Nintendo 3DS

Image Caption: An aqua blue Nintendo 3DS. Credit: Evan-Amos/Wikipedia

The Nintendo 3DS is a hand held game console produced by Nintendo and released into the Japanese market on February 26, 2011, in North America March 27, 2011, and in Europe March 25, 2011. This device displays 3D effects without the aid of 3D glasses or other accessories. On July 28, 2011, Nintendo reduced the price from lagging sales, but offered ten free NES games and ten free GBA games if purchased at the full price. The Nintendo 3DS XL version was released on August 19, 2012, which featured a 90 percent larger screen and a 4 GB SD card.

In October 2009, Nvidia had been acquired to develop hardware for the future Nintendo 3DS. In early 2010 it was mentioned that a motion sensor would be implemented into the new system. In February 2010, a handful of developers were in the possession of development kits for the 3DS. On March 23, 2010 the Nintendo 3DS device was announced, and subsequently revealed at a conference on June 15, 2010. Kid Icarus: Uprising was the first title announced at the conference along with many third party games like Final Fantasy, Resident Evil Revolutions, and DJ Hero.

On the release of the Nintendo 3DS in Japan, 374,764 units were sold in the first week of release. In America just under 500,000 in the month of March 2011, with 440,000 in the first week. Since the initial release 3.61 million devices were sold as of March 31, 2011, although Nintendo was expecting 4 million. Total sales world wide as of December 31, 2012 is 29.84 million.

Many different colored versions and special editions were released between July 24, 2011 and April 30, 2012.

The 3DS features a 1 Ghz dual-core CPU, 128 MB RAM, 2 GB of internal flash memory with a 2 GB SD card. It has Wi-Fi connectivity and compatible with the Nintendo DS and DSi. The top screen is 3.53 inches and the bottom screen is 3.02 inches.

The 3DS XL features a larger top display of 4.88 inches and the bottom display is 4.18 inches. It also had an increased battery life of 86 percent. A 4 GB SD card instead of the 2 GB SD card was included. It has Wi-Fi connectivity and compatible with the Nintendo DS and DSi.

The 3DS has three cameras, one front facing and two rear facing, the rear cameras can capture 3D images and can be edited. On December 6, 2011 a systems upgrade allowed users to record ten minutes of 3D video capture, with either stop motion, interval or montage modes.

The unit includes an activity log which tracks games that have been played as well as physical activity and the length of time. This is for earning play coins, 10 per day, 300 total, that can be redeemed on certain games and applications. The 3DS and 3DS XL are bundled with several augmented reality games that use real time graphics.

A virtual console service was added in an update on June 6, 2011 which would be compatible with Game Boy games, Game Boy Color games, classic games in 3D, TurboGrafx 16, and Game Gear games.

The Nintendo 3DS supports multi-player over the internet with an always-on connectivity feature named “CrossPass”. This feature automatically seeks and connects to a wireless network, sending and downloading information while in sleep mode or while playing a game. Examples of this feature would be the sharing of avatars and software content. It can also detect another 3DS unit being used within its range, establish a connection, and exchange content of mutually played games. Another feature of this is it can acquire magazine and newspaper articles.

A free application download in December 2011 was called Swapnote, similar to the DS’s PictoChat, and allows users to send pictures, sound, and messages to other users.

The 3DS also supports movie and video playback, and on July 14, 2011, Netflix streaming service became available. Hulu Plus became available in 2012.

A feature called Mii Maker is where the user can create a likeness of themselves or can import or export a Mii to a Wii device. The Mii can be created by a photo taken by one of the cameras. Miiverse is Nintendo’s social network system that allows the player to share content and status, and their Mii will be displayed on Miiverse.

An accessory for the 3DS is the Circle Pad Pro, which is an add-on that adds a second analog joystick, extra shoulder buttons, and bundled with Monster Hunter Tri G.

Nintendo cut prices in August 2011 from lower than expected sales. To compensate those who had already purchased the unit, Nintendo offered ten NES and ten GBA games for a free download.

A common complaint from users was the short battery life 3.5 to 6.5 hours.