Nintendo 3DS priced at $250, available in March

To say that Nintendo’s handheld gaming consoles have been popular would be a huge understatement. According to Wikipedia’s tabulation of worldwide console sales, the Nintendo DS, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance occupy three of the top five spots. The DS alone is said to have sold over 135 million units since its initial release.

Today, Nintendo filled in the final missing details on its next-generation 3DS handheld, which was first unveiled at E3 earlier this year. It was then that we learned the 3DS would sport dual displays, one of which offers glasses-free 3D with an adjustable depth slider. Now we know how much the 3D portable will cost: $249.99 when it goes on sale in North America on March 27. In fact, you can already pre-order one on Amazon.

This news comes on the heels of a Joystiq report from early January revealing that the 3DS’s battery only lasts 3-5 hours while playing games. As the article points out, that’s quite a bit shorter than the claimed 17 hours of battery life offered by the Nintendo DSi XL. To make matters worse, charging the 3DS’ battery reportedly takes more than three hours.

Of course, the 3DS’s biggest problem may be the fact that it’s entering a market teeming with smartphones that have credible gaming chops. The iPhone has been a boon to handheld gaming, and with Apple selling millions of them each month, I can’t help but think it will be much more difficult for the 3DS to reach the levels of success enjoyed by its predecessors.

Comments closed
    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t know about the 3ds, but the DS lite is my favorite handheld homebrew gaming system, and it would be nice if some of those linux clones would incorporate a dual touch screen. The pandora does look nice though.

    • Prion
    • 9 years ago

    > The iPhone has been a boon to handheld gaming

    A boon to creators maybe, or a boon to the type of people who play games on their phone. I can’t think of a platform with a worse ratio of decent offerings to complete $#!7. Angry Birds and ESPGaluda II are about the only things in the iTunes store worth the price of entry.

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      I also can’t think of a platform with so many games being released for free to $5, either. You get what you pay for. Compare the cost of a 3DS game to the cost of any iPhone game. Free, $1, $2, $3, $5, $7, $10… all of it’s a LOT cheaper.

      Add in the fact that people are getting these games for a phone they may already own and that $250 3DS is going to look rather expensive for a portable. Especially when you remember how much the avg 3DS game will cost.

      3d on portable devices will probably trickle down to phones by next year or the year after. Even if it doesn’t, I think the higher resolution is more of an achievement in gaming than a fake 3d effect. This is coming from someone who OWNS a 3dTV and a pair of glasses to use with it. If I had to pick between 1080p and 3d, I’d take the 1080p. I think Nintendo’s bet on the wrong horse.

      I think Apple and its “retina” branding is the smarter play. When they extend that thinking to the iPad, I think the $250 3DS vs the iPhone you already own vs $500 iPad argument might be interesting. Especially considering the other uses the iPhone (and iPad) present(s) that the 3DS can’t offer.

    • shank15217
    • 9 years ago

    Smartphone games are gonna be awesome.. when Nintendo writes games for smart phones. People buy the game, not the console. Nintendo makes damn good games, not much the iPhone can do about that. Along the same lines, MMOs kick a** on PCs, no matter how nice the console is you still need a PC to play WoW.

    • JMccovery
    • 9 years ago

    $249.99? That price seems a Wii bit high…

      • bdwilcox
      • 9 years ago

      Ba-dump Tsshhhhhh!

    • potatochobit
    • 9 years ago

    you are totally mistaken

    the gameboy market and the phone game market do not compete with each other
    there may be a little bit of overlap, but that’s it

    • Neutronbeam
    • 9 years ago

    Geoff, I must very respectfully disagree with your prognostication.

    Look, there are still millions of affluent parents with kids too young to have cellphones — and cellphone contracts — who could snap a 3DS up as a first-ever handheld gaming device or replacement console for an old/broken Nintendo DS…or just as the new gotta-have hotness.

    I think kids 11 years old and younger are a great market for the 3DS, with older kids having smartphones — of which a lot of those are iPhones, in my experience.

    In spite of not a lot of quality games currently available for the Kinect, and many people already having an Xbox, how many people snapped that up as an accessory last quarter — something like 3 million?

    So for the U.S. only, I’M gonna act like a fearless and clueless analyst [no, not bashing Michael Pachter. Really.] and project minimum first year sales of 2 million 3DS units. There, I said it.

    EDIT: added “not” to third paragraph and “a” to “an” and revised first paragraph to “a 3DS up”

      • Pizzapotamus
      • 9 years ago

      I think that for many game types a touchscreen phone is shit and can say with 99% certainty that I will be buying a 3DS, but for your children too young to have cell phones there is the ipod touch. At least that’s my anecdotal evidence from my marketing susceptible younger relatives

      • My Johnson
      • 9 years ago

      Yep. My nine and five year old don’t do smartphones.

