As reported earlier by the Agence France-Presse news agency, the most popular museum in the world is teaming up with Nintendo to bring 3DS handheld gaming devices to patrons of the Louvre. Nintendo is supplying the museum with 5,000 3DS devices in order to replace traditional audio-guides by March 2012. While the Paris museum has about 8.5 million annual visitors come through the doors, only four percent utilize the current audio hardware offered by the museum for tours at a cost of approximately six euros ($7.81). The museum’s head of multimedia believes that the majority of people will be happier using a touch screen rather than figure out how to work the audio guide.
While visitors that rent the Nintendo 3DS will likely pay a higher fee for the device, users will be able to see a visual representation of their location within the Louvre and choose from several themed itineraries, some of which have been targeted at children. The museum also plans to include hundreds of audio commentaries about the exhibits and record the audio selections in seven different languages. The video screens will likely be used to show current and upcoming exhibits in addition to recorded presentations. While Nintendo is developing all the content for the supplied 3DS devices, the Louvre has final editorial control on the application.
The Louvre also has smartphone and iPad applications available to download and use during a tour of the Louvre. The application allows museum visitors to share exhibits they are currently viewing on Facebook as well as read more in-depth information about each piece. While the iPhone version of the application is currently free, the iPad version comes with more high resolution photos and is a premium app purchase. Both versions of the application require at least 800MB and users are encouraged to download the application before visiting the museum.