We're raising the bar even higher.
Continuing down the path of technical innovation Nintendo
first explored with the DS
and the Wii
, while also learning from the disappointing endeavors
of the Virtual Boy
, the Nintendo 3DS is a functional 3D handheld console. In many ways, the 3DS builds upon the base formula of its predecessors and improves them. Keeping all the features on the DSi
, the 3DS takes the concept of the DS as a whole and adds another dimension
Certainly, the most impressive addition to the handheld is the all-new widescreen top screen that enables 3D view without the use of special glasses. It does this by using a parallax barrier
. 3D depth can be adjusted or disabled with a slider on the top screen. This now has relegated the two screens for, more or less, unique functions. The top screen serves as a main screen to show off the 3D capabilities, while the bottom screen is used for additional user input via touchscreen.
Control wise, the 3DS adds a motion sensor similar to that found on the Wii. This is predominantly used in games with a first person view to look around. An analog "Circle Pad" similar to (although much larger and easier to use than) the one found on the PSP has been added as well. Other features include two outer cameras can take 3D pictures and a normal camera facing front. The 3DS comes with Augmented Reality
capabilities for certain games and features. Wi-Fi has been upgraded to include WPA2, as well as WPA and WEP, which are compatible with DS games that support themnote
. The Wi-Fi can also receive messages and notifications online while asleep, similar to the Wii. The Friend Code system remains, but is now universal rather than per game.
of third party developers who would develop games for the new platform was revealed at E3 2010, including big names from Atlus
, to Capcom
, to Sega
and the like. Its online store, the Nintendo eShop, contains new and existing DSiWare games (with a few exceptions), Virtual Console games, new 3D games, and 3D-enhanced
versions of old games. 3D video content was also available through its Nintendo Video, where it would cycle music videos, video game trailers, 3D shorts, and eventually full 3D movies. The system can also run Netflix and Hulu Plus. The 3DS has about 3-5 hours of battery life for a 3DS game in 3D mode, and 5-8 hours for a DS game or a 3DS game in 2D mode with Wi-Fi turned on and power-saving mode turned off. Following in the precedent set by the DSi
, the 3DS is region-locked for (most) DSi
and 3DS games, severely impacting the viability of playing imports.note
It launched with a fairly hefty price tag for a portable console—$250 in the United States, ￥25,000 in Japan, around Ł220 in the UK, and similar prices elsewhere. No previous iteration of the DS had launched for more than $200, and the Wii launched at the same price. The first several months of the console's lifespan did not meet expectations sales-wise, widely attributed to the steep asking price and the poor launch line-up.
A steep price drop occurred worldwide on August 12th, cutting about a third off the launch price; the US price dropped from $250 to $170, for example. Early adopters who had bought the system before this were given access to the 3DS Ambassador Program, an initiative which allowed free early access to 10 NES
titles that, as of 2013, Nintendo currently has made available for other 3DS owners in North America for a fee as well as an additional 10 exclusive GBA
titles that Nintendo currently does not plan to make available for other 3DS owners. (As noted on the Virtual Console
page, Nintendo plans to make games for that system available to the general public on the Wii U
.) Sales began to increase significantly after this, and by the end of November 2011 total hardware sales in the US had surpassed that of the original DS's first-year sales
, eventually taking the lead in the handheld gaming market. It also helped that in October 2013, Pokémon X and Y
was released, furthering the domination of the 3DS's shares.
In September 2011, Nintendo announced the Circle Pad Pro (Slider Pad in Japan)
, an accessory which adds another Circle Pad (plus LZ and RZ, 2 additional shoulder triggers) to the device when attached. It launched in Japan in December 2011 along with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
, the first title to officially support the accessory. It would later become available in the West in February 2012, aligning roughly with the launch of the second compatible title, Resident Evil: Revelations
After a very costly loss
caused partly by the initially low console sales, Nintendo began revamping both the social features of the 3DS as well as the capabilities of its eShop, starting with a small Friend List update, initially made available with all copies of Super Mario 3D Land
, that would later be integrated into a large firmware patch which went live mid-December 2011, introducing new features such as 3D video recording/playback and automatic SpotPass software downloads. Soon the eShop would introduce DLC and demo support, and will later add browser and mobile-based access to the eShop. Starting with New Super Mario Bros. 2
, the eShop also offered retail games downloadable for purchase. Its current services will eventually be integrated fully into the Nintendo Network
, expanding further to encompass features such as the Miiverse of the Wii U
, allowing for cross-platform messaging.
