Nintendo 3DS in UK on 25 March, with Sky, BT and others adding to 3D fun

The Nintendo 3DS will hit UK shops on 25 March. At a press event in Amsterdam the big N also announced partnerships with a load of companies to deliver 3D content to the console.

A Donkey Kong barrelful of Nintendo 3DS news has arrived fresh from Amsterdam -- the big N's glasses-free 3D handheld will hit the UK on 25 March, and a host of British companies are lined up to provide non-gaming 3D video and other services.

Prices will be set by retailers -- HMV has listed a price of £230 on its online store, while other online sellers are posting prices just under the £200 mark. The US system will cost $250 (£155), so it looks like UK buyers will end up paying extra, as usual, although that price may well drop by launch day.

The 3DS won't be limited to gaming -- Nintendo is in talks with Sky to bring short 3D videos to the device, and Eurosport is getting involved too. It could give the console some real multimedia clout.

Crazy clay-company Aardman is also signed up to produce a series of 1-minute 3D Shaun the Sheep episodes for the 3DS. So... that's good.

You should be able to stay connected everywhere you go, thanks to something called Spot Pass, a Wi-Fi connection for the 3DS. BT will be lending its BT Fon hotspots to get users online wherever they go.

All this extra stuff is exactly what this console needs -- Nintendo already does gaming brilliantly, but a hot new device needs to offer some multimedia kicks to compete with the likes of the iPhone .

Another interesting new feature is StreetPass, which means that if your 3DS is in your pocket, it'll automatically exchange information with other peoples' 3DS as you stroll past. Nuggets such as game data and your Mii profile can be exchanged, and there's a notification LED on top of the 3DS that'll light up if something's been exchanged.

Hmm. Automatically sharing information with strangers on the street. It doesn't sound like a great idea, but we're sure you'll be able to turn it off if you don't like the sound of it. It could have some neat implications for games though.

If you want to play games online, you won't need to swap friend codes like you do currently on the DS and the Wii -- instead there'll be a device-specific multiplayer ID, and a friends list to manage, so you can play online without the need for fiddly code entering. This is long overdue: as our esteemed colleague and GameSpot UK editor Guy Cocker put it, "Welcome to the 21st century."

Neatly, you can use the 3DS' camera to automatically make Miis that look like you, using Nintendo's Mii Maker software. There's a Web browser too, but you'll have to install that via the 3DS' built-in online shop. You can also stock up on games via that shop, but it looks like only old titles are available at the moment. If you don't fancy that, 25 games will be available for the console at launch.

The 3DS is looking more and more tempting, and if all these partnerships come to fruition, it could make for a surprisingly versatile device. Fingers crossed it all pans out, and that UK retailers go easy on the pricing.

All done? Then it's time to read our in-depth preview

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About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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