Releasing in Japan in about a month, the much-hyped Nintendo 3DS has impressed the gaming world with its ability to push some impressive graphics and display 3D gaming without the need of those embarrassing glasses. Because the system is an update to the second-highest-selling gaming device of all time, there have been a lot of expectations for Nintendo's latest piece of technology.
So far, the portable system does everything it promises well. The graphics are on par with PS2 games, and the 3D effects look amazing. However, there are some serious concerns with the 3DS, and you may want to take these into consideration before making your purchase.
1. The Nintendo 3DS Is Going to Have a 3-to-5-Hour Battery Life for 3DS Games
For a portable device, 3 to 5 hours of gaming isn't much. Announced during the Nintendo World 2011 event, Nintendo revealed the 3DS will run for 3 to 5 hours while playing 3DS specific games, and 5 to 8 hours for regular DS games. It's going to take a lot of juice to run those three screens (the top screen renders two displays for the 3D effects), apparently. Compare these numbers to the 17-hour battery life of the Nintendo DSi XL, which has a significantly larger screen.
2. The 3D Effects May Make You Sick, and Playtime Should Be Limited to Less Than 30 Minutes
Up until now, Nintendo has always recommended taking a break after an hour of gaming. However, that was for 2D games. How the 3D effects of the 3DS work is that your eyes are tricked into focusing and seeing a real 3-dimensional object when all you're looking at is two different screens. This will cause your eyes to become tired faster, and Nintendo suggests gaming on the 3DS should be limited to 30 minutes at a time.
Luckily, the system will come with a 3D slider, so players will be able to adjust 3D levels to whatever is the most comfortable.
3. The Games Are Going to Be Really Expensive
One of the 3DS titles available during the launch of the system is Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle, a game that sold for ¥5,980. According to the current exchange rate of 1 Japanese yen = 0.0122 U.S. dollars, that's about $72.72 U.S. Yep, that's more than $70 for a single, new copy of a 3DS title. This is a slight price increase from the average price tag of ¥4800 for regular DS games.
Although the prices of 3DS games haven't been officially confirmed yet, it's rumored to be around $39.99 to $49.99, thanks to placeholder listings on Amazon.com and Gamestop. That's about a $10 increase from Nintendo DS games.
Considering Nintendo's directly competing with Apple now, charging more for games can be a horrible move. Casual gamers using iPhones and iPod Touches typically pay $1 to $5 for games. Nintendo plans to compete with this by raising the prices on their games? Risky.
4. The Touch Screen Is About the Same Size as the First DS's Screen!
The new touch screen of the Nintendo 3DS is almost the same size as the first DS, released in 2004 (you know, the fat one). Unacceptable! In a sense, this is a downgrade to the larger screens of the Nintendo DSi and DSi XL. Clearly, they are planning to release an upgrade to the 3DS with a larger screen in a few years. They've done it before.
5. 3DS Games Are Region-Locked
The Nintendo DS and DS Lite were both region-free systems, which meant players were able to buy games from other countries, and it would work just fine on their portable system. However, the Nintendo 3DS will not feature this freedom; it will have an iron curtain and will be region-locked. 3DS owners won't be able to play Japanese games, and vice-versa. This is especially unfortunate for European gamers, for many English-translated Japanese games don't get localization for Europe.
6. The 3D Effects Can Cause Long-Term Damage to Children Under 6 Years Old
Children younger than 6 who view 3D effects can possibly damage their vision later in life. The vision of children in this age range is still in a developmental stage, and Nintendo recommends they do not use the 3DS's 3D effects or watch 3D movies and 3D television.
Nintendo is going to implement parental controls for the 3D effects of the system. According to Nintendo, “Since the Nintendo 3DS can be changed to 2D to avoid any effects on young children's vision, it is possible for anyone to enjoy playing it.”