Nintendo 3DS set for March release in US

Nintendo 3DS gets a release date – and a price tag.

Nintendo 3DS, the latest handheld gaming system from Nintendo, utilizes glasses-free 3D technology. Here, a Nintendo employee displays a 3DS device at an event near Tokyo.

Nintendo 3DS, the next-gen handheld gaming console from the creators of the popular DS line, will hit US stores by March. That's the news today from Nintendo, which says the 3DS will arrive in Japan on Feb. 26, and in the US a few weeks after that (precise American launch date is TBD). The Nintendo 3DS will reportedly get a price tag of about $300 – relatively pricy for a handheld gaming device.

But according to Ars Technica, 3DS is set to ship with all manner of accoutrements, including "a charging stand, a stylus, a 2GB SD card for storage, and cards that, when viewed through the front-facing camera, become augmented reality images." A new promo video for the Nintendo 3DS – see below – positions the 3DS as a kind of one-size-fits-all device, good for gaming but also for chatting with friends, reading the news, and checking.... stock prices.

So in that light, the $300 price point might be viewed as almost reasonable. (We're open to hearing from dissenters on that one – drop us a line in the comments section below.) Moreover, Ars Technica has a short list of the games that should be available at the time of the 3DS launch, and the titles – some new content from the Metal Gear and Resident Evil franchises – are alluring indeed.

Electronics companies continue to pour money into glasses-free 3D technology, which is seen by many as the next step in the 3D boom. Earlier this year, the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbu reported that Toshiba would release a glasses-free 3D television in Japan by the end of the year. In an August interview with the Associated Press, Toshiba spokesperson Yuko Sugahara did not comment on the release dates specified by Yomiuri Shimbu.

But Sugahara did confirm that Toshiba was working on glasses-free 3D tech. "Many people don't like to wear glasses to watch TV for a long time, especially people who must wear 3-D glasses over regular glasses," she said. Meanwhile, at least one company is reportedly in the process of developing a glasses-free 3D application for Android and Apple iPhone handsets.

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