3DS-mock up: It´s a DSi

March 24, 2010

A lot of people are going nuts over Nintendo´s announcement of the Nintendo 3DS-handheld. Granted, I´m one of them. Currently, many enthusiasts are creating fancy mockups, but I believe that they get something fundamentally wrong. Of course, that is personal speculation at this point of time, but I seriously doubt that both screens of the 3DS will be 3D-enabled. Rather, the upper screen, that´s just to look at anyway, is capable of outputting a 3D-image, while the lower screen stays a touchscreen, maybe multi-touch enabled.

We also have to keep rumors from facts. GameCube-level graphics, smaller border between both screens and analog stick(s) are rumors. What´s part of the facts are 3D-capability, backwards-compatability, which confirms a touchscreen, and…that´s it. Personally, I doubt that Nintendo will pack the surface of its new handheld full of stuff. There won´t be two analog sticks, a d-pad and buttons. That´s too much. Rather, they´ll include an analog-enabled d-pad as well as analog face-buttons. A d-pad is simply more effective on a hanheld-device and a second stick isn´t necessary, because you can control a potential camera by drawing over the touchscreen. The upper screen is going to be the 3DS´s main attraction. It makes sense for only one screen to feature 3D. For one, You have no problems with touching into the 3D-image, therefore ruining the effect. And secondly, the 3D-technology relies on certain angles. Therefore, you can only concentrate on a single 3D-screen, as the other one would consequently be out of angle. That I made the upper screen 16:9 stems from the hope that Nintendo´s going to include proper video-playback and maybe even using NetFlix, preferably accompanied by James Cameron and his Avatar-movie. There would be no other device that´s naturally featuring 3D and it would make for a great marketing blitz.  As for the rest…the 3DS will look a lot like the DSi. There´s really no need to change the design, it´s aesthetically fine. So as long as Nintendo doesn´t give up the clamshell design, I´m not expecting too many design-changes. Here´s how I imagine the 3DS:

The only thing that goes against my beliefs of an upper widescreen is that it makes holding the DS on its side for reading weird. Some time ago I thought about how Nintendo could easily compete in the eBook-market against Amazon Kindle and Co., but I´d prefer two same-sized screens for that. We´ll see.