Nintendo officially announced today that their next handheld console, called the “3DS”, is on the way. The new console, as Nintendo showed off today, will build on the tech trend growing in TV and film, playing games in 3D. At first glance, the physical console looks like a another iteration of the DS; it has dual screens and the same button layout as Nintendo’s current console. The similarity is boon, though, as the 3DS will be backwards compatible, playing the entire DS and DSi library. As for the release date, Nintendo only said that the console would launch in Japan sometime before March, 2011. Ultimately, Nintendo didn’t actually say much about the console, but a more comprehensive unveiling will definitely be coming at E3 in June.
If you have been following the rumblings of industry pundits and rumor-mills, then the fact that Nintendo has announced that they’re making a new portable console comes as little surprise: Rumors of the so-called “DS Successor” have been floating around for months. Some have even speculated that Sony may also present the PSP2 at E3, kick-starting the next-gen handheld console war.
UPDATE: Rumors have already begun circulating, filling in some of the blanks left by Nintendo’s bare-bones announcement. According to two separate Japanese business magazines, Nikkei and Asahi, the 3DS achieves its three-dimensional using a technology called a “Paralax Barrier”, developed by Sharp. The illusion is achieved by using a second overlapping screen with a series of slits; the result is that the player sees a different set of pixels with each eye, which is perceived as depth. The trades also mention a special D-Pad for moving in 3D, built-in rumble support, and a tilt sensor, similar to the iPhone.
We will keep you updated on the rumors and announcements as they come.