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Nintendo 3DS Launching In November 2010?

Everything We Know So Far

Written By: E. Thomas

09-27-2010

Rumors are flying all over the web claiming the Nintendo 3DS will launch this November. Is there any truth to these rumors? And what's driving these stories? Let's address the facts and see where all these rumors began.

Japanese Peripheral Developer Leaks 3DS Launch Date on Twitter

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A former employee of Japanese company Keys Factory recently posted this item on his Twitter page. He says that his company will have several accessories to go along with the Nintendo 3DS launch, which according to the employee, is coming November 20th. Soon after this "tweet" was posted the comment and the entire account disappeared. Did someone realize their mistake? Or did the "Nintendo Ninjas" suspend the account?

Paper Mario 3DS Coming In 2010

Sometime after the infamous Twitter leak another story hit the web. This time a Japanese newspaper called Asahi Shimbun Nippon published a story claiming Paper Mario 3DS was set for release in 2010. Here's a scan from the issue.

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Recent Nintendo DS Price Drop Clearing The Shelves For New Hardware? 

On September 12th Nintendo dropped the price on the Nintendo DSi and the Nintendo DSi XL. Although this move was expected in light of the upcoming Holiday Season, it was also considered by some to be an unnecessary act. Every single month the Nintendo DS line dominates the hardware charts with insane sales numbers that defy reason even after 5 years on the shelves. It's not like Nintendo needed to drop the price on the DS. Considering the situation, maybe there is another reason for the price drop? If the 3DS does launch this year a price drop on old hardware will help clear the shelves for the new system.

GameStop Computers List 3DS Release Date: Myth Busted?

Finally the latest bit of controversy comes from a little known
Nintendo 3DS blog. The blog in question claimed GameStop has listed the shipping date for the 3DS as November 22nd. The 22nd is a Monday. Nintendo usually releases their big games and hardware on a Sunday. This ship date would make sense considering the Postal Service is closed on Sunday. The ship date would probably be for online customers only. This means if the leak is true, the release date would probably be Sunday, November 21st. Ironically the original Nintendo DS was released in North America on November 21st, 2004.

Unfortunately after calling several GameStop stores from NY to Hawaii we found that none of the stores we contacted had the system in their computers. So is this rumor untrue? Well, not necessarily...

US Retail Chain Creates In Store and Online 3DS Wait List

Many GameStop stores around the United States now have a contact list for people who want to be informed the second the 3DS is available for pre-order. They also have an online alert system posted on their site. Simply click THIS LINK to visit the site. You will be asked to provide your email address, and once the 3DS is available for pre-order you will be notified immediately. (Sort of like an email hotline.)

This development seems to imply that GameStop knows something about Nintendo's launch plans. Also, and much more importantly, when it comes to the retail front Nintendo has a very good reason to launch the 3DS this holiday season.

Launching the 3DS to Counter the Xbox Kinect and Sony Move

Nintendo's rivals have brought their own motion control gaming devices to the market. Releasing the 3DS now could utterly destroy the holiday market for both products. Consumers only have so many gaming dollars to spend at the holiday season. If the 3DS does release in November its sure to be the hottest item this Holiday Season. This would steal all the focus from Microsoft and Sony's new products, and more importantly, it would steal the gaming dollars of potential consumers. This is a very aggressive tactic for Nintendo, but if its true, it would certainly knock both MS and Sony out of the spotlight and out of the race.

IGN Publishes Rumored 3DS Hardware Specs

Just two days after we ran our original story IGN dropped a bomb on the internet. They claimed to know the Hardware Specs for the Nintendo 3DS, allegedly provided by an inside source. Now if this story is true the "leak" can be a legitimate leak from a trusted source or it can be a viral reveal, with the blessings of the Big N. But either way, IGN does have the connections to acquire this highly guarded information. And the response to this leak was explosive.

Here's what they have to say:

"IGN has learned that the Nintendo 3DS will pack not one, but two 266MHz ARM11 CPUs, along with a 133MHz GPU, 4MBs of dedicated VRAM, 64MBs of RAM, and 1.5GBs of flash storage. The information comes from persons familiar with the hardware who spoke to us under the condition of anonymity."

