Nintendo confirmed their launch plans for the Nintendo 3DS at a press conference held in Japan. The 3DS will, of course, launch first in Japan on February 26th, followed by its arrival in North America and Europe in March. The price point will be about $300 for the Japanese release, while the pricing for North America and Europe was not announced.
Beyond what we know about the 3DS already, Nintendo talked of an enhanced “Tag Mode” which will allow data to be exchanged with other 3DS units without the need to have a game in the 3DS. The 3DS will have the ability to save data for multiple games, which is unlike previous units. Nintendo did not provide any additional details as far as the exact internal hardware specifics of the console.
A few things were different from the 3DS unit seen at E3. The color of the analog has been changed and the unit will use a slightly different stylus. The release unit will ship with a Virtual Console that will feature the ability to play Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles. The release unit will include 2GB SD card for storage.
Nintendo didn’t announce any new specifics regarding the title launch lineup that is expected to be available when the unit is released. Sources tell us that additional details on the launch title lineup will come when the 3DS gets closer to launch. It is expected that additional details for the North American launch (including titles and pricing) will come during CES in January. Nintendo did make a point of announcing that it will be strengthening the ties with 3rd party developers for the 3DS which they in turn hope will lead to a significant boost in titles for the platform.
Nintendo’s decision to launch next year is said to be due to a combination of factors. Sources suggest to us that the company needs time to get units built and software completed; and while a launch for late this holiday season could have been possible, it just didn’t make much sense following Nintendo’s normal strategy to roll out new products in Japan first, followed by North America and Europe.
The confirmed $300 price tag could prove an interesting sell for Nintendo. Still, analysts believe that the level of interest by potential buyers in the 3DS remains quite strong, even with whispers that we are hearing of a potential new advanced PSP2 model that Sony is said to be showing developers. This isn’t surprising, given that the new PSP2 has not been announced and the 3DS has been.