Nearly four months after the 3DS press conference in Japan, Nintendo has followed up with a one-two punch of press conferences in New York City and Amsterdam to confirm launch dates and prices for 3DS in North America and Europe. While we’ve not received every last bit of info we’d like, there’s plenty to talk about.
Launch Dates, Hardware Pricing and Colors
The 3DS will launch in the U.S. on Sunday March 27 for a retail price of US$250. The system will launch in Europe a couple days earlier, Friday March 25, but the Amsterdam press event curiously did not mention a price point. Regardless, British retailers have begun listing the price as £229 (US$366).
As in Japan, the system will launch in Cosmo Black and Aqua Blue colors.
Pricing of software was not revealed.
Included with Your 3DS
Sadly, no movie pack-ins have been mentioned– yet. However, you will have 3D camera software built in, a 3D video player, Internet browser, and a music/audio player. Each 3DS will also include a Mii Maker app that allows you to take a picture of yourself using the system’s internal-facing camera and have a Mii auto-generated based on your facial features. There’s also a simple game called Face Raiders that imports the Mii into a shooting gallery of sorts. Last, a set of playing cards to experiment with Augmented Reality (put the cards on a table, aim your 3DS’s external cameras at them and watch creatures come out of the cards on your 3DS’ screen) are included in the box. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime warned that some of this software will require a download and system update to function after you purchase a 3DS.
Also included on the hardware front is a metal telescoping stylus, a charging cradle (which will allow your system to stay on in sleep mode all through the day) and a 2 GB SD card for you to start downloading DSiWare, Virtual Console games (GB and GBC only), and, hopefully, 3D movies.
The Pedometer, StreetPass and SpotPass
3DS will have a built-in pedometer to encourage you to take the system with you around town in sleep mode. By tracking your movement/activity, the pedometer will reward you virtual coins that can be spent for extra content for your 3DS, applications and potentially games.
As previously detailed (as “tag” mode), 3DS’s StreetPass functionality– a feature of the system while it’s in sleep mode or even when you’re playing a game– will detect other nearby 3DS’s when you’re taking the system around town. If nearby, the 3DSs will share Miis and, in some games like Super Street Fighter IV 3D, actually trigger some virtual “battles” between you and the other 3DS owner’s saved games. What’s neat about the Super Street Fighter IV 3D mode is that your 3DSs don’t need to have those games literally inserted in your system for this interaction to take place.
You have to manually activate StreetPass– fret not of invading, uninvited Miis.
Not to be confused with StreetPass is SpotPass, which will let your 3DS detect nearby wi-fi hotspots and download system and game updates through that.
Friend Codes, Simplified & Enhanced
In a long awaited move, Nintendo has simplified friend codes for 3DS: each system will have a unique friend code, much like your Wii or DS, but that’s it. No additional friend codes will be needed for 3DS games; once you exchange system friend codes with someone, you’ll be able to communicate and play cooperative or versus games with them online or wirelessly.
Much like Xbox Live’s and PSN’s online accounts, once you and a friend have traded friend codes, you’ll be able to see when your friend is online and what they’re playing.
Launch Games and the “Launch Window”
Fils-Aime stated 30 games will be released for 3DS in its launch window: the roughly two-month time period between the system’s launch on March 27 and E3 2011 (which takes place June 7 – 9, 2011). At launch, first party Nintendo North American offerings will comprise nintendogs + cats, Steel Diver and Pilotwings Resort. Nintendo’s press release mentioned that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Star Fox 64 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising and 3DS sequels to Mario Kart, Animal Crossing and Paper Mario are “in the works” but not necessarily going to appear during the “launch window.”
That didn’t keep Ubisoft, always a big supporter of system launches, to have a substantial number of games slated to release during the launch window, at least in Europe and hopefully in North America:
- 3D Rabbids Travel in Time
- Rayman 3D
- Splinter Cell 3D
- Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars
- Driver: Renegade
All the other major publishers have titles in development for the system, including…
- Asphalt 3D (Ubisoft)
- Bust-a-Move Universe (Square Enix)
- Crush 3D (Sega)
- Dead or Alive Dimensions (Tecmo Koei)
- Dual Pen Sports (Namco Bandai)
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (LucasArts)
- Madden NFL Football (Electronic Arts)
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D (Konami)
- Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (Capcom)
- Ridge Racer 3D (Namco Bandai)
- Samurai Warriors Chronicles (Tecmo Koei)
- Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (Atlus)
- Super Monkey Ball 3D (Sega)
- Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition (Capcom)
- The Sims 3 (Electronic Arts)
- Thor: God of Thunder (Sega)
Unfortunately, which of those titles are “launch window” versus later this year is yet to be announced, but that Nintendo listed these titles in its 3DS launch details press release, and not other known titles such as Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D and DJ Hero 3D may indicate that these are indeed the launch window titles.
We’ll keep you posted on any games we hear are confirmed for launch– or given release dates within proximity to the launch. We’ll also have a round table of reactions on the price, a podcast on the announced games, and hands-on previews of the hardware and demos being shown.