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Nintendo details EU and US 3DS launches in Amsterdam and New York - full report


Nintendo held events for hundreds of members of the media in Amsterdam and New York today to announce launch plans for 3DS.

We have complete details of what happened after the break.

It's now confirmed that 3DS will launch in the US on March 27 at $249.99.

Europe will get the machine on March 25. There was no price: Nintendo said that retailers will determine the street cost, but HMV has now said the basic console will cost in the region of £230.

More than 30 games will be available in the "launch period" - the time between release and E3 in June - in both the US and Europe.

The Euro event kicked off at 3.00pm CET today, with UK celeb Jonathan Ross telling the crowd, "This is completely unique, ladies and gentlemen - the Nintendo 3DS," before removing his 3D glasses. Just to make the point.

Nintendo Europe president Shibata-san set the theme for the bulk of the presentation, saying, "We are committed to working with third-party developers," adding that third-party support was "important" for the machine.

Launch colours were then confirmed as "aqua blue" and "cosmos black" in a video, and the console's European packaging was on display.

Zelda, Pilotwings and Nintendogs + Cats got the main love as first-party titles in both the US and Europe.

Steel Diver and Kid Icarus were also headlined.

From the third-party side, Hayashi-san from Tecmo demoed Dead or Alive Dimensions in New York, while Team Ninja's Yosuke Hayoshi showed the game in Holland.

Capcom legend Ono-san showed off Street Fighter, joking that 3DS is Virtual Boy 2.

Ross added that he has the "headache to prove it".

Ono went into detail on Street Fighter's StreetPass system, which allows people to battle without actually knowing it.

The game will have 35 fighters.

Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot confirmed a new Ghost Recon is being made for the machine.

He also said that eight games would release in the console's launch period.

Konami announced PES 2011 3D, showing a trailer and talking at length about the game's features and standing as the first ever 3D football game.

Peter Moore appeared in video form at the US event to talk about Madden, saying its "optimized for 3D" and will allow people to easily "get into the game via gameflow or an arcade style mode of play-calling".

A pre-installed Mii-based game, FaceRaiders, will come installed on 3DS, Nintendo said.

3D photo-taking and SpotPass capabilities were demoed, and Nintendo confirmed it's in talks with Telecom in Germany and BT in the UK to provide the feature locally.

The console's StreetPass system was also shown. This allows content, such as Miis, to be shared when players pass each other on the street.

Nintendo assured that you'll only need to register your 3DS with one Friend Code, and that Friend Codes aren't software-dependent.

The company said it's done a deal with Eurosport to provide 3D sports videos to the handheld in Europe, and that it's in discussion with BSkyB for shortform 3D content.

Nintendo Europe boss Laurent Fischer added, "We are in discussions with many other media partners."

Aardman's David Sproxton confirmed that 3DS is to get an exclusive range of 3D Shaun the Sheep shorts.

"We think fans of both Shawn and Nintendo will appreciate this to the full," Sproxton said.

Nintendo streamed the EU conference live here. Keza MacDonald liveblogged the Amsterdam event in the window below.

3DS launches on February 26 in Japan.

Info frenzy - reported by Stephany Nunneley

In the wake of the two events, Nintendo released giant press releases containing 3DS launch information, which we've broken down for you here.

3DS specifications highlighted, again

Like Europe, 3DS will made available in Cosmo Black or Aqua Blue in the US. The firm plans on a massive marketing blitz, as well as at least ‬5,000‭ ‬units placed in various retail stores so that consumers can get hands on with ‬3DS before deciding on a purchase.‭ NOA president Reggie Fils-Aime said the firm wants 3DS to be in front of ‬400,000‭ ‬people during the first week it hits shelves.

Nintendo chatted specs at both the US and European events, talking up 3DS's bottom touch screen with a telescoping stylus stored in the unit, top screen displays, the 3D Depth Slider, the familiar + Control Pad and button controls as well as the addition of the Circle Pad, which provides a full 360 degrees of direction. The built-in motion sensor and gyro sensor was mentioned again as well.

The firm also chatted about Nintendo 3DS having three cameras, where on points at the user, while two additional cameras point outward. According to the firm, these two outer cameras "take photos in 3D" so you can use the pre-installed game Face Raiders. Players will take shots of their faces Nintendo 3DS, when put into Sleep Mode, can act as a pedometer, while letting users earn Play Coins for the steps they take that can then be traded in for additional content in compatible games and applications. By accessing the Activity Log, users can check their steps as well as their play time.

3DS Sound is also pre-installed, allowing users to use sound-manipulation tools or "rock out while listening to their MP3 or AAC music files".

The system can also use DS game cards with their original 2D visuals. The system includes a slot for an SD memory card but every system comes with a 2Gb SD memory card. Using a service that will be provided after the hardware’s launch, Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DSi XL owners will be able to transfer games downloaded from the Nintendo DSi Shop onto their new Nintendo 3DS systems. An upgraded Internet browser will also be available via a system update.

StreetPass and SpotPass detailed

StreetPass was detailed, and it allows users to exchange game information with other Nintendo 3DS systems as owners pass one another, hence the name.

According to Nintendo: "Small packets of information can be exchanged using this data-transfer method, such as Mii character data, maps for games or high scores and custom character data for different games."

SpotPass was also detailed, and the feature allows user to sonnet to compatible public hotspots and through a wireless broadband Internet connection at home, even if the system is in Sleep Mode. Once connected, the Nintendo 3DS system will receive new content and updates on a regular basis.

Mii Maker, eShop, AR cards, Friend Codes

The Mii Maker application was detailed at both events as a new tool to create Mii characters. Users can either import Mii characters from their Wii systems using an SD memory card or use the camera to take a picture of a person and have an automatic Mii character created. Users can even save their Mii characters to an SD card as pictures, which enables them to be used any way a digital photo would for personal use, such as a profile picture on social-networking sites.

The Nintendo eShop, through a system update, will offer access to downloadable games, including Nintendo DSiWare and ones specifically made for Nintendo 3DS. Like the Virtual Console service on Wii, Virtual Console games on Nintendo 3DS will be pulled from classic Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. Players will be able to view game videos, download demos for select games and see how other consumers rated the games. The Nintendo eShop will use a cash-based system. Users can either input credit card information in the shop or purchase a Nintendo 3DS Prepaid Card at retail locations.

Nintendo 3DS comes with six augmented-reality cards, called AR cards. When the two outer cameras are pointed at the cards, they read the cards and superimpose images and animations onto the scene. So users shouldn’t be surprised if they see a dragon popping out of their kitchen tables. Developers can also use this technology to add creative new experiences to their games.

Fans of online play will be happy to learn that the friend codes for Nintendo 3DS are specific to each Nintendo 3DS system, not each game. Once friends trade hardware codes, at any time they can check their friends list to see which of their friends are online and what they are playing.

“Nintendo 3DS is a category of one – the experience simply doesn’t exist anywhere else,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “You have to see Nintendo 3DS to believe it. And it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”

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