We told you about there being a launch event for the Nintendo 3DS yesterday. That event is now done and dusted and we’ve come out of it with some juicy tidbits of information regarding the upcoming handheld, along with launch titles, release dates and pricing.

The event itself moved at an excruciatingly slow pace and was very boring to watch, especially because I do understand Japanese and listening to the same thing twice in different languages was an exercise in tedium. Even this couldn’t dampen my excitement for the announcements though, which is what I was watching the webcast for in the place. So without much further ado, let’s get on with it.

Price and Release Date:
The 3DS will retail for $249 (around Rs. 11,350) in the US, which is $50 dollars less than the converted number from Japan’s 25,000 Yen price point. The reason for this is the rising Yen value, which has forced Nintendo to rethink their pricing strategy for other territories. Anyway, March 27 was announced as the US release date.The 3DS will be available in Red, Black and Aqua Blue

The 3DS will be available in Red, Black and Aqua Blue

Europe will get the 3DS two days earlier than the US on March 25, but Nintendo Europe have had a brainfart and decided not to set an official price for the handheld, instead leaving it in the hands of retailers. Obviously, the European prices are atrocious at the moment, with the cheapest offer being one of £219 (Play), which translates to a translated price that’s $100 more than the US price.

I really don’t know what to think of this pricing strategy. This is a handheld that is priced exactly the same as one full fledged current-gen console (PS3) and is more expensive than the other (Xbox360), so the pricing really does seem to be extremely steep at first glance. Even more so because the Wii was launched at the same price! What could justify it is the software support for the device and all the features it has.

Launch line-up:
Nintendo America Chief, Reggie Fils-Aime has gone ahead and said that there will be about 30 games releasing in the 3DS period between March 27 and June 7 (which is when E3 will begin). The list includes games from various developers catering to a myriad of genres, ranging from action games to fighting games and even RPGs. Unfortunately some of the games that Nintendo were focusing on showcasing much before the event, like Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, made it onto the list of 23 titles that Nintendo USA released as launch window titles, which is a disappointment, but here’s the list for what it’s worth.

  • Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked
  • The Sims 3
  • Pilotwings Resort
  • nintendogs + cats
  • Dead or Alive Dimensions
  • Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
  • Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D
  • Ridge Racer 3D
  • Rayman 3D
  • Super Monkey Ball 3D
  • Asphalt 3D
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars
  • Madden NFL Football
  • Dual Pen Sports
  • Rabbids Travel in Time
  • Thor: God of Thunder
  • Samurai Warriors Chronicles
  • LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
  • CRUSH 3D

That’s not a terribly strong launch line-up but there are a few games on that list that people would really like to play, so it’s not a terribly weak one either. What is really surprising is that Nintendo doesn’t have one huge first party title that they’d have wanted to showcase in such an event. While it’s all well and good that they’re moving away from the huge reliance on first-party titles they had in the previous generation, it really does look like they’re going to the other extreme now because this line up is too tilted in the third parties’ favour.

As expected, PES 2011 3D is one of the launch titles

As expected, PES 2011 3D is one of the launch titles

Another thing I’ll never understand is why Pokemon Black and White were released as DS games instead of being 3DS launch titles.

Other Features:
The Nintendo 3DS also has a lot of other features and connectivity options, which are as follows:

  • Backwards compatibility with DSi and DS games
  • Cameras that will take 3D images
  • MP3 and AAC support
  • Adjustable Stylus
  • Online eShop for GB and GBC games, 3D videos/movies and demos
  • StreetPass and SpotPass Connectivity
  • Improved Friend Code System
  • Augmented Reality Games
  • Accelerometer and Gyroscope
  • WiFi connectivity with hotspots and other 3DS consoles
  • Activity log with Coin Pass
  • An Internet Browser down the line, and more.

Out of these the things that excite me the most are the 3D cameras, the improved Friend Code system and the connectivity options. Backwards compatibility is nothing new because it was confirmed ages ago but it’s still something that I, and I’m sure a lot of people around the world, are thankful for.

SSFIV 3D Edition has some pretty cool versus modes

SSFIV 3D Edition has some pretty cool versus modes

The connectivity and multiplayer options are quite cool. Taking for example Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, gamers can fight each other no matter where they are, as long as they have internet access via WiFi. They can even fight them without the need for a hotspot as long as they’re within range of each other, regardless of whether they’re at home or out on the streets. While spectating a fight wasn’t possible earlier, the 3DS allows people to watch fights that are going on in their vicinity.

The Friend Code system was also one that required a complete overhaul from its current iteration, which assigns you a unique friend code for each piece of software you purchase. Quite frankly it turned multiplayer, both on the Wii and on the DS, into a pain in the butt. Thankfully, the 3DS will have system specific Friend Codes, so no matter what game you want to play, your code will remain the same.

The 3D cameras are quite self-explanatory. You can take images in 3D and view them on the console, or transfer and look at them on other 3D compatible devices. With the number of 3DTVs and cameras on the nice, it’s quite a nifty little feature for a portable gaming console to have.

Internet-wise, the eStore allows you download and watch 3D videos/movies and also playable demos for upcoming titles. Gameboy and Gameboy Colour games will also be available for purchase and download, which you can then play via the 3DS’ Virtual Console.

To buy or not to buy, that is the question.
The Nintendo 3DS is a device with some good features and a decent launch lineup. However, it’s priced rather extravagantly and with Nintendo’s track record of releasing variants of their handhelds post-release, should you really be putting down your hard-earned money for this at launch? To be extremely honest, I would recommend waiting – either for high quality system-seller games to release, or for the price to drop. You could also wait for the 3DS Lite, or the 3DSi, or the 3DSXL – you get my drift.

All things said and done though, excuse me while I run off to pre-order the 3DS.

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