NEW YORK and AMSTERDAM--In September, Nintendo dated and priced the 3DS…for Japan. The new handheld will come out in the island nation on February 26 for a price point of ¥25,000 ($299), making it one of the most expensive pieces of hardware the company has ever released.
At the time of the announcement--and ever since--it has been unclear if the steep price point was just a result of the strong yen or would be reflective of the price in the West. Those questions should be answered today, when Nintendo holds dual, near-simultaneous events in Amsterdam and New York City.
Expected at both events are not just the price and the exact release date of the 3DS, which will be released before the end of March, but also a rundown of the initial launch lineup for the portable. The Japanese starting block of games includes Winning Eleven 3DSoccer, Combat of Giant Dinosaur 3D, Super Street Fighter IV 3D, Samurai Warriors Chronicle, Puzzle Bobble 3D, Ridge Racer 3D, and Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask.
[5:52] [AMSTERDAM] We've taken our seats for the conference here just outside of Amsterdam. Five minutes to go. It's your typical white Nintendo event stage, with "Nintendo 3DS Discover" on either side of the display.
[5:55] [NEW YORK] Here in New York, Nintendo's press conference seating is rapidly filling up with journalists eager to both see the 3DS and escape the chilling cold outside.
[5:56] [AMSTERDAM] We're being welcomed by "Dan." He wants to tell us about fire exits.
[5:57] [AMSTERDAM] He is also saying to keep mobiles in flight mode if possible to avoid interference. Suppose they don't want a repeat of the E3 Zelda demo.
[5:57] [NEW YORK] Nintendo has brought back its 3DS-chained-to-a-human-being security system first seen at last year's E3.
[5:57] [NEW YORK] A voice on the PA system declares, "The event will begin in five minutes."
[5:58] [AMSTERDAM] He also wants a round of applause for Jonathan Ross when he takes the stage.
[5:59] [AMSTERDAM] As if we needed further confirmation of Ross' presence.
[6:01] To see the New York conference live on video, head on over to http://www.gamespot.com/shows/today-on-the-spot/
[6:03] [NEW YORK] The lights begin to dim. This show is about to get started. That, or the waiting continues in a slightly darker atmosphere.
[6:03] [NEW YORK] The show is starting with a highlight reel clip about the 3DS and its E3 unveiling.
[6:04] [AMSTERDAM] Ross onstage now in comedy 3D glasses (briefly). Welcomes everyone and gets Laurent Fischer onstage to intro the device.
[6:04] [NEW YORK] The video wraps up, and Reggie Fils-Aime takes the stage
[6:05] [AMSTERDAM] We have been pursuing 3D for a long time, says Fischer. The advantage of a handheld is that it comes with its own screen, unlike home consoles.
[6:05] [NEW YORK] Reggie accuses Michael Pachter of turning off the teleprompters.
[6:06] [NEW YORK] Reggie: The 3DS experience "doesn't exist anywhere else."
[6:06] [AMSTERDAM] Aqua blue and cosmic black 3DS units, slider for 3D effect, all the good stuff.
[6:07] [NEW YORK] Reggie waxes poetic about the history of 3D graphics, talking about the initial unveiling of Mario 64.
[6:07] [NEW YORK] If Mario was the first stage of modern gaming, the DS was the second stage.
[6:08] [AMSTERDAM] "We reinvented gaming" with the DS and then the Wii, says Fischer. And now they'll do it again. He's talking up the 10 percent larger upper screen.
[6:08] [AMSTERDAM] Ross wants to know about backward compatibility. It's there, Fischer tells him.
[6:08] [NEW YORK] 3D was being considered since the days of the NES and was planned for the GameCube.
[6:08] [NEW YORK] Naturally, the Wii represents the third stage, and the 3DS the latest.
[6:09] [NEW YORK] He touts the 3DS's ability to customize your chosen level of 3D, giving it mass-market appeal.
[6:10] [AMSTERDAM] "Developers are going to love" using the analog circle pad, he says, for precise control.