      • finitestatemachine
      • 9 years ago

      Have you heard of the iPod touch? Everything that an iPhone is, minus the phone. Problem solved.

        • Neutronbeam
        • 9 years ago

        But has the iPod touch ever heard of Pokemon or Mario? Content still matters, and my son’s Wii directly fed into his wanting a Nintendo DSxl to play games with those characters. Casual games still haven’t developed the branding and longevity of gaming franchises that have been around for decades…having said that, I’ll note that yes, my son also plays games on his mother’s iPhone.

      • Voldenuit
      • 9 years ago

      Doesn’t the ipod touch play most iphone games? You don’t have to get a phone contract to get into iOS gaming.

      Personally, I’m not a fan of the touchscreen gaming phenomenon in general – there are lots of great implementations (eg Angry Birds) but also a lot of games with sub-par and unresponsive controls.

      But I think the day of dedicated handheld consoles is at an end, as the market is moving in favor of multi-function devices.

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      Let’s not forget the iPod Touch, which has the advantage of being able to share all the gaming apps that dad’s and mom’s iPhones also use. Plus, the iPad that Mom and Dad bought to read books on, which soon is co-opted console-style by the kids to play Harry Potter on.

      I don’t disagree that the 3DS will sell well, but I do not think that Nintendo will have the virtually uncontested success they’ve had in the past. Sony, Nokia, Sega, Turbo Grafix, and Neo Geo all had their shots and none of them did it well. But Apple stumbled into the right formula at the right time by sheer accident.

      And once you invest, that investment continues to be something that is usable on each new version. So that kid who loves to play Space Miner: Space Ore Bust can upgrade his iPod Touch to an iPod Touch 4, get retina. He gets to keep right on going. Plus, he might have paid $3 for it, might have gotten it during a sale like me and paid $1. Try finding a $1 game on 3DS.

      I think 3d might get the kids young enough to be brainwashed by constant ads about 3d, but I don’t think it’s going to hold their interest and they’ll go back to playing on Dad’s iPad or mom’s iPhone. Or their own iPod Touch.

      This is the scenario I’ve seen play out with every young kid I know. That iPad is just more impressive because it’s bigger. And do any of those launch games look like something so spectacular to be worth the extra premium beyond even the standard DS price? To say nothing of being well, well beyond the most expensive iPad game?

      I think Nintendo’s definitely going to have the hardest portable fight of their company’s history. It’ll sell out in Japan. I’m sure NoA is counting on that news to help make sales in the US. And it will. But they better hope that “glasses-less 3d” is as killer a feature as they think because otherwise, people’ll be wondering, “Where’s the Mario?” for this $250 console with $40 software titles.

    • Hattig
    • 9 years ago

    I was interested, but not for £229. I’ll invest that in my next phone, and spend each £50 on five decent games from that phone’s app store.

    • FuturePastNow
    • 9 years ago

    Glasses-free 3D is the way to go. Nobody wants to wear those stupid glasses; that’s the reason 3D TV sales have tanked so far.

      • bdwilcox
      • 9 years ago

      Glasses are also expensive ($150 a pair!)

      But I’m also concerned about the affect on my eyes / vision / equilibrium. I’m usually the last one to get all paranoid about some new technology, but I can tell you that a 3D movie gives me a headache, makes me dizzy and leaves me nauseous in about 10 minutes of viewing. What would Nintendo’s tech do to me? Do I want to gamble $250 to find out?

        • Game_boy
        • 9 years ago

        You’ll have to try it when a friend gets it. There were no reports I can think of from E3 of sicknes.

        But you can turn the 3D off to no downside. You’d buy it for the software library, surely, so the same content will be there.

          • bdwilcox
          • 9 years ago

          Did you ever try to pry a Nintendo handheld away from your friend’s kids’ hands for more than a few minutes? The kids go into apoplexy. No, extended testing will require purchase. And I imagine games will be crafted around the whole 3D experience (otherwise, why not just create DS games?) so turning it off will mean missing most of the fun.

            • Game_boy
            • 9 years ago

            Well, actually I don’t understand Nintendo’s choice to push 3D so hard. Hardware features or having faster hardware have never sold consoles, it’s always the software that makes money.

      • Johnny5
      • 9 years ago

      Jeez, always so much hate on the 3D glasses, and 3D in general. I for one welcome our out-of-plane overlords. Not that I’m buying it anytime soon, but I will when the time is right. And it’s not a gimmick that’ll disappear, because the film studios make big bucks off them, and of course it’s going to filter into a home experience at some point, just like wide screens, and surround sound.

