3DS will need no 3D glasses for 3D content

The Nintendo DS console line continues to be a runaway success for Nintendo and absolutely dominates the portable gaming market. In February the DS sold 613,200 units compared to the Sony PSP moving a mere 133,400 units. Nintendo is now set to reveal a new portable game console called the Nintendo 3DS. Whether or not the 3DS will replace the DS, DSi and other portable consoles outright or be sold alongside existing models is unknown.

Nintendo has confirmed that the 3DS is coming, but is mum on any hard details on the new portable console. All we know right now was offered in the form of a short letter [PDF] issued today from Nintendo. The letter states that the 3DS will launch during the fiscal year ending in March of 2011. One very important fact is that Nintendo states the 3DS will need no glasses to view the 3D content on the screen.

The 3DS will be backwards compatible with non-3D game titles designed originally for the DSi and DS consoles. More details will be offered by Nintendo at E3 in LA starting on June 15. Hopefully we will get a firm launch date at E3 and a good guess would be for the holiday season.

Some speculation is making its rounds that has Nintendo possible using Hitachi microlens 3D displays for the 3DS. Whether this is based in fact or pure speculation remains to be seen. The Hitachi tech uses a microlens array of tiny convex lenses in columns under the LCD screen. The little lenses are able to create 3D effects as the gamer looks at the screen. This is not the only tech out there that will allow for 3D effects without glasses.

The Hitachi system is said to require displays with higher resolutions to operate. 
SlashGearreports that Hitachi has a demo system of that uses 5-inch 1280 x 768 panels. The DSi XL for comparison uses 4.2-inch displays. It would be easy enough to imagine the 3DS getting higher resolution LCDs in a slightly larger size to accommodate the 3D tech.

Nintendo has been among the hardest hit in the gaming hardware market with profits dropping 23% in Q3 2009 on softening demand for the company's Wii console. The gaming industry as a whole saw sales fall in 2009 to $19.66 billion compared to the $21.4 billion in sales in 2008. The most recent numbers for the game hardware and software industry from NPD showed that the Xbox 360 was the top game console in February 2010. The month overall was down 15% compared to February of 2009. The Xbox sold the most units in America for the month with the Wii taking second, and the PS3 taking third.

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