Nintendo sees the future in its 3DS

In an unexpected move, the Japanese company says it plans to launch a successor to the Nintendo DS that will feature 3D gaming technology.

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 DS family of game devices will soon have a successor, and its name is the 3DS.

According to Nintendo's Tuesday announcement, the 3DS will boast 3D gaming capability without requiring users to wear "any special glasses" to play titles.

The company said that the 3DS will "succeed [the] 'Nintendo DS series.'" Perhaps most importantly, the 3DS will boast backward compatibility, allowing users to play games originally built for the Nintendo DS or DSi.

Nintendo DS
Say sayonara to your Nintendo DSi. It's being replaced by the 3DS. Nintendo

Nintendo was stingy with details. It didn't indicate how the 3D functionality would work with the 3DS. It also failed to mention how much the console would cost or what games would ship with it. Nintendo plans to offer full details on the 3DS at the E3 show in June. The company declined to comment further.

The Nintendo DS has been an extremely successful product for the Japanese company, selling 125 million units worldwide through December 2009. This weekend, Nintendo aims to keep that momentum going with the release of the Nintendo DSi XL, which boasts notably larger screens.

Nintendo's decision to offer a 3D gaming device will be controversial. Although the industry is seemingly doubling down on 3D technology, some are skeptical of its true appeal. And whether gamers will want to consistently view 3D games is decidedly up for debate.

Then again, Nintendo has spent the last few years taking routes that were initially scoffed at. When it first announced the Wii game console, critics were doubtful about its broader market appeal. Nearly four years later, the Wii is the world's most popular video game console.

Nintendo said that it plans to launch the 3DS during its next fiscal year, which runs April 1, 2010, through March 31, 2011.