      • Frith
      • 9 years ago

      No the reason 3D televisions have tanked is because few people are interested in 3D in general. I’m all up for seeing an occasional 3D movie (one or two a year), but for most genres it just proves to be a distraction while adding nothing positive to the show.

      The only reason it’s being pushed so hard is because everybody already has a 1080p television and consumer electronics companies need to find something new to try and get people to upgrade.

        • bdwilcox
        • 9 years ago

        Hollywood is so devoid of new, fresh ideas, they jump on any gimmick that might make their stale product attractive to the jaded consumer. “Oooooooooohhhhhhhh 3D! Sounds hi-tech! I love it! Let’s run with it!”

          • Farting Bob
          • 9 years ago

          Im sure people were saying the same thing back in the ’30s about colour in films.
          3D is a step to holographic video, and that will rock.

          Oh and the reason why few 3D TV’s have been sold is because there is almost no content available other than a few major sporting events and 1 or 2 3D films. Even a die hard tech with money to spend will wait for more content (TV channels and blu-rays) before jumping. At the rate the tech is improving and the cost coming down youd have to be an idiot to jump on board now.

            • bdwilcox
            • 9 years ago

            Except color movies and sound movies didn’t make you sit there with devices on to see the color and hear the sound. That’s a big difference. One is a pretty natural, casual experience, the other a contrived, somewhat uncomfortable one. If they could make it 3D without any special glasses, maybe, but those TVs I’ve seen that do that are sub-par and give you a headache quicker than the glasses.

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      Sure, glasses-free 3d is the way to go. In five years. Right now, it has extremely limited viewing angles, destroys the 2d image quality, drives the cost up prohibitively, and thickness/bezel of the TV by a large amount. 3d glasses-based 3d, however, is more or less built with the hardware that’s already in your HDTV (120/240hz, plasma, etc). The cost of a 3DTV has already tanked to the point where I’ve been seeing them on sale for $500 or less.

      I’m not saying that everything I watch (or even most things) will be in 3d, but I do think that 3d will probably be in the next larger sized (42+”) HDTV you buy after the end of this year. I think you’ll have a hard time finding a new HDTV that doesn’t have it included already. With the glasses slowly dropping in price (or being based on passive technologies), I think you’ll find yourself presented with a 3D experience that costs you the cost of the glasses, which will likely drop as competition and pressure push the costs down. It won’t be long before every new player being made (including the PS3) is 3d-enabled.

      You might not WANT a 3D experience, but every component you upgrade toward the end of this year or later will probably include it. That won’t be true of glasses-less 3d for several years.

      So why the venom against 3d? It doesn’t cost you extra for anything but the glasses, it slowly becomes integrated into what you’re buying anyway, and if you don’t want to use it, you can buy any blu-ray (including explicitly 3d-marked ones) and still have your 2d experience. You hate it, you never use it. You don’t buy the glasses. Like it or not, there ARE people who do love it and use even those crappy 2d-to-3d effects constantly because they love it so much. Those people get their 3d.

      I think your anger about 3d has more to do with the fact you don’t have the money to buy it currently, so you’d rather no one have it. Because otherwise, you’d realize that glasses-less 3d is years away and glasses-ful 3d is here to stay. Probably in the next main HDTV you buy. If not that one, then absolutely the one after.

    • Game_boy
    • 9 years ago

    The UK price of £229 (US $368) is just not fair, given the DS launched at £129 and the Wii launched at £180.

    £229 is the price of a 160GB PS3 or an Xbox 360 with Kinect.

    Game pricing here will also be £50 ($80) compared to DS game prices of £30.

    It’s probably bad that I can say all that and yet still buy it solely for Paper Mario.

      • internetsandman
      • 9 years ago

      I gave up on Paper Mario after it came out on the Wii. The N64 and GC were two of the best games I had ever played, and easily the best storylines. The Wii version was just weird, I gave up on it after about the second chapter I think. I really hope Paper Mario DS or whatever it’s gonna be called returns to the series roots.

        • Game_boy
        • 9 years ago

        Yes, it is. The screenshots show it is just like the N64/GC versions with turn-based battles. I too disliked the Wii version, it was nothing like the others.

          • khands
          • 9 years ago

          It was before NSMB:Wii came out and Nintendo was trying to fill to gaps with one game, failing miserably 🙁

    • 5150
    • 9 years ago

    Too much money, another $50 you could get a PS3.

    Also, does a DS hurt anybody else’s hands besides me? Those corners kill me.

    Oh, and first.

      • poulpy
      • 9 years ago

      [quote<]Too much money, another $50 you could get a PS3.[/quote<] Good luck playing with your PS3 on the go mate.. Specs/$ has [u<]never[/u<] been the forte of handhelds, neither it is for laptops (let alone netbooks) vs desktops, you pay for the portability and the form factor.

