Nintendo Shows Off 3D Game Console Ahead of February Launch

The new machine does not require 3D glasses, and is set for a March release in the U.S. and Europe.

TOKYO – Nintendo has been demonstrating its 3D portable console – the 3DS – at an event outside Tokyo over the holiday weekend, before its February launch.

The 3DS, due out on February 26 in Japan at a cost of 25,000 yen ($300), and in the U.S. and Europe in March, does not require 3D glasses.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told business daily The Nikkei that the target for domestic sales is 1.5 million consoles in its first month, and global sales of 4 million in the month after its international launch.

Iwata dismissed suggestions that the growing market for smartphone games would encroach on Nintendo sales.

There will be eight 3D titles launched with the console, including Super Street Fighter 3D (Capcom), Ridge Racer 3D (Namco Bandai) and Winning Eleven 3D Soccer (Konami.) Only one title will be a Nintendo in-house production -- Nintendogs + Cats -- something of a departure for the company which has traditionally boosted profits with an emphasis on its own hit titles such as the Pokemon and Mario series.

The company is currently planning a game development center near its Kyoto headquarters. 

The Japanese video game market shrunk again last year, with overall sales down 9 percent to 493.6 billion yen as console sales all slowed except Sony’s PSP (Portable PlayStation), which shifted 2.89 million units, up more than a quarter from 2009. According to the data from Enterbrain, console sales fell 18.9%, while software sales were down 2.5%, with most of the big sellers being from hit series such as Pokemon.