Nintendo 3DS, the first true 3D console

Nintendo were in a bit of a corner really with the sudden spurt of growth in the smartphone market and the associated application stores. From a strategic marketing perspective Nintendo had a desperate need to differentiate themselves from these new competitors. And 3D is that differentiator.

They are saying that the new device is backwards compatible, so it is basically a DS with 3D bolted on. They say you don’t need special glasses, but this is also true of upcoming television technology. The above video is trick 3D using the camera to tell the game about movement. The new machine must do a lot better than that.

I have spoken on here before about layering OLED screen technology to create 3D. (In fact I thought the iPad might use it.) This is eminently achievable and the technology is out there and ultimately inexpensive, the manufacturing process is mainly lithography. The main upgrade for the DS will be the technical ability to produce twice as much video output in order to create the stereoscopic 3D imagery.

Regular readers will know that I think the Dual screen, clamshell layout of the DS will catch on with far more portable devices, it doubles screen acreage for a given device size, and screen acreage is critical. But where Nintendo really need to go is to build in a phone. If they don’t they will eventually lose to those portable gaming devices that offer the extra functionality.

As for 3D, it is looking less and less like a fad in the gaming world. Sony and Nintendo have now both firmly laid down their intent, so that leaves Microsoft dithering and Apple sidelined by their planned obsolescence policy. Time will tell us who is right. The stereoscopic 3D experience is definitely more immersive which is exactly what gaming needs, so it is just a matter of getting the technology and the games right.


  1. Crikey.. what have Sony “laid down” then? Have I missed something in my PSP/3 world?

  2. If rumours are to believed the screen could be using parallax barrier technology. This is used on the screen of the latest Range Rover so that the driver and front seat passenger can see different content.

    The technology was developed by Sharp in Oxford, England and was announced in 2002: They have put it in a number of notebook computers:

    So it is well proven, mass produced, technology.

  3. Yes it is a Parallax Barrier. Which is really no different from those little “hologram” stickers you could get as kids in the early 1990s. They have just made it a much higher “res” in effect.

    Cheap and old technology slapped onto the same old same old. There will be a slew of these out soon. Like I said in your other 3D post wait 3 years until the real 3D tech comes out. This is all just half rate temporary crap being over-hyped and over-priced.

    You are right that 3D is here to stay mind you. There simple fact that this can be marketed at all speaks volumes.

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