[6:10] [AMSTERDAM] On to motion-sensitive 3DS games and the automatic connectivity. "More of that later."
[6:10] [AMSTERDAM] Ross wants to hear about the 3D camera. You can take photos and share them, he's told.
[6:11] [NEW YORK] Reggie is now talking up the 3D multimedia capabilities, including video and photos.
[6:11] [NEW YORK] The 3DS "will drive connected social experiences like no Nintendo device before."
[6:11] [NEW YORK] Reggie says they'll be announcing the launch date and price today.
[6:11] [NEW YORK] In the US, the 3DS will be available at launch in aqua blue and cosmic black.
[6:12] [AMSTERDAM] Compatible Wi-Fi hotspots will let the 3DS auto-connect you.
[6:12] [AMSTERDAM] To receive "a wide variety of content". One content provider is Eurosport.
[6:13] [AMSTERDAM] In the UK, they are working with BSkyB to make short-form content.
[6:13] [AMSTERDAM] Ross is now introducing David Sproxton of Aardman Animation, of Wallace & Gromit fame.
[6:13] [AMSTERDAM] A new Spot Pass service will allow 3DS owners to receive notifications and downloads.
[6:14] [NEW YORK] A tech video is touting all the 3DS features, including its motion-sensing capabilities.
[6:15] [NEW YORK] There's a new home button on the system that takes you back to the home menu, a la the PSP's PlayStation logo button. Only with this, you can switch back to the game without losing progress.
[6:15] [NEW YORK] There's also a redone Wi-Fi status light that lets you know when you're sharing data with other systems in its various social modes.
[6:15] [AMSTERDAM] Aardman has been working with Nintendo, Sproxton says.
[6:16] [AMSTERDAM] Partnership is about innovation and "creating new markets."
[6:16] [NEW YORK] The voice on the video sarcastically mocks "fashionable 3D glasses."
[6:16] [NEW YORK] Reggie is back on the stage, ready to talk specific games and launch details.
[6:17] [AMSTERDAM] Sproxton announces specially created content featuring Shaun the Sheep--one-minute shorts--in 3D for the 3DS.
[6:17] [AMSTERDAM] New Shaun the Sheep short films will be in 3D and on the move using Spot Pass, Sproxton says.
[6:21] [AMSTERDAM]Street Pass announced. Automatically exchanges game information with other 3DS systems in the street--even in sleep mode.
[6:21] [AMSTERDAM] This is more of that exclusive-over-Wi-Fi that Fischer was talking about. "We can't wait to start working on some hilarious storylines."
[6:21] [AMSTERDAM] And now we are watching some of Shaun's greatest hits. Who knew he had a theme tune?
[6:22] [AMSTERDAM] Street Pass now, introduced by a video. Lets 3DS units exchange information automatically from sleep mode.
[6:22] [AMSTERDAM] Your Mii character, for instance, will be passed to 3DS-owning strangers (as long as you have said you want such a thing).
[6:23] [AMSTERDAM] "Community can happen automatically," says Fischer
[6:23] [AMSTERDAM] Nintendo changing friends codes. You need to register only once, and there's no need to manually exchange codes. Never have to input the code to play with the same friends online, and you'll be able to see what they're playing.
[6:23] [NEW YORK] Now for third-party games. Reggie says the 3DS will launch with more third-party support than any game in Nintendo history. "At E3, some of you told me that Dead or Alive seemed like an odd choice for a Nintendo handheld," he says. Reggie is, of course, referring to Dead or Alive: Dimensions from Tecmo Koei.
[6:24] [AMSTERDAM] Now time for some developers, says Ross. He's talking up Capcom--here comes Yoshinori Ono!
[6:24] [AMSTERDAM] He wants us to Hadouken at him.
[6:25] [AMSTERDAM] Hah--"I want to talk about Virtual Boy 2, I mean, Nintendo 3DS."
[6:26] [NEW YORK] Now for Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D and Madden Football. In a prerecorded video, EA's Peter Moore is talking up the 3DS's capabilities. Moore: "We're bringing it into a more simplistic manner to allow people to get into the game more quickly."
