The Nintendo 3DS (ニンテンドー3DS Nintendō Surī Dīesu?, abbreviated to 3DS) is aportable game console produced by Nintendo. The autostereoscopic device is able to project stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or any additional accessories. The Nintendo 3DS features backward compatibility with Nintendo DS series software, including Nintendo DSi software. Announcing the device in March 2010, Nintendo officially unveiled it at E3 2010, with the company inviting attendees to use demonstration units. The console succeeds the Nintendo DS series of handheld systems and primarily competes with Sony's PlayStation Portable and the newly released PlayStation Vita.
The Nintendo 3DS was released in Japan on February 26, 2011; in Europe on March 25, 2011; in North America on March 27, 2011; and in Australia on March 31, 2011. On July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced a major price drop starting August 12. In addition, consumers who bought the system at its original price gained access to ten free Nintendo Entertainment System games starting September 1, 2011 and 10 free Game Boy Advancegames starting December 16, 2011, from the Nintendo eShop.
Nintendo had been experimenting with 3D technology since the late 1980s. Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally was the first game developed by Nintendo to take advantage of the technology, and utilized special goggles with a liquid crystal shutter in order to make images appear to pop out of the screen, giving them a 3D effect. In 1995, Gunpei Yokoi, the creator of the Game Boy, began developing the Virtual Boy. The system was released much earlier than intended, so that Nintendo could allocate more resources to the then-Ultra 64, and the Virtual Boy went on to become a commercial failure for Nintendo. Shigeru Miyamoto was dissatisfied with the wire-frame models the console displayed and practicality of the system, feeling that the concept was ahead of its time.
The failure of the Virtual Boy left many at Nintendo doubting the viability of 3D gaming. Despite this, Nintendo continued to investigate incorporating 3D technology into other products. The Nintendo GameCube, released in 2001, is Nintendo's second 3D capable system.Every GameCube system produced features the capability to display true stereoscopic 3D, but only the launch title Luigi's Mansion was designed to utilize the technology. As 3D displays were not widespread at the time and producing a compatible display was deemed prohibitively expensive to consumers, this functionality was never enabled.
Nintendo next attempted putting a display later used for the Nintendo 3DS into a Game Boy Advance SP. However, the resolution for such a display was not sharp and precise enough at the time, and Nintendo was not satisfied with the experiment. With the development of theNintendo DS and at the insistence of Hiroshi Yamauchi, the company investigated achieving 3D visuals at an exhibition at Shigureden, a theme park. Visitors navigate around the park with the aid of guide software on a Nintendo DS system. Although nothing was produced, Nintendo was able to conduct extensive research and develop the methodology that was later used to develop the Nintendo 3DS.
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- ^ "Iwata Asks: Nintendo 3DS". Retrieved 2011-01-12. "Miyamoto: I suppose so. To go way back, I even made a 3D Famicom game on disk that you played wearing goggles. We made that with you, Iwata-san. Iwata: Right, right! The first work Miyamoto-san and I did together was a racing game for the Family Computer Disk System that you played wearing goggles. [...] A game called Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally."
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- ^ "Iwata Asks: Nintendo 3DS". Retrieved 2011-01-12. "Iwata:Virtual Boy was, I think, a commercial failure. Normally, I think it would have been understandable if Nintendo experienced a kind of trauma with regard to the whole 3D genre. But Nintendo continued to doggedly make attempts in 3D technology. And you could say that those attempts have now finally borne fruit. I feel like that is an interesting progression of topicsyay."
- ^ "Iwata Asks: Nintendo 3DS". Retrieved 2011-01-12. "Miyamoto: At the time, as I was working on the Nintendo 64 system, part of me thought we should use wire frames to render 3D graphics, but I also thought that wire frame images weren't terribly appealing. [...] If nothing but wire-frame fighter craft had appeared and Mario and other beloved characters had never shown up, that would be a little sad. But if you only changed the depth of a 2D image of Mario, it wouldn't bring out the real appeal of Virtual Boy. So the Virtual Boy system was a complicated affair. [...] Virtual Boy had two big tasks to accomplish, and it went out into the world without satisfying either one. It's not so much that the machine itself was wrong as a product, but that we were wrong in how we portrayed it."
- ^ "Nintendo 'Traumatized' By 3D Virtual Boy, But '(Laughs)' About It Now". Kotaku.
- ^ "Iwata Asks: Nintendo 3DS". Retrieved 2011-01-11. "Iwata: To go back a little further, the Nintendo GameCube system actually had 3D-compatible circuitry built in [...] Itoi: Nintendo GameCube did? And all the Nintendo GameCube systems around the world?Iwata: Yeah. If you fit it with a certain accessory, it could display 3D images."
- ^ "Iwata Asks: Nintendo 3DS". Retrieved 2011-01-12. "Iwata: We couldn't have done it without selling it for a price far above that of the Nintendo GameCube system itself! We already had a game for it, though – Luigi's Mansion, simultaneously released with Nintendo GameCube Device."
- ^ "Iwata Asks: Nintendo 3DS". Retrieved 2011-01-12. "Iwata:For example, a sample screen used in the Nintendo 3DS to illustrate how you can see three-dimensional images without special glasses was functioning on the Game Boy Advance SP system."
- ^ "Iwata Asks: Nintendo 3DS". Retrieved 2011-01-12. "Iwata: [...] But the resolution of LCD was low then, so it didn't look that great and it never made it to being a product. In order to make images look three-dimensional without special glasses [...] you need high resolution and high-precision technology. We didn't have that to a sufficient degree back then, so the stereoscopic effect wasn't very sharp."
- ^ "Iwata Asks: Nintendo 3DS". Retrieved 2011-01-12. "Miyamoto: When we were making Shigureden, Yamauchi-san expressed his earnest hope that we could make something "jump out.""
- ^ "Iwata Asks: Nintendo 3DS". Retrieved 2011-01-12. "Miyamoto: We got pretty far along with regard to the methodology, but didn't have enough time to develop it and gave up. But we did get to do a lot of research with regard to the liquid crystal and other matters involved."