Nintendo 3DS coming Sunday; retailers offering trade-in discounts

Nintendo 3DS (blue)

Nintendo is on the verge of launching its new Nintendo 3DS hand-held gaming system, which will be one of the first consumer products to include 3D display technology that doesn’t require the use of awkward 3D glasses. The systems go on sale March 27, 2011—yes, we’re aware that’s Sunday—but Nintendo and its partners are hosting a number of Saturday launch events so consumers can get their hands on their 3DS systems starting at midnight. And a number of retailers are hoping to offset the standard retail price of $250 by offering discounts on trade-ins of older Nintendo DS handhelds.

Nintendo itself will be hosting its official launch event in New York City at Best Buy in Union Square; Nintendo 3DS “sampling” will happen from 12 noon through 8 PM, and at 9 PM NIntendo will kick off the formal launch party, with sales starting promptly at midnight. The event should run through 2 AM, and the company will be providing live entertainment, supplies of branded giveaways, hosting demos, and making sure plenty of food trucks are parked nearby.

Not to be outdone, GameStop will be hosting launch events of its own, opening more than 800 of its retail stores at 12:01 AM March 27 to give gamers a crack at the new system. For folks balking at the $250 price tag, GameStop will also be offering $50 to $100 credits toward the purchase of a new Nintendo 3DS system for folks who trade in a used Nintendo DS Lite, DSi, or DSI XL system.

Mega-retailer Walmart doesn’t want to be left out of the mix either: Walmart says it will have the Nintendo 3DS available in all its stores and online on launch day, but Walmart customers in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and South Carolina get a special treat: they can trade in up to two used Nintendo DS systems for $100 credit apiece towards the purchase of a Nintendo 3DS. Walmart plans to run the trade-in promotion through April 30, or while supplies last.