The Nintendo 3DS will launch in North America on March 27, 2011 at a suggested retail price of $249.99, Nintendo announced at its New York-based press conference this morning. The handheld will debut in two colors: Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black, and will hit with several bits of pre-loaded software, including built-in augmented-reality games and an Internet browser.
Other than those key bits of news, Nintendo didn’t have too much to say about the device that we didn’t already learn in September. It’s still a handheld that can deliver glasses-less 3D. And it’s still a handheld with a DS-style set of controls, the biggest new feature of which being the 3D slider which will allow you to turn off 3D effects whenever you want. But a few interesting tidbits did sneak out!
== TEASER ==One Friends Code Rules Them All -- According to Nintendo, the 3DS will support the Friends Code system; however, codes are no longer software-dependent. That means you only have to enter your pals’ codes once to see them online across every game. Sure, it's not the best solution, but this is a step in the right direction.
How About That Launch Line-Up? -- Nintendo believes it’ll have 30 games on the shelves between launch and early June. This launch list includes PilotWings Resort, Nintendogs + Cats, Steel Diver, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Madden NFL, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Ridge Racer 3D, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries, Star Fox 64 3D, The Sims 3, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Dual Pen Sports, Super Monkey Ball 3D, Thor: God of Thunder, Crush 3D, Samurai Warriors: Chronicles, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D, Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D (!), Rayman 3D, and Rabbids: Travel in Time.
UPDATE: Looks like we might not see the following at launch, as we first reported. Nintendo is listing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Kid Icarus Uprising, Mario Kart 3DS, Animal Crossing 3DS, and Paper Mario 3DS as "in the works," suggesting that they won't make the loose launch timeframe.
Built-In Software -- The 3DS will ship with a built-in pedometer, and an overall games activity tracker that will, according to Nintendo, award you with Mario coins that can be used in select games. Also, look forward to the Mii Maker and the device’s built-in AR games functionality, which uses cards (six come with the device) to render games based off what the 3DS’ cameras see in your environment. An Internet browser and video player were confirmed as well at today’s event.
StreetPass vs. SpotPass -- All 3DS units will be able to detect each other by something called “StreetPass.” Most commonly, this’ll be used to “instantly exchange common game data,” according to Nintendo of America's official Twitter account. The 3DS will also be able to detect 3DS specific hotspots and receive “3D videos, downloadable games, add-on content, and locations-specific special offers” via SpotPass, a built-in Internet connection seeker.
Game Demos -- If you want to get your hands on a 3DS before launch, you’ll get your chance. Nintendo plans to put over 5000 units at retail and street locations.
Backwards Compatibility -- Just in case you missed this one, the 3DS can play Nintendo DS games with their original 2D visuals. Also, as we previously reported, you'll be able to transfer your DSi and DSi XL DS Shop games to your 3DS using a service that will be provided by Nintendo after hardware launch.
Hey, that's a lot stuff! Normally, I would consider this information overload, but you’ve had a few months to mull over a 3DS purchase. With official pricing and date out now, are you still down with getting a 3DS or will you be sitting on it for a while?
[Image and launch list via Destructoid, some coverage via Joystiq's liveblog, and a little more via NOA's Twitter account, Kotaku, and VG247.]