Nintendo 3DS UK Launch Details

Once upon a time there was a Nintendo DS, and everybody wanted to touch her. Feeling she ought to make some changes to herself, she lost some weight (DS Lite), had some cosmetic surgery (DSi), and later increased her bust size (DSi XL). She has recently undergone a full three-dimensional make over (3DS), and in just a few days time will take to the streets on March 25th, charging consumers just under £200… the slut.

You’ve probably already seen the TV ads playing, or maybe even tried one for yourself. In case you haven’t figured it out, the unique selling point of Nintendo’s 3DS console is that you’ll be able to play 3D games without the need of any fiddly glasses.

The console first launched in Japan on February 26th, costing 25,000 Yen (around £190). Apparently all 400,000 available units were sold out by the end of the weekend. With only 185,000 units available for the UK launch, something similar could be expected here, especially with the console having already exceeded 100,000 pre-orders. According to a spokesperson from GAME, “There seems to be enough stock for launch – but if everybody who is excited about the product buys it, there will probably be stores (not just GAME or Gamestation) that sell out” The console will launch in the US a few days later on March 27th at a cost of $249.99 (about £155).

Once you purchase your 3DS, what will you find in the box? As well as the console itself, there is a thick instruction manual, a Quick Start Guide, AR (Augmented Reality) cards that’ll allow you to play some AR games, a 2GB SD memory card, a telescopic stylus, a charging stand, the usual Nintendo VIP points, and of course an AC adaptor plug. After charging your 3DS you will of course be wanting to play some games. There’ll be 25 games available from launch till June. However, the following will available to buy from day one:

Asphalt 3D

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

Nintendogs + Cats (there are three variations – French Bulldog, Golden Retriever and Toy Poodle.

Pilotwings Resort

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D

Rayman 3D

Ridge Racer 3D

Samurai Warriors: Chronicles

Street Fighter IV 3D

Super Monkey Ball 3D

The Sims 3

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars 3D

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D

Unusually Nintendo offered retailers a trade price for the console, and left them to decide how much to pocket out of British customers. This resulted in a feverish price war, as pre-orders started as high as £229.99, though now many retailers have dropped to under £200. High street stores GAME, Gamestation, HMV, and online retailer Play, are now selling the handheld console for just £196.99. Supermarket chain Morrisons trounced them all after revealing that they’ll be selling the 3DS for £187, provided you put down a £10 deposit. Since then, Dixons, Amazon and Asda have responded by also reducing their price to £187. According to IT Pro Portal, using the voucher code ASDA5 on Asda’s website brings the 3DS down to £182, which would currently make it the cheapest place to pre-order.

For the desperately eager, a number of GAME, Gamestation and HMV stores will open from midnight on March 24th, with Nintendo’s main launch event being held at HMV Oxford Circus (the first 500 customers here will receive a free 3DS game). If you’re interested in losing sleep, a full list of GAME stores taking part can be found here; Gamestation stores here; and HMV stores here.

The 3DS features an onboard camera, allowing you to take pictures in 3D, though the resolution is somewhat low at 640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels). There is also the option to play games wirelessly and eventually watch feature films in 3D. The top 3D screen is 90mm in diameter (slightly smaller than the DSi XL), but boasts a resolution of 800 x 240. The lower 2D screen is 77mm in diameter, and is touch screen capable, with a resolution of 320 x 240.

The biggest criticism so far has been the battery life. Running on a lithium-ion battery (taking three-and-a-half-hours to charge), playing a 3D game will last three to five hours maximum, depending on the brightness setting. Playing DS titles on the 3DS can last anywhere between five to eight hours. As a comparison, you can play DS games on Nintendo’s DSi XL for over 13 hours.

Importers wishing to increase their gaming library with specialist Japanese titles may be a little disheartened to hear that the 3DS will be region locked. Given that Nintendo used region coding with the DSi and DSi XL, this was already strongly suspected. In a statement, Nintendo announced that, “There is the possibility that Nintendo 3DS software sold in one region will not function properly when running on Nintendo 3DS hardware sold in another.” Their wording suggests that maybe some 3DS games could inexplicably work, but the risk is up to you. The console is backwards compatible with existing DS games, and although unconfirmed by Nintendo, apparently the region lock does not apply here (at least not on Japanese 3DS’s anyway).

Nintendo had previously experimented with 3D on the Virtual Boy back in 1995. While the stereoscopic effect was a success, the lack of colour (games were displayed in monochrome red), portability and overall games made it one of Nintendo’s few failures, selling only 800,000 units worldwide (it was never released in Europe). Their continued investment in 3D technology is set to make the 3DS a sure fire hit, and will undoubtedly be this year’s must-have Christmas purchase.

Sources: Andriasang, ComputerAndVideoGames.com, IT Pro Portal, PC Mag, VG247

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2 Comments

  1. Sophie Lodge says:

    That opening was fantastic, genius!

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