Nintendo is the undisputed leader in the handheld gaming market, with its DS line of handheld games routinely outselling all competition by factors of four and five to one. Now, Nintendo is looking to take the next leap with handheld gaming: the company has briefly announced (PDF) it plans to sell a 3D-enabled version of its Nintendo DS handheld that will work without 3D glasses…and it will be compatible with existing DS games. And that’s about all the company has said, except that it plans to make more information available at the E3 gaming trade show this June.
Nintendo’s announcement of the NIntendo 3DS—that’s a temporary name, apparently—puts additional pressure on other game systems: will they ignore 3D and let Nintendo occupy the niche by themselves, or will they try to bring 3D to their existing devices?
Nintendo’s DS franchise is more than five years old, and although it has seen competition from Sony in the PlayStation Portable and (more recently) Apple in the iPod touch, the DS remains a sales juggernaut for Nintendo, having moved more than 125 million units since its debut.
In the meantime, Nintendo is preparing to launch the Nintendo DSi XL shortly in North America; the DSi XL is like its dual-screened predecessors, but with larger screens, two onboard cameras, and a proportionately slimmer build. The DSI XL was annnounced in October 2008, and has been on sale in Japan for some months.