The Nintendo 3DS (Japanese: ニンテンドー3DS Hepburn: Nintendō Surī Dī Esu?, abbreviated to 3DS) is a portable game console produced by Nintendo. It is an autostereoscopic device capable of projecting stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or additional accessories. Nintendo announced the device in March 2010 and officially unveiled it at E3 2010 on June 15, 2010. The console succeeds the Nintendo DS, featuring backward compatibility with older Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi video games, and competes with the Sony PlayStation Vita handheld console.
The Nintendo 3DS was first released on February 26, 2011. Less than six months later on July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced a significant price reduction from US$249 to US$169 amid disappointing launch sales. The company offered ten free Nintendo Entertainment System games and ten free Game Boy Advance games from the Nintendo eShop to consumers who bought the system at the original launch price. This strategy was considered a major success, and the console has gone on to become one of Nintendo’s most successfully sold handheld consoles in the first two years of its release.
A partially redesigned version of the console, the Nintendo 3DS XL, was released on July 28, 2012. It features screens that are 90% larger than the original Nintendo 3DS. A new edition of the console, entitled the Nintendo 2DS, was announced on August 28, 2013. While still playing 3DS and DS games, it is described as an “entry level” version of the 3DS that removes the 3D functionality, and changes the form factor to a fixed, “slate” design.
Nintendo began experimenting with 3D technology in the 1980s. The Famicom 3D System, an accessory consisting of liquid crystal shutter glasses, was Nintendo’s first product that enabled stereoscopic 3D effects. Although very few titles were released, Nintendo helped design one—called Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally—which was co-developed by Nintendo and HAL Laboratory and released in 1988. The Famicom 3D System failed to garner market interest and was never released outside of Japan.
Despite the limited success, Nintendo would press ahead with 3D development into the 1990s. Gunpei Yokoi, creator of the Game Boy handheld device and popular Metroid video game, developed a new 3D device for Nintendo called the Virtual Boy. It was a portable table-top system consisting of goggles and a controller that used a spinning disc to achieve full stereoscopic monochrome 3D. Released in 1995, Nintendo sold less than a million units of the Virtual Boy spawning only 22 compatible game titles, and was widely considered to be a commercial failure. Shigeru Miyamoto, known for his work on popular game franchises such as Mario and The Legend of Zelda, commented in a 2011 interview that he felt conflicted about Yokoi’s decision to use wire-frame models for 3D and suggested that the product may not have been marketed correctly. The failure of the Virtual Boy left many at Nintendo doubting the viability of 3D gaming. Despite this, Nintendo continued to investigate the incorporation of 3D technology into other products.
The Nintendo GameCube, released in 2001, was another 3D-capable system. With an LCD attachment, it could display true stereoscopic 3D, though only the launch title Luigi’s Mansion was ever designed to utilize it. Due to the expensive nature surrounding the technology at the time, the GameCube’s 3D functionality was never marketed to the public. Nintendo later experimented with a 3D LCD during development of the Game Boy Advance SP, but the idea was shelved after it failed to achieve satisfactory results. Another attempt was made in preparation for a virtual navigation guide to be used on the Nintendo DS at Shigureden, an interactive museum in Japan. Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi encouraged additional 3D research in an effort to use the technology in the exhibition. Although the project fell short, Nintendo was able to collect valuable research on liquid crystal which would later aid in the development of the Nintendo 3DS.
Speculation on the development of a successor to the Nintendo DS began to ramp up in late 2009. At the time, Nintendo controlled as much as 68.3 percent of the handheld gaming market. In October 2009, tech tabloid Bright Side of News reported that Nvidia, a graphics processing unit (GPU) developer that recently made headway with its Tegra System-on-Chip processors, had been selected by Nintendo to develop hardware for their next generation portable game console. Later that month, speaking about the future for Nintendo’s portable consoles, company president Satoru Iwata mentioned that while mobile broadband connectivity via subscription “doesn’t fit Nintendo customers”, he was interested in exploring options like Amazon’s Whispernet found on the Amazon Kindle which provides free wireless connectivity to its customers for the sole purpose of browsing and purchasing content from the Kindle Store.
