Source: UK gaming site CVG.
What we heard: Nintendo timed the announcement of its upcoming 3DS at a weird hour. Preempting the launch of the DSi XL by a launch in March, Nintendo said the system's glasses-free, 3D-capable successor would arrive a year or less later. Analysts quickly speculated that the announcement was a proactive measure to get ahead of unauthorized media leaks.
Now, it appears as if Nintendo has selected an equally unexpected launch window for its newest handheld. UK gaming site CVG reports today that Nintendo plans to launch the 3DS this October, a move that will allow it to get a two-month jump on the busy holiday shopping season. CVG noted that its information came by way of "UK industry sources," that were apparently caught off guard by Nintendo's release strategy.
"It's a surprise--we were expecting it much closer to Christmas," a source reportedly told the site. "But I suppose it gives Nintendo the opportunity to get it front and centre in people's minds nice and early. In my experience, you don't launch a product that early to Christmas unless you're confident in it--and going to spend a lot of money on it. We're reassured that Nintendo is going to give it some decent backing in Q4."
Nintendo is said to be planning on announcing the system's release date during its Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference on June 15. Also, CVG's report did not indicate whether the October launch was a worldwide rollout. While the publisher has in the past clumped together the European and North American releases for DS-branded systems, the Japanese launch often happens several months earlier.
If the release schedule for the DS line of handhelds is any indication, Nintendo has no proclivity toward launching in a particular month. The original Nintendo DS landed in North America in November 2004. That release was followed by the DS Lite in June 2006, with the DSi following in April 2009. The DSi XL arrived stateside in March 2010.
Also, an October launch window would make sense for Nintendo, were it to want to get ahead of high-profile hardware releases from Microsoft and Sony. Both companies have scheduled the launch of their heavily hyped camera-based motion-sensing add-ons for the holiday window.
The official story: Nintendo had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus?: Leaning toward not bogus. Even though Nintendo saw a significant bump in DS sales during March in the US due to the XL, interest in the system has significantly waned in the past few months. Staying ahead in the handheld market is key to the publisher, and an early October launch would have the fringe benefit of preempting--or disrupting--Project Natal and PlayStation Move's fall debuts.