3DS: Nintendo announces next generation handheld game system

Six years and several models after the launched of the popular DS handheld game system, Nintendo announced its next generation system on March 23rd – the Nintendo 3DS.

In a brief Japanese press release, Nintendo gave only scant details about the new handheld product. In the wake of a rush of 3D technology in recent months, Nintendo is adding its own footing with the product, which they way will allow for 3D viewing with the naked eye. The Yomiuri Shimbun speculated that the 3DS’ video panel will use 3D LCD technology developed by Sharp.

Nintendo proclaimed that the 3DS will be backwards compatible with DS and the DSi series games, as the DS was with GameBoy Advanced games. The company stated that as of December of 2009 they had sold 125 million DS units worldwide, of which nearly 30 million were in Japan alone the Chunichi Shimbun added.

Beyond that, Nintendo revealed that they anticipate launching sales of the new unit by March of 2011. However, they noted that other details, such as images, price and specifications, would not be disclosed until the Los Angeles E3 convention, which starts on June 15th this year.

The questions that seem to be quickly rising are whether Sony will announce a new competing handheld system this year, and whether 3D technology can add a new gaming dimension to the handheld gaming world. Hirokazu Hamamura, president of the Japanese game magazine publishing company Enterbrain, was quoted by the Sankei Shimbun as saying, “Just giving current games 3D graphics would get old quickly. The main point will have to be developing games that can make full use of the 3D element.”