Nintendo 3DS set to launch in Japan tomorrow

Saturday is the big day in Japan for Nintendo's highly anticipated 3DS portable-gaming device, which lets gamers play titles in 3D without special glasses.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
The Nintendo 3DS is launching in Japan tomorrow.
The Nintendo 3DS is launching in Japan tomorrow. Nintendo

The Nintendo 3DS is just hours away from launching in Japan.

The portable gaming device is scheduled to hit store shelves tomorrow in Japan for 25,000 yen (about $300), while U.S. buyers have to wait until late March. The 3DS features the familiar dual-screen design customers have grown accustomed to with the Nintendo DS, but allows gamers to play titles in 3D. The most interesting aspect of the 3DS is that it doesn't require users to wear special glasses to see the 3D effect.

Aside from that, the platform comes with an accelerometer and gyroscope to improving the gaming experience, as well as the ability for users take 3D photos. Nintendo is offering the platform in both blue and black.

But it's the device's 3D capabilities that steal the show. Like Sony with its 3D-compatible PlayStation 3, Nintendo is committed to third dimension. And the company is encouraging developers to use the 3DS' unique functionality to enhance the appeal of their titles. The only issue is, developers might not be so sure how 3D should be implemented in the average game.

"The next step may be to forget about the way we've been designing games and think of a completely new approach only possible with 3D games," Tecmo Koei Games developer and producer of 3DS title Dead or Alive Dimensions, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published today. "If making games is like cooking, we haven't figured out if 3D is a spice, or maybe a main ingredient."

But that confusion seemingly hasn't stopped developers from investing in the new portable. According to Nintendo, its U.S. launch will include 18 games from its in-house studio and third-party developers. By early June, it expects 30 games to be available to the portable platform.

More importantly, Nintendo thinks its 3DS will perform quite well at retail. It said last year that it expects to ship 1.5 million 3DS units to Japan and a total of 4 million units worldwide through the end of next month, even though the platform launches in the U.S. market on March 27 for $249.