Nintendo has expressed interest in motion-sensing capabilities since the development of the original Nintendo DS, and an alleged comment by Satoru Iwata from a 2010 interview with Asahi Shimbun implied that the successor to the Nintendo DS would incorporate a motion sensor. The claim led to a minor dispute between the publication and Nintendo over its accuracy. In February 2010, video gaming website Computer and Video Games reported that a select “handful” of Japanese developers were in possession of software development kits for the Nintendo DS successor, with The Pokémon Company given special priority. According to their insider at an unspecified third-party development studio, the hardware features a “tilt” function that is similar to that of the iPhone, “but does a lot more”.
The Nintendo 3DS E3 2010 unveiling involved an elaborate stage with moving set pieces.
On March 23, 2010, Nintendo officially announced the Nintendo 3DS handheld console, successor to the Nintendo DS family. According to industry analysts, the timing of Nintendo’s original announcement, which had drawn attention away from the launch of the company’s still-new Nintendo DSi XL handheld, was likely intended to preempt impending news leaks about the product by the Japanese press. In April 2010, a picture of a possible development build of the internal components of the 3DS was released as part of a U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing by Mitsumi. An analysis of the image showed that it was likely genuine as it featured components known to be used in the Nintendo DS line along with features of the 3DS that had not been announced like a 5:3 top screen, and a control nub similar to those used in Sony PSP systems.
In June 2010, video gaming website IGN reported that according to “several developers who have experienced 3DS in its current form”, the system possesses processing power that “far exceed[s] the Nintendo Wii” and with 3D shaders, they could make games that “look close to current generation visuals on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3”. They also cited “several developer sources” as saying that the system does not use the Nvidia Tegra mobile chipset.
The system was officially revealed at Nintendo’s conference at E3 2010 on June 15, 2010. The first game revealed was Kid Icarus: Uprising, with several other titles from third parties also announced, including Square Enix with Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy, Konami with Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D, Warner Bros. Interactive with a Batman title, Ubisoft with Assassin’s Creed: Lost Legacy, Capcom with Resident Evil Revelations and Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, and Activision with DJ Hero. Other Nintendo titles were later revealed after the conference, such as Mario Kart 7, Animal Crossing, and remakes of Star Fox 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Nintendo also demoed 3D trailers for DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon, Warner Bros’ Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, and Disney’s film Tangled on the 3DS. The 3DS design shown at E3 was almost final, but subject to minor changes.
On September 29, 2010, Nintendo of Japan announced the release date of the Nintendo 3DS in Japan to be on February 26, 2011. Furthermore, several additional features were announced: the inclusion of a Mii Maker (similar to the Mii Channel on the Wii), Virtual Console (including Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and “classic games” in 3D), a cradle for recharging the system’s battery, multitasking, several included augmented reality games, an included 2 GB SD card, and stored game data, as well as the final names for the 3DS tag modes, StreetPass and SpotPass collectively. The colors available at launch were revealed to be Aqua Blue and Cosmos Black, and the launch price in Japan was revealed to be ¥25,000. The final physical design was also revealed at this event.
On January 19, 2011, Nintendo held two simultaneous press conferences in Amsterdam and New York City, where they revealed all of the features of the Nintendo 3DS. In North America, the release date was confirmed as March 27, 2011 with a retail price of $249.99. In Europe, the release date was announced as March 25, 2011, though Nintendo said that pricing would be up to retailers. Most retailers have priced the handheld between £219.99 and £229.99, though some retailers, such as Amazon, lowered the price following Sony’s announcement of the PSP’s successor on January 26, 2011, with some retailers pricing the handheld at around £200 in February.
In February 2011, Nintendo held four hands-on events in the UK named “Believe Your Eyes”. February 5 and 6 saw simultaneous events in London and Manchester, while the 12th and 13th saw events in Glasgow and Bristol. Invitations to the events were offered first to Club Nintendo members, then later to members of the public via an online registration form. Guests watched two brief performances and trailers, then were given time to play a selection of games on 3DS devices. Attendees were then allowed into a second room, containing further games to play (mainly augmented reality-based) and in-device videos. In March, Nintendo held a few events in Australia at selected Westfield stores for people to try out the console, with a number of demos available.
Further information: List of Nintendo 3DS colors and styles
The Nintendo 3DS launched in Japan on February 26, 2011, priced at ¥25,000. On March 25, 2011, the system launched in Europe, with pricing set by individual retailers. On March 27, 2011 the Nintendo 3DS launched in North America, priced at US$249.99. On March 31, 2011, the system launched in Australia and New Zealand, priced at A$349.95. The system originally launched in all regions in both Aqua Blue and Cosmos Black color variations.
On July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced the Nintendo 3DS would be getting a price cut of almost a third of the console’s original price, from $249.99 to $169.99 in North America, 25,000¥ to 15,000¥ in Japan, and $349.95 to $249.95 in Australia. Although in Europe, pricing is up to retailers, the system also received a substantial price cut. In an effort to compensate those who had paid the original price, the company introduced the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program, through which existing 3DS owners were eligible to download ten Nintendo Entertainment System games and ten Game Boy Advance games at no extra cost. Nintendo further stated that the NES Ambassador titles would see future release to the general public on the Nintendo eShop, while there were no plans to make the Game Boy Advance Ambassador titles available. The ten NES games were released in North America on August 31 and in Europe on September 1, 2011. These include:Balloon Fight, Donkey Kong Jr., Ice Climber, Metroid, NES Open Tournament Golf, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Wrecking Crew, Yoshi (North America) / Mario & Yoshi (Europe & Australia), Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The ten Game Boy Advance games were released in North America on December 16, 2011. These include: F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Metroid Fusion, Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Wario Land 4, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ 
On April 28, 2012, the Nintendo 3DS launched in South Korea, in Cosmos Black, Misty Pink and Cobalt Blue color variations. On September 28, 2012, the system launched in two other regions, Hong Kong and Taiwan, in Cerulean Blue and Shimmer Pink.
The Nintendo 3DS XL, which comes with 90% larger screens than the original Nintendo 3DS, was released in Japan and Europe on July 28, 2012, in North America on August 19, 2012, and in Australia on August 23, 2012, coinciding with the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2. It includes a 4 GB SDHC card, unlike the regular Nintendo 3DS which included a smaller 2 GB SD card.
The Nintendo 2DS was announced on August 28, 2013 as an entry-level version of the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. It was released on October 12, 2013, in North America, Europe and Australia, coinciding with the release of Pokémon X and Y. The system removes the 3D functionality of the console (it’s still possible to take 3D photos and videos, although you have to export them to a 3DS in order to view them in 3D) and has changed from a clamshell design to a “slate-like” design. The system is targeted at a younger demographic than that of the regular Nintendo 3DS.
See also: Comparison of Nintendo portable consoles and List of Nintendo 3DS colors and styles
The Nintendo 3DS system has two separate screens. The top screen is a 3.53 in (90 mm) 15:9 (5:3) autostereoscopic (3D) LCD screen with a resolution of 800×240 pixels (400×240 pixels per eye, WQVGA) that is able to produce a three-dimensional effect without 3D glasses using a parallax barrier. There is a 3D Depth Slider next to the 3D screen which allows the user to adjust the intensity of the 3D effect. The bottom screen is a 3.02 in (77 mm) 4:3 2D resistive touchscreen with a resolution of 320×240 pixels (QVGA). The 3DS weighs approximately 230 grams (8.1 oz) and, when closed, is 134 mm (5.3 in) wide, 74 mm (2.9 in) broad, and 21 mm (0.83 in) thick.
The system features three camera sensors: two cameras on the outside of the device, capable of taking 3D photos and capturing 3D video; and one camera in the front side/inside of the device positioned above the top screen which faces the player, and is capable of taking 2D photos and capturing 2D video. These photos can be edited with various effects such as props, 3D depth and colors. All camera sensors have a maximum resolution of 640×480 pixels (0.3 megapixels, VGA) and can only achieve digital zoom. There is also a microphone in the bottom of the system.
The Nintendo 3DS system utilizes a custom components co-developed by Nintendo in conjunction with other manufacturers, all combined into a unified SOC. The main processor (CPU) is designed by ARM, and consists of a ARM11 MPCore-based dual-core processor manufactured at 45 nm. The graphics processor (GPU) is designed by Digital Media Professionals (DMP), and consists of a PICA200 processor. The system contains 128 MB of system memory consisting of two 64 MB (512 Mb) FCRAM chips developed by Fujitsu, with a maximum bandwidth of 3.2 GB/s, in which 32 MB are reserved for the operating system and unavailable to apps. The system also contains 6 MB of VRAM. The console also includes a two secondary custom processors that handle undisclosed tasks. These tasks are handled seamlessly in the background during gameplay or while the system is in sleep mode. The console also contains a dedicated hardware audio DSP module capable of outputting mono, stereo or pseudo-surround sound through its two speakers and headphone jack.
The system includes 1 GB of internal flash memory manufactured by Toshiba, but it’s mostly used by the operating system. The system’s memory can be expanded via an SD memory card slot, which supports up to 128 GB SDXC, up to 32 GB SDHC and up to 2 GB SD memory cards. All Nintendo 3DS systems include a 2 GB SD card while Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 2DS systems include a 4 GB SDHC card. The system uses 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g wireless network connectivity with enhanced security WPA2. There is also an infrared port on the back of the console, which allows the system to connect with certain peripherals such as the Circle Pad Pro.
The Nintendo 3DS comes with a changeable 1300 mAh lithium ion battery. Its longevity sits between 3 to 5 hours while playing Nintendo 3DS games and app, while achieving 5 to 8 hours while playing Nintendo DS games. The system’s width is at 134 mm (5.3 in), depth at 74 mm (2.9 in) and height at 21 mm (0.83 in), while weighing 235 grams (8.3 oz). It also come with a telescoping stylus, extendable up to 100 mm (3.9 in) long. Reports show that raw material costs for the Nintendo 3DS amount to US$101.
The Nintendo 3DS input controls feature the following buttons: a round nub analog input called the Circle Pad, a D-pad, a four face buttons (A, B, X, Y), bumper buttons (R/L), HOME button, START and SELECT buttons, and a POWER button. Through the Circle Pad Pro accessory the system has access to a second Circle Pad and trigger buttons (ZL/ZR). The Circle Pads are not restricted to 8-axis movement, a departure from previous Nintendo console controllers with analogue sticks. It also features a dedicated volume slider, which controls the controller’s speakers’ volume. The system comes with a stylus for interacting with the touch screen. There is also a six-axis motion sensor, which includes a 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope.
The Nintendo 3DS, DS and DSi game cards.
The Nintendo 3DS Game Card looks near-identical to its predecessor, the Nintendo DS Game Card. However, there is a small tab jutting out on the side of the card, preventing 3DS Game Cards from being inserted into a Nintendo DS. Nintendo 3DS Game Cards can hold up either 1 GB, 2 GB or 4 GB of game data depending on the game, which is 2, 4 and 8 times more storage than the biggest Nintendo DS Game Card could hold up (512 MB), respectively. However, various sources claim that an 8 GB version could be released if a game ever requires it.
Circle Pad Pro
The Circle Pad Pro is an accessory or add-on which connects to a Nintendo 3DS system adding it a second Circle Pad and extra set of trigger buttons (ZL/ZR). Pictures of the device first appeared in Famitsu, a Japanese gaming magazine. The device was first released in Japan as the Slide Pad Expansion on December 10, 2011, coinciding with the release of Monster Hunter 3G. It was subsequently released in the west as the Circle Pad Pro in Europe on January 27, 2012, in Australia on February 2, 2012, and in North America in February 7, 2012, coinciding with the release of Resident Evil: Revelations. A Nintendo 3DS XL version of the device, called the Circle Pad Pro XL, was also released in Japan on November 15, 2012, Europe on March 22, 2013, and North America on April 17, 2013. Other titles compatible with the add-on include Ace Combat 3D (Japanese version only), Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Dynasty Warriors VS, among others.
The Nintendo 3DS family has two other models available. The Nintendo 3DS XL is a larger model of the console which was released on July 28, 2012, and features 90% larger screens than the original Nintendo 3DS. The Nintendo 2DS is a complete redesign of the handheld which is released on October 12, 2013, and is described as an “entry level” version of the 3DS. The new console, while still capable of playing Nintendo DS and 3DS games, removes the 3D functionality and changes the form factor to a fixed, “slate” design.
Nintendo 3DS XL
Nintendo 3DS XL Nintendo 3DS XL logo.png
An open Silver + Black Nintendo 3DS XL system.
