DS.
Nintendo, to date, has only said it would launch the system before the end of its fiscal year (which closes on March 31, 2011). There was some speculation that the company would slip it onto store shelves this holiday season, but that died down when Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told talk show host Jimmy Fallon the 3DS was planned for “next year”. (Nintendo has since backed off of Fils-Aime’s comment.)
Nintendo is the first gaming company to announce portable plans for 3D, but hardly the first to embrace the technology. Sony’s PlayStation 3 already supports stereoscopic 3D – and while Microsoft has not formally announced plans to enter the space, Electronic Arts implied the Xbox 360 would do so when “Crysis 2” is launched later this year.
The 3DS is meant less to compete with emerging console technologies, though, as it is to give Nintendo an upper hand in its escalating battle with the iPhone. Apple has been making steady inroads in the portable gaming space, offering quality games for less than $10. Titles for the Nintendo DSi typically cost between $20 and $40.
With a 3D display incorporated into the 3DS, however, Nintendo will be able to further differentiate its offerings from Apple‘s. The company’s handhelds already have exclusivity on some of the industry’s top game franchises, including Mario and Zelda.