[6:26] [NEW YORK] Capcom's Yoshinori Ono now shows up on the screen to talk Street Fighter on the 3DS.
[6:27] [NEW YORK] Ono talks about the wireless play features, including a wireless spectator mode that lets you watch matches being played nearby.
[6:27] [AMSTERDAM] More communication features, in fact. Street Fighter battles on the 3DS, seemingly.
[6:28] [NEW YORK] Now, Reggie wants to "fill in the blanks."
[6:29] [NEW YORK] The North American launch window will be the weeks between hardware release and E3 in June. More than 30 3DS games will be released in that window.
[6:29] [AMSTERDAM] Street Fighter will feature "a new kind of versus battle" that lets you fight anyone, anytime, anywhere, immediately. "Fighter figurines compete in simulated battles" after exchange via the 3DS connection.
[6:30] [NEW YORK] The system will have an activity log that tracks games played, and physical movement within those games, including recommended walk breaks. Physical movements will earn play coins that can be used in-game to acquire bonus content.
[6:30] [AMSTERDAM] "Did you understand a little bit better what Street Pass is about?" he asks.
[6:31] [NEW YORK] The Mii Maker will let you create a Mii with the camera. They'll appear in-game and in the content swapped in Street Pass functionality. Your Mii could conceivably jump to a total stranger's system on the bus while in sleep mode.
[6:32] [NEW YORK] Face Raiders is a preinstalled game that lets you take your own picture and insert it into a "shooting gallery of sorts."
[6:32] [NEW YORK] AR Games will let you place cards down and play augmented reality games anywhere you want. "An enhanced Internet browser will also be available," says Reggie.
[6:33] [NEW YORK] Some software will be fully operational only with system updates performed after purchase. Not all of these come out of the box.
[6:33] [NEW YORK] The 3DS will use only one friend code. You need to register it only once. They're not software-dependent.
[6:33] [NEW YORK] You'll never need to input a code to play with friends online.
[6:34] [AMSTERDAM] More on SF versus modes, including a "channel live" mode that lets other people watch your live battles. "A robust lineup of 35 fighters!" say the screens.
[6:34] [AMSTERDAM] All of these new features and modes were made possible by the 3DS, says Ono. And now he's off.
[6:35] [AMSTERDAM] Ross wants to see Street Fighter vs. Animal Crossing.
[6:36] [AMSTERDAM] Mr. Shibata, president of Nintendo Europe, takes the stage. "We are committed to working with third-party developers," he says.
[6:37] [AMSTERDAM] He's talking up their "serious commitment" to a "wide range" of third-party devs.
[6:38] [NEW YORK] Now Reggie is talking about the 3DS software and media store. You can download virtual console games, watch gameplay clips, and view screens. Nintendo will be supplying retailers with 5,000 demo units as a massive marketing push. There will also be 400,000 units taken out to the streets in various marketing demos.
[6:38] [NEW YORK] 3DS will launch at a $249.99 MSRP in the US.
[6:40] [NEW YORK] The 3DS will be released in the US on March 27.
[6:41] [NEW YORK] Reggie is now wrapping up the New York press conference, giving press the chance to go hands-on with hardware and software. Be sure to check out all of GameSpot's previews coming today.
[6:41] [AMSTERDAM] Our next guest (already!) is "legend" Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot.
[6:42] [AMSTERDAM] "Lots of people could Just Dance this Christmas on the Wii," Guillemot reminds us. "The possibilities are endless" on the 3DS. Rayman is coming back, he says. Also Splinter Cell, Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D, and Asphalt 3D.
[6:42] [AMSTERDAM] Gosh, another "legend." It's time for Enomoto and Hatsumi of PES Production/Konami via an interpreter.
[6:43] [AMSTERDAM] "Only a limited number of people own 3D TVs." But the 3DS will bring 3D to many more.
[6:43] [AMSTERDAM] "We chose PES for our title for Nintendo 3DS."
