Nintendo Set to Take Your Money

In what might amount to the most understated announcement of the year, Nintendo of Japan recently unveiled the Nintendo 3DS, described in exultant tones as “like a DS…but, y’know, in three-dee. Right.”

The quote’s pure fantasy, of course, but you could almost say the same for the handheld itself. Given Nintendo’s incredible sway in the portable gaming market, one would expect a bit more pomp and ceremony for the successor to the Nintendo DS. C’mon, now. The little dual-screen device shattered sales records on a monthly basis, and one teensy little announcement is all you afford it’s sleeker, sexier new sibling?

People these days.

Thing is, Nintendo’s keeping its cash cards close to its chest, holding off on any further earth-shattering revelations until the next Electronic Entertainment Expo in mid-July 2010. And I can’t blame them, given the industry attention said expo reels in, but I’m still amazed at how little fanfare the 3DS has garnered so far.

It’s a pretty big deal, right? The sequel to the DS, quite possibly the most successful handheld of all time? The next project from Nintendo, purveyor of wildly popular entertainment devices?

I suppose gamer excitement will hit the fever patch right around E3, whenever Nintendo finally pulls back the curtain on this thing. All we know about the device now can be summed up in a single sentence: it does 3D gaming without glasses. Which is pretty astonishing in itself, admittedly, especially in its great potential for the future of gaming. I haven’t touched my own DS in a couple of months, but I can’t deny Nintendo’s talent at taking a new concept – two screens on a handheld? Blasphemy! – and crafting something beautiful.

Fingers crossed, then, that the 3DS will prove similarly striking. I’ll keep you lot updated if Nintendo’s marketing machine lets any further information slip between the cracks.

On a similar (and entertaining!) note, the announcement of the 3DS comes just a few days before Nintendo releases the DSi XL, a – you guessed it! – regular DSi with the advantage of bigger screens. I can’t imagine too many people will be lining up outside Best Buy for its release, especially now that the 3DS is out of the bag.

Bigger screens or 3d gaming? Tough choice, that.

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