In the same vein as the original DSi
XL, a larger model called the 3DS XL was announced in June 2012, with its release date being July 28 at Europe and Japan, and August 19 in America, being priced at $200 (Ł159 in Europe, ￥16074 in Japan). This model is larger with bigger screens and improved battery life (1.5 hours more than the original model). It is not
a redesign (all software features remain identical and there is no second Circle Pad) and will be sold along with the original model. Like the DSi
XL, it is mostly designed to accommodate players with poor eyesight and provide longer battery life.
Nintendo then released a third model- the Nintendo 2DS, on the same day as the release of Pokémon X and Y
. This particular model is a entry level device, priced at $129.99, that replaces the standard DS clam shell design with a flat slate design along with removing the 3D capabilities by replacing the parallax barrier top screen with a normal one and including a external switch to place it in sleep mode. Capable of playing both regular DS and 3DS games the 2DS is aimed at younger children or those with specific medical conditions for whom the 3D function of the original devicenote
was not recommended.
Much like how the Nintendo DS
received a revision with improved specs in the form of the DSi, the Nintendo 3DS as a new revision called the "New Nintendo 3DS", which has a faster CPU, improved 3D screens so 3D scenes can be seen from an angle, two additional shoulder buttons and a right-side nub that acts like a second stick (negating the need for a Circle Pad Pro), built-in NFC for amiibo support, and better battery life. A port of Xenoblade
is set to be released exclusively for the new revision, while other games, such as Super Smash Bros.
, will have enhancements to take advantage of the extra power while still being playable on older models. It launched in Japan on October 11, 2014, followed by a November 21st launch in Australia, and it'll come in both the sizes of the original 3DS and the 3DS XL. North America and Europe will see it on sale on February 13, 2015. However, North America will only be getting the New 3DS XL, and there do not seem to be any plans to release the regular sized one there anytime soon.
Its market competitor is the Play Station Vita
- CPU: A dual-core ARM11 chip. The New Nintendo 3DS has a faster processor.
- GPU: A modded 2010 version of the Digital Media Professionals PICA200 chip.
- As with other Nintendo consoles, they've been pretty hush hush about the specifics.
- 128 MB of FCRAM, 256 MB on the New Nintendo 3DS.
- 1GB of internal flash is available for the system. The 3DS also comes with a 2GB or 4GB SD Card (depending on the model) and can accept SD cards up to 128GB in size. The New Nintendo 3DS uses MicroSD cards instead.
- Takes DS game cartridges and 3DS cartridges. 3DS cartridges are anywhere from 1GB-8GB in storage. 3DS cartridges have a notch to prevent them from being inserted into DSes.
- Screen resolution:
- The top screen's resolution is technically 800x240, but the effective resolution is 400x240. This is because each eye gets a frame.
- The bottom screen's resolution is 320x240.
- The 2DS was found to be one big screen that could show both screens.
- Both screens can display up to 16.7 million colors. Games may opt to have a lower color depth than the screen's color depth.
- The graphics chip within the 3DSes is Open GL ES 1.x compliant, with custom extensions, including MAESTRO, which allows developers to use most programmable shader effect equivalents with the fixed shader hardware of the 3DS.
- Battery life is 3-6 hours when playing standard 3DS games. Playing older DS games allows it to run longer, as are lower-load . The 3DS XL has somewhat improved battery life compared to the standard 3DS, potentially lasting as long as 9 hours playing 3DS games with conservative brightness settings.
- The New Nintendo 3DS has an ambient light sensor that can automatically adjust screen brightness depending on the amount of light in the environment for better battery use.
- The 3DS sports an accelerometer and gyroscope, allowing motion based game mechanics. For example, in games with first-person views, you can move the 3DS around to move the camera.
- There's a front facing camera and two back-facing cameras for 3D pictures. Both take pictures at 640x480 (0.3MP)resolution. The new Nintendo 3DSes include a front-facing infrared emitter to improve face tracking in low-light environments.
- Supports 802.11b/g wireless LAN with WEP, WPA, and WPA2 Personal support. DS games were also compatible, but older DS (non-DSi-enhanced) games can only use WEP. The Nintendo 2DS does not support some combinations of TKIP-based security and Wi-Fi Protected Setup.
- An add-on controller, called Circle Pad Pro, adds another circle pad and two shoulder buttons. It talks to the 3DS over the IR port. All the buttons from this device are included in the New Nintendo 3DS.
- The built-in browser is a customized build of NetFront web browser. The web browser is improved upon on the new 3DSes and can play HTML5 content.
Games for Nintendo 3DS:
Built into the system:
3D Classics (remakes of older games with 3D effect added in):
Nintendo 3DS Ambassador games:
All the NES games have also been released to the general public on the Virtual Console
. The GBA games still remain exclusive to Ambassadors.
Other promotional games: