At $245 and with the much less expensive and wildly popular Nintendo DS (NTDOY.PK) and DSi hand-held consoles already on the market, the 3DS seemed like a tough sell. Thus far 3.6 million gamers -- or more than twice the number of consumers who bought 3-D televisions in the U.S. this year -- respectfully disagree.
A laundry list of such features as motion control, a front-facing 2-D camera, a rear-facing 3-D camera, 3-D videos, 3-D messaging, a virtual console full of old Game Boy games and backward-compatibility with all existing DS titles is nice, but trumped by the one element the 3DS doesn't have or need: 3-D glasses.
Its parallax barrier display wouldn't work so well on even a tablet-sized screen, but the DS's 3.5-inch 3-D screen is just small enough to give 3-D titles such as Street Fighter IV 3-D and Kid Icarus the dimension they deserve. At three to five hours for 3-D and Wi-Fi use, its battery life isn't great compared with the four- to 17-hour battery of the DSi it's replacing, but a ton of second-party support from game makers including Electronic Arts (ERTS), THQ (THQI), Konami, Capcom and Ubisoft as well as forthcoming 3-D movie titles from Warner Brothers (TWX), Disney (DIS) and Dreamworks (DWA) make it the ideal 3-D gadget for the 3-D averse.
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