[6:44] [AMSTERDAM] "We wanted many people to experience the 3DS through PES 2011 3D." Cue a trailer!
[6:46] [AMSTERDAM] "Immerse yourself in PES," it says.
[6:47] [AMSTERDAM] "The camera position has changed," they say.
[6:47] [AMSTERDAM] "3D enabled us to express depth…improve realism."
[6:48] [AMSTERDAM] The view is called "player view." It's right behind he player, to make you feel like "you're on the pitch."
[6:51] [AMSTERDAM] "I really hope a lot of football fans in Europe will be able to play it hands-on." Ross thanks Enomoto and Hatsumi and moves swiftly on to welcome Tecmo Koei's Team Ninja. It's Yosuke Hayashi, specifically.
[6:52] [AMSTERDAM] Through an interpreter, he says he is here to talk about the graphics capabilities of the 3DS.
[6:53] [AMSTERDAM] "Dead or Alive dates back to 1996…but for the past five years we've been silent."
[6:54] [AMSTERDAM] "We've been carefully planning [a handheld game] for some time." Dead or Alive Dimensions now onscreen--it's trailer time once more.
[6:56] [AMSTERDAM] Some flashy cutscenes, some impressive-looking in-game fighting. "Dead or Alive Dimensions is a kind of 'best of' version of Dead or Alive. Because of 3D, Dead or Alive is back…with attitude."
[6:58] [AMSTERDAM] First-party Nintendo titles coming up…
[6:58] [AMSTERDAM] OK, some more on communication features: Internet and local play, plus Street Pass. "I hope you will witness with your own eyes the new game experience we have on offer."
[6:59] [AMSTERDAM] Fischer returns to the stage. He starts up with Pilotwings Resort and then moves on to Nintendogs and Cats.
[7:00] "You will have to work harder to earn love from your kitty," he jokes.
[7:02] [AMSTERDAM] The fur, body size, and leg length varies more now than ever before.
[7:02] [AMSTERDAM] Third title: Steel Diver, with gyroscopic control.
[7:02] [AMSTERDAM] And on to Ocarina of Time and Kid Icarus. "Make sure you try this," he says. Ross concurs.
[7:03] [AMSTERDAM] He really does look a bit like George Clooney, doesn't he? Everyone onstage has made a Clooney joke so far.
[7:05] [AMSTERDAM] Mr. Shibata again now, here to talk about the Mii maker on the 3DS, which begins with a photo of you taken by the 3DS camera. We take a look at Ross' and Shibata's.
[7:06] [AMSTERDAM] Face Raiders, they say, is a preinstalled game that uses these 3DS Miis.
[7:06] [AMSTERDAM] Internet browser not preinstalled, but coming at a later date as a download.
[7:08] [AMSTERDAM] Time at last for the launch lineup.
[7:10] [AMSTERDAM] Software lineup available on or soon after launch day: Nintendogs and Cats, Steel Diver, Pro Evo, Street Fighter IV, Super Monkey Ball 3D, Resident Evil Revelations, Combat of Giants, Dead or Alive, Rabbids 3D, Ghost Recon: Shadow Wards, Samurai Warriors, Driver, Lego Star Wars III, Paper Mario, Starfox 64, Ocarina of Time, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries, Splinter Cell 3D, Asphalt 3D, The Sims 3D, Ridge Racer 3D, Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater, Animal Crossing, Pilot Wings, Kid Icarus.
[7:10] [AMSTERDAM] 3DS launching in Europe on March 25, 2011.
[7:11] [AMSTERDAM] More than 25 games available at launch.
[7:11] [AMSTERDAM] As for the price…"please defer to retailer prices."
[7:13] [AMSTERDAM] We are being thanked for being here and are promised more via the Nintendo website.
[7:15] [AMSTERDAM] And we're out! Disappointed by the lack of a price, and it looks like the Metroid rumors weren't true. We'll get a definite launch lineup as soon as possible. Keep your eyes on the site! Thanks for tuning in, folks.
[7:22] [LONDON] British retailers are now listing the 3DS for a £229 ($366) price point.