Nintendo 3DS dated, priced

Stereoscopic handheld to launch February 2011 in Japan, March 2011 for US/Europe; price pegged at ¥25,000 ($299) in home nation; to include Game Boy Virtual Console.

After months of rumour and speculation, Nintendo finally announced the release date and pricing for its 3DS during a press conference in Tokyo today. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata confirmed that the 3DS will go on sale on February 26, 2011, in Japan for ¥25,000 ($299). The portable's US and European launch will follow a month later in March, but no price details were given by Nintendo for those regions, with the publisher saying these announcements would be made later by the company's overseas branches. The system will be available in Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black hues on launch.

One of the 3DS' new features will be a retractable stylus.

During the conference--live-blogged by Japanese gaming publication Famitsu and translated by GameSpot--Iwata went into more detail about the 3DS' other features, including the tag mode functionality and what appeared to be a Mii creation studio. A short video explaining the functions was shown and featured Namco Bandai's Yozo Sakagami, who talked about using tag mode for rankings and exchanging ghost data in Ridge Racer 3D. Capcom's Yoshinori Ono was also featured, with the Street Fighter IV producer talking about making a game where players could battle anywhere. Ono then confirmed that Street Fighter IV for the 3DS will support Wi-Fi play and tag mode.

The video also showed a functionality that will allow users to stop midgame to browse the Web, send data wirelessly, and interact with other users who are walking nearby with a 3DS. The handheld can also connect to Wi-Fi when in sleep mode and automatically download data, including rankings, ghost rankings, and free software.

The 3DS will also be bundled with a 2GB SD card that will be able to store downloadable content. The handheld will also feature a Virtual Console service for Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles, while several classic N64 titles will be re-released with 3D support.

The 3DS can play Game Boy and GBA titles, courtesy of its own Virtual Console.

Iwata wrapped up the press conference by admitting that third-party games often don't sell well on Nintendo hardware, with Wii third-party game sales low in Japan and the first year of Nintendo DS software sales all coming from the publisher's own titles. This is something the publisher is hoping to rectify with the 3DS.

The conference ended with a video of publishers and developers singing the praises of the new handheld, including Capcom, Level-5, and Konami. According to Capcom, a new Resident Evil title, called Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, is also in development for the 3DS.

Nintendo first announced the 3DS during its E3 2010 press conference, laying out a sizable number of first-party titles, including Kid Icarus: Uprising, Star Fox 64 3D, Paper Mario, Animal Crossing, Mario Kart, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Later, the publisher also confirmed a strong lineup of third-party support for the 3DS, with titles like Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D - The Naked Sample, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Pro Evolution Soccer, Dead or Alive 3D, Resident Evil Revelations, Ninja Gaiden, Pac-Man & Galaga, and Dragon Ball all getting the 3D treatment, as well as a spate of unnamed titles from developers such as Harmonix, Take-Two, Atlus, AQ Interactive, Disney Interactive Studios, Hudson Soft, Majesco, Marvelous Entertainment, and Sega.

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