updated 11:30 am EDT, Tue April 13, 2010
Nintendo US chief bets on 3DS to oust Apple
The 3DS is Nintendo's most important handheld since it released the original DS six years ago, the console maker's US president Reggie Fils-Aime said in an interview late Monday. He treated the 3DS as more than just a refresh and said it would be Nintendo's "next handheld platform." If still shy on details, Fils-Aime said the hardware would be powerful enough to do things impossible on any current model.
"We have ideas of what we want to bring to the consumer that we can't do [right now]," the executive told BusinessWeek.
The clues support beliefs that the 3DS will be a generational leap instead of the mild upgrades that have persisted over the past few years. More than one rumor has put a second-generation Tegra in the system that would not only make a 3D image relatively easy but would improve gaming performance and allow for HD video. Others have hinted at analog sticks and force feedback.
Sharp is considered the most likely candidate to supply the dual screens, as it has a new 3.4-inch glasses-free 3D LCD that performs as well as a modern display, even with a 480p resolution.
The major upgrade is potentially expensive but is already regarded as crucial for Nintendo in fending off new pressure from Apple in handheld gaming. It has lately tried to dismiss Apple as a threat but has been losing revenue as the iPod touch and iPhone have led many to switch away from the DS.
Apple's handhelds are more expensive but also have much more performance and storage. They also place a much higher priority on Internet access and have a full-fledged app platform versus Nintendo's still rudimentary DSiWare store, which has a relatively small number of games and fewer apps. Most Nintendo games, either physical or online, cost several times more than their iPod equivalents even when one is a direct port of the other.