Will Nintendo’s 3DS be available in time for Christmas?

Initially thought to be scheduled for a 2011 release, new rumours suggest that the Nintendo 3DS could be available as early as November…

Nintendo 3DS

Having managed to get our eager mitts on Nintendo’s shiny new handheld console back in July, we can comfortably say that the forthcoming 3DS is more than worthy of its pre-release hype.

Squeezing infinitely superior graphics and sound, an analogue controller and specs-free 3D into a package only slightly larger than the ageing DS, it’s shaping up to be a spectacular console from a technical standpoint.

It’s the wealth of launch titles, however, that have really grabbed our attention, with the fantastic-looking Kid Icarus: Uprising, Resident Evil Revelations and Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D on the way.

And with a wealth of remakes due to appear, not least a stereoscopic version of Ocarina Of Time, the 3DS looks to have the strongest launch line-up of any Nintendo console so far.

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What hasn’t been entirely clear is exactly when Nintendo plans to release it. There were vague reports that we’d have to wait until sometime ‘before 31 March’ to see the worldwide launch of the 3DS, with no definite date announced.

Most recently, however, rumours have begun to surface that the 3DS may be set to appear much earlier than anyone expected. According to the website Dig That Box, a former employee of a Japanese peripheral company called Keys Factory posted a message on Twitter stating that the 3DS was set for release on 20 November.

Shortly after, the poster’s entire account vanished from Twitter’s site, leading some to suggest that the leak had been quietly plugged by Nintendo operatives.

The flames of speculation have been fanned further by a story that appeared in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun Nippon, which stated that Paper Mario 3DS was due to appear in 2010.

Elsewhere, other apparent leaks all point to a late 2010 appearance for Nintendo’s handheld. Play.com listed a Dragon Ball game as being due for release on 11 November, while an employee of US chain GameStop stated that the 3DS was listed on its database and due to ship on 22 November, with pre-orders opening on 29 September.

A 2010 release would certainly make sense from Nintendo’s standpoint – after all, this year marks Mario’s 25th birthday, and releasing both its new console and a new Paper Mario to coincide with this sounds perfectly logical.

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And far from a work-in-progress, the 3DS appeared to be a finished product when we got our hands on it some three months ago, so it seems unlikely that Nintendo would postpone its release for any longer than is necessary, particularly with the lucrative Christmas period on the horizon. Certainly, one Nintendo representative enigmatically hinted to me that the console could be ready in time for the festive season.

Whatever Nintendo decides, it’s likely we’ll know sooner rather than later – on 29 September, the company is holding a press event in which it’s expected to reveal the 3DS’s release date and, importantly, its suggested price point. I can’t wait.

More news on the Nintendo 3DS as it comes in.

Dig That Box