The 3DS' operating system will be similar to the DSi's, but with some notable improvements. In addition to the Internet browser and music playback features, the 3DS will also have a Mii channel and several pre-loaded augmented reality games. Although it was not confirmed what kinds of augmented reality games will be included in the software, a shooting simulation demoed at E3 gave us a taste of what we might expect in the 3DS' default software package.
The 3DS will also feature its own integrated Virtual Console store that will allow those who still miss the Gameboy slot to download Gameboy and Gameboy color games to the system. Though no specific titles were revealed for the system, the ability to play these old-school games for the first time on a system since the DS Phat (the DS Lite only supported Game Boy Advance cartridges) is certainly a tantalizing thought.
But enough about the OS, let's talk software! More than twenty launch titles were announced at this past E3 as "in development" for the 3DS platform, and more than twenty more have been announced since. These titles include several Nintendo standards like Animal Crossing, Mario Kart 3DS, and Nintendogs + Cats. In addition, there are also plenty of games from established franchises that will be coming to the system, including Assassin's Creed: The Shroud, Ninja Gaiden, Kingdom Hearts 3D, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D. Although most of these games have an official "TBA" release date, it's fair to say that you'll see at least a few big names launching alongside the 3DS next year.
Although the 3DS has a firm release date in Japan of February 26, 2011, we have no such luck in the North American territories and are stuck with a "March TBA" date. Unfortunately, the same goes for pricing details. In Japan, the unit will retail for 25,000 yen (which is roughly $300 US), but there is no official price point for the North American market yet. However, industry analysts are predicting that the US price point will likely be in the $300-$350 range at launch. Though this does seem a little steep, many are thinking Nintendo will be banking on the Nintendo DS' strong brand name to help boost sales early on.
The Nintendo DS was certainly a smash hit when it was released, and Nintendo is probably hoping that the 3DS will replicate the success of its predecessor. Although the system is probably going to retail for a steep price, the new features may just justify the cost. If you are looking to experience true 3D gaming, The 3DS is still much cheaper than purchasing a 3D-television for a PlayStation 3 console. Although much about the system's release is still shrouded in mystery, what we know of the game's hardware and stellar software line-up certainly gives us cause for excitement.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Staff Contributor