And the 3D revolution rolls onwards. First it was movie theaters. Then it was 3D TV sets. Now it's video game systems. On Tuesday, Nintendo announced it would soon begin selling a device called the Nintendo 3DS, which the company is billing as the world's first 3D handheld gaming platform. There are a lot of question marks here: There is no word on price, for instance, and Nintendo has not specified how the 3DS technology actually works.
Nintendo says that the 3DS, which apparently does not require 3D glasses to properly view 3D games, should be available sometime in the next year. In an interview with the New York Times, Ken Toyoda, chief spokesman at Nintendo, said that the 3DS will get its official unveiling at E3, the annual electronics expo. “We’ll invite people to play with the new device then," Mr. Toyoda said.
As the Times points out, there is at least one existing 3D device that works without 3D glasses. The atrociously-titled Hitachi Wooo H001 cellphone, which went on sale in Japan last year, allows owners to switch to 3D parallax view by flipping a switch on the side of the device. A new, yet unofficial, video circulating the web (see below) suggests that the Nintendo 3DS could use similar parallax mapping technology to simulate depth and distance. Perhaps it will also use an accelerometer, similar to iPhone and iPod Touch, to track tilt and change the on-screen image accordingly.
In recent months, Nintendo has sought to expand the reach of the DS handheld line, which already dominates the portable gaming market. At the end of March, for instance, Nintendo is set to release the DSi XL, a large-screen version of the standard DS. Among the first games available for the DSi XL will be "100 Classic Books" – a title designed to appeal to casual audiences unlikely to be interested in first-person shooters or sports car racing.
Are you a Nintendo DS fan? We want to hear from you. Would you consider shelling over a couple of extra bucks for the Nintendo 3DS? Or does the device look gimmicky? Drop us a line in the comments section.