Nintendo announces 3DS release date, price

Nintendo’s next portable, the Nintendo 3DS, is scheduled to be released March 27 at the suggested price of $249.99, the company announced today.

The 3DS’ coming release is not the only sign of rising competition between video game companies within the portable arena. Bloomberg reports that Sony is set to unveil a new PlayStation Portable as early as Jan. 27, with PlayStation smartphone to follow the next month.

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The 3DS is designed as a 3D gaming system that will not require players to wear special glasses to see three-dimensional images. The portable’s controls will include a “3D Depth Slider” to let players control the degree of 3D effects and a new “Circle Pad” controller that Nintendo asserts will allow for 360-degree controls within the 3-D environment.

Parents will be able to turn off the 3D feature altogether, Nintendo reported. Recent media reports have delved into a medical debate over whether 3D may harm young children’s developing eyeballs.

In addition the the 3D screen, the 3DS is also designed with a touch screen and stylus control similar to Nintendo’s current portable, the DS. Features also include motion and tilt controls in the fashion of smartphone gaming.

Other phone-like features are MP3 and AAC music playability, “Street Pass” and “Spot-Pass,” which are intended to let players transfer packets of game information directly to one another as they pass on the street or via Wi-Fi hotspots or home broadband connections.

More than 30 games will be released during a launch window of about three months, Nintendo reported. The most publicized of which seems to be “Kid Icarus: Uprising,” a title that brings back a flagship (?) NES character that has more or less vanished since the Game Boy era.

Other announced titles include “Pilotwings Resort,” “nintendogs + cats,” the underwater themed “Steel Diver,” remakes of Nintendo 64 titles “Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” and “Starfox 64″ and further releases in the Mario Kart and Paper Mario franchises.

Announced third-party titles include “Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition” and releases in the Madden NFL and Resident Evil series.