Japanese News Outlet Nikkei Claims 3DS Allows Software Install

Japanese News Outlet Nikkei has published a story claiming the 3DS will allow gamers to install their games from the original cartridge to the system's internal memory. This interesting rumor sheds new light on Nintendo's vision for the 3DS as the ultimate multimedia and gaming machine. It also gives the company a strong argument against those dastardly pirates who create Nintendo DS flash cards. Pirates have often claimed in defense of their illegal activities that flash cards provide a way to carry multiple games without lugging around multiple cartridges. This small advantage would be eliminated by this innovative new feature. It would also make the 3DS more like a gaming jukebox, with your favorite titles ready to go at a moments notice, all one one machine.

German Tabloid "BILD" Claims 3DS Coming To Japan November 11th, Elsewhere Later

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A German news paper called "BILD" has recently published an article claiming the 3DS will launch in Japan on November 11th. They also claimed the system would launch in Europe during the first quarter of 2011, with a price tag of 200 euros. (That's roughly $267 US.) A small list of possible launch games was mentioned in the piece, including Mario Kart, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS, and a new Professor Layton Title. The Euro release date is closer to Nintendo's original claims that the system would launch in March of 2011. The original Nintendo DS launched in Europe in March of 2005.

Now the question remains, is "BILD" a reliable source? Although the paper isn't exactly the "Wall Street Journal" its also not "The Enquirer." But it's occasionally racy subjects and somewhat sensationalist tone make it closer to a tabloid than a trusted news source.

UK Retailer GAME Says 3DS Coming to Europe in 2011

Just as this article was going to press a representative from GAME the leading video game retailer in the UK, stated "Nintendo is expected to release the handheld 3DS in Europe next year." This conventional thinking is consistent with Nintendo's original statement that the system would launch in early 2011. However, recent evidence seems to imply the 3DS might launch in Japan and the US in 2010, and in the UK and Europe during early 2011. This sort of staggered launch would be consistent with Nintendo's previous history. Also, in recent years the company has put greater focus on the American Market. The most obvious example would be releasing the Nintendo DS in America first. Ironically the DS wouldn't launch in Europe until March of the following Year. Could history repeat itself? It does seem likely at this point. 

Considering Nintendo's Past History

Nintendo has a history of releasing products in November. And also releasing their products on a Sunday. The Wii was released on November 19th, 2006. The original Nintendo DS was released in North America on November 21st. (Coincidentally the same date as the possible 3DS release date.) Could Nintendo's past history give us a clue to their future actions?

Anecdotal Evidence from The 2010 E3 Expo


Personally I can say that when I was at E3 I thought the case design for the 3DS looked awfully close to the final product. Plastic manufacturing is a very long and costly process. The 3DS looked polished and ready to go. And there were tons of units on the show floor. Also a few games seemed very close to being finished. This includes Steel Diver, Pilot Wings Resort and Kid Icarus (video link), the latter of which is probably a launch title.

Betting On Launch Titles: Rumored Nintendo 3DS Launch Games

When it comes to rumored launch titles a number of games have been mentioned around the web. The front runner of that group is obviously Kid Icarus. This long awaited fan favorite looked very close to completion at E3 2010. Games like Pilot Wings Resort and Paper Mario 3DS could also be strong contenders for launch titles, as well as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS. Other possible Nintendo launch titles include Mario Kart 3DS, Nintendogs & Cats, Animal Crossing 3DS, Star Fox 64 3D, and Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle. (editors note: These games could be launch games or they may release during the "launch window" period soon after the system launch.)

On the 3rd party front is Dead or Alive 3D, DJ Hero 3D, Ridge Racer 3D, and Samurai Warriors 3D. You can also bet EA will be ready with The Sims 3 and Ubi Soft will probably have Hollywood 61 and Battle of the Giants: Dinosaur Strike ready for launch. We might also see games from other companies like Sega and Capcom.

September 29th: Truth Revealed?

Nintendo is holding a press event on September 29th. Could this be when we finally learn the truth about the Nintendo 3DS launch date? Stay tuned and find out! (Click Here For Countdown Timer)

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About The Author:  E.Thomas is our fearless leader and our resident portable gaming fantatic. He owns literally dozens of portable game systems. If you catch him in line at the E3 Expo, he'll probably have a portable game system in his hands.