Nintendo 3DS launch: release date announced

Nintendo has finally revealed the official European release date for the 3DS, and its launch line-up of games…

Nintendo 3DS

Jonathan Ross hosted the unveiling of Nintendo’s eagerly awaited wonder gadget, the 3DS, at its official launch in Amsterdam. As you’ll no doubt know by now, the console uses what we presume is some form of witchcraft to display 3D without the need for cumbersome glasses.

In a curiously muted, subdued ceremony, Laurent Fischer (described by Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono as “a boring George Clooney”) took to the stage to talk about the genesis of the device, and explained that Nintendo originally wanted to include some sort of 3D feature on the GameCube, but the technology would have been too expensive at the time of the machine’s release.

As for the 3DS itself, a video detailed some of the device’s numerous features, including its ability to take 3D pictures, ability to stream video (Nintendo has already struck deals with EuroSport and Aardman Animations to stream their content, with a deal with Sky 3D apparently on the way over the next few months). Always-on Wifi will connect automatically to the net and will download content and updates even when it’s asleep.

Then there’s something called StreetPass, which automatically exchanges data from your 3DS with people you pass in the street. “No such transfer occurs unless you want it to” Fischer pointed out.

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Representatives from Ubisoft, Capcom and Konami then came out to introduce some of their titles, which include Street Fighter IV 3D. Yoshinori Ono explained that SFIV will use the console’s Street Pass to engage passers by in combat.

Other games highlighted included Kid Icarus: Uprising, Animal Crossing, Pilot Wings Resort, Rabbids, Splinter Cell, Driver, Rayman 3D and an updated remake of Ocarina Of Time.

Nintendo Europe’s president Saturo Shibata then outlined some of the 3DS’ pre-loaded software, which includes an activity log, which no doubt uses the console’s built-in pedometer to track how much walking you’ve done. Then there’s Face Raiders, which allows the user to take pictures of themselves and place them in a shooting gallery. “So you can shoot yourself in the face,” Jonathan Ross dryly explained.

The most interesting pre-loaded feature is perhaps Nintendo’s eShop – in Shibata’s presentation, one of the games shown on the screen was the classic Super Mario Land from the original Gameboy.

Finally, the piece of information we’d been impatiently waiting for arrived. The 3DS will be available in Europe on March 25th, though the device’s RRP wasn’t confirmed. Shibata did, however, confirm that “More than 25 games will be available” between launch date and June.

We can’t wait.

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