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.