        • Voldenuit
        • 9 years ago

        Good luck playing a 3DS on the go, with its 3 hr battery life.

        The 3DS has been widely lambasted in Japan since its release, and for good reason.

        Smartphones are the way mobile gaming is going, paying $250 for a portable gaming device these days is a big ask, and Nintendo isn’t doing itself any favors with the 3DS.

          • Game_boy
          • 9 years ago

          Actually 3-5hr is on the highest brightness setting. DSi had the same battery life on paper and for any normal use it got a lot more.

          Smartphone games don’t have enough revenue. The market clearly wants Brain Training, Nintendogs, Mario Kart, Pokemon and 2D Mario on handhelds. All 20m sellers @ $30-40 a game. Any phone game match that?

            • HisDivineShadow
            • 9 years ago

            To be fair, most of those (Nintendogs, Mario Kart, Pokemon, 2D Mario (NSMB?)) are Nintendo games that are based on existing Nintendo franchises. Or predate the iPhone craze (Nintendogs).

            The iPhone market is still very new and the games that will build franchises there are still in their infancy. Angry Birds is up to 6+ million, though. For a new gaming market, a franchise that had no prior history, and being by an unknown developer on a device that many are just starting to see as a viable gaming outlet, I’d say that’s pretty damn good. I imagine Cut the Rope is probably up there in that range, too.

            Meanwhile, the DS has Nintendo games that sell well. News at 11. Nintendo games sell well because most of them are pretty damn great. But that’s nothing new. What we care about is how the third parties are doing and especially how the third parties are faring on the DS in the last year-ish since the iOS device craze started to take over. You give us sales numbers for Nintendo games, then compare that to iPhone/iPad game sales as if the fact that Nintendo MADE nearly all of those games didn’t play a factor in why they sold so well. If you’re talking about third parties as if you’re saying, “The market decided and they liked DS games more,” then you best be comparing third party games to third party games on each platform during the same time period. To give a clearer picture.

            So:

            1) Nintendo games sell well. Even on Gamecube and Nintendo 64, their two most dismal consoles, they had blockbuster hits made by themselves. That DS has some with its install base that started well before the iPhone was a glimmer in Steve Jobs’s eye, well that’s really unsurprising.
            2) Nintendo is pushing out its most expensive portable device and raising the price of the software they sell with it. This is in competition against a phone that many people already own or a tablet people already own and software that can often be had for free. At the most, very rarely above $10.
            3) Is parallex 3d superior to retina display on the iPhone 4 or the rumored iPad 2? Is it enough to drive people to invest so much more money into the 3DS?
            4) Are the Nintendo exclusives enough to get people to invest once again?

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 9 years ago

      Cost is a bitch but I still am thinking about getting one. I hope to stop driving to work and start a public transit route. In that event I may well throw down for this device. The worse thing I hate about it is the region locking. Guess I won’t be buying any games while traveling internationally. My friends who had the last DS would usually pick up a title or two during a long trip out of country, no more.

        • Game_boy
        • 9 years ago

        There is no region locking…

          • Pizzapotamus
          • 9 years ago

          So what do you call it when a game bought in one region doesn’t work on a system bought in another?
          [url<]http://www.vg247.com/2011/01/18/nintendo-confirms-3ds-region-lock/[/url<] "Additionally we want to ensure the best possible gaming experience for our users and 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."

            • Game_boy
            • 9 years ago

            Ah. Read that quote a different way, It says they will warn that software from one region MAY not work in another on game boxes. That is not to say that they will actually prevent it from running.

            “Guidance will appear on every packaging of Nintendo 3DS hardware and the accompanying software. [u<]If you are in doubt[/u<], Nintendo [u<]recommends[/u<] that you only purchase Nintendo 3DS software in the region where purchased your Nintendo 3DS system." Can you find a quote where they definitively say software from one region won't be allowed to run on hardware from another?

            • Pizzapotamus
            • 9 years ago

            If they didn’t provide at the very least optional region locking why would “guidance” even be necessary?

            I would agree that they’re going with mealy mouthed bs that isn’t 100% definitive leaving you room to live in denial , but if they weren’t doing region locking(like they’ve done with the DSi btw) why wouldn’t they just say it outright?

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          ?????????? the 3ds is region locked. google is your friend.

            • Game_boy
            • 9 years ago

            I just posted a quote above you that says it isn’t, or at least makes it ambiguous. Nothing in Nintendo’s statements says clearly it is region locked, I think sites are jumping to conclusions unsupported by the statement.

      • Sargent Duck
      • 9 years ago

      I think I’d pay you the extra $50 to see you take a PS3 and the accompying tv on a bus, then walk to your destination.

      DS is mobile, PS3 is not.

      Don’t know about the corners, still loving my DS clamshell.

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