Nintendo 3DS Launching on March 27th for $250

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This morning, Nintendo of America revealed details about their hotly-anticipated 3D-enabled handheld game system. The press event in downtown Manhattan started off with a Nintendo-centric history of how the company’s created innovative shifts in the medium: Super Mario 64, Nintendo DS and Wii. From there, NOA president Reggie Fils-Aime talked about the how the new system will be inherently social, saying it “will drive connected experiences like no Nintendo device before.”

The unit will come in two colors: Aqua Black and Cosmo Blue and the top screen will be 10% larger than on DSi. A walkthrough video shown at the event put forth more details: Backwards compatibility with DS games,  an SD card slot and a 2 GB card, a new analog circle pad, built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, a charging cradle, a new home button, inner and outer camera, with the latter having stereoscopic capture capabilities.

The connectivity for the device will come in two flavors: Spot Pass is the WiFi option and Street Pass will enable ad hoc connections between 3DS units on the fly. With Street Pass, nearby 3DS systems connect to each other whether in Sleep Mode or playing a game and instantly exchange data for common games.

Nintendo’s defining their launch window as the period between March 27th and E3 2011 and Fils-Aime talked up more than a dozen games that will be available during that time. (More on Time.com: Top 10 Failed Gaming Consoles)

First-party launch titles include:

Pilotwings Resort (set on Woohoo Island from Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort)
Nintendogs + Cats
Steeldiver (first shown as a tech demo for the first DS iteration)
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Kid Icarus: Uprising

Third-party launch titles mentioned were:

Dead or Alive Dimensions from Tecmo
Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series
Madden NFL Football 3D
Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition [with a feature where battles happen in passively in the game’s Figurine Mode]

The 3DS will also include built-in software, too:

Activity log that measures real-world and virtual movement, along with a pedometer that earns game coins
Mii Maker (users can swap Mii characters in Street Mode)
Face Raiders (pre-installed game)
AR Games (an augmented reality experience)
Internet browser

As far as the infamous Friend Codes, their implementation is changing. Only one code will be necessary and you’ll  only need to register it once. Nintendo’s also planning to releases digital downloads via a rebranded Nintendo eShop that promises to be smoother and easier to use than the current DSiWare offering. The eShop will be stocked with backcatalog titles from the Game Boy era like Super Mario Land.

The press event was notable for a lack of answers on non-game entertainment content; really, there was barely any mention of it in terms what, when or how any content would be made available. (More on Time.com: Top 10 Arcade Games of All Time)

Of course, you can only decide the 3DS’s worth by looking at it in real life and Nintendo plans to have 5,000 interactive units dispersed through retail; along with roving mobile units too. The goal is to have 1 million Americans experience the 3DS over the summer.

Fils-Aime said that the company’s focus testing had people saying that a system with the 3DS’ capabilities was worth was $300-$400. Nintedo, however, will be offering the portable for an MSRP of  $249.99. Nintendo has some key titles available to try out so check back for hands-on impressions of the 3DS game playable so far.

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More on Time.com:

Let’s Go Retro: Best Computer Games from the ’80s

Top Five Uses For Your Kinect Besides Gaming

What We’re Looking Forward to in 2011: Video Games

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