An open Silver + Black Nintendo 3DS XL system.
July 28, 2012[show]
Units shipped Worldwide: 10.66 million (as of September 30, 2013)
Power 1750 mAh lithium-ion battery
3DS games: 3.5 to 6.5 hours
DS games: 6 to 10 hours
Sleep Mode: 3 days
Storage capacity Included 4 GB SD card
1 GB internal flash memory
Display Upper: 4.88″ Autostereoscopic (3D) LCD @ 800 × 240 px (400 × 240 WQVGA per eye)
Lower: 4.18″ resistive touchscreen LCD @ 320 × 240 QVGA
Dimensions Width: 15.6 cm (6.1 in)
Height: 9.3 cm (3.7 in)
Depth: 2.2 cm (0.87 in)
Weight 336 grams (11.9 oz)
Predecessor Nintendo DS series
Nintendo 3DS (concurrent)
Successor Nintendo 2DS (concurrent)
The Nintendo 3DS XL (ニンテンドー3DS LL Nintendō Surī Dī Esu Eru Eru?, abbreviated to 3DS XL) is the first Nintendo 3DS portable game console revision produced by Nintendo. As with the transition from the Nintendo DSi to the Nintendo DSi XL, the 3DS XL features larger screens, longer battery life, and a greater overall size than the original Nintendo 3DS. The Nintendo 3DS XL is intended to complement the original 3DS, not replace it, as both models remain in production. When in its open position, the Nintendo 3DS XL is the longest, widest and heaviest Nintendo 3DS model.
The system features 90% larger screens which offer an improved viewing angle, in both 2D and 3D. The top screen is a 4.88 in (124 mm) Autostereoscopic (3D) LCD, while the bottom one is a 4.18 in (106 mm) LCD touchscreen. However, both screens still preserve the same resolution as the smaller model. Its 1750 mAh lithium-ion battery has improved battery life over the 3DS on all brightness settings; it lasts 3.5 to 6.5 hours compared to the previous 3 to 5 hours playing 3DS games and 6 to 10 hours compared to the previous 5 to 8 hours playing original DS games. The console’s weight has also been increased over the 3DS; from 235 grams to 336 grams. The handheld is outfitted with identical speakers contained in larger speaker enclosures. However, the speakers are not any louder than the standard 3DS model. The hinges now stop the screen at 120° in addition to the original 3DS’s position of 155° to allow easier table-top viewing. The 3DS XL includes a longer stylus and, unlike the 3DS, is not telescoping. All Nintendo 3DS XL systems come bundled with a 4 GB SDHC card instead of the 2 GB SD card included with the standard Nintendo 3DS. The 3DS XL has a matte surface.
In order to reduce production costs, Nintendo does not include an AC Adapter with the Japanese and European versions. However, an AC Adapter was included with the North American, Australian, and Korean releases. A Nintendo DSi, DSi XL or 3DS AC Adapter (Model Code: WAP-002) is compatible with the 3DS XL, and will also be available for purchase separately or in a bundle with a 3DS XL Charging Cradle.
Rumors of a larger model of the Nintendo 3DS being in production appeared during June 2012, when Japanese publication Nikkei wrote an article stating that the system was initially scheduled to be unveiled at E3 2012. However, Nintendo responded that these rumors were false and that the article was “entire speculation”, but refrained from further commenting on the subject. Finally, on June 21, 2012, the system was announced during a Nintendo Direct presentation, and was set to launch on all major regions during the middle of the year.
The Nintendo 3DS XL launched in Japan on July 28, 2012, priced at ¥18,900, and was available in Silver + Black, Red + Black and White color variations. In Europe, the system launched on the same day but in Silver + Black, Blue + Black and Red + Black color variations. On August 25, the Nintendo 3DS XL launched in North America, priced at US$199.99, and available in Red + Black and Blue + Black. On August 23, 2012, Australia and New Zealand saw the launch of the new handheld, priced at A$249.95, and available in the same color variations as in Europe, Silver + Black, Blue + Black and Red + Black. The launch of the Nintendo 3DS XL coincided with the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2.
On September 20, 2012, the Nintendo 3DS XL launched in South Korea, in Silver + Black, Red + Black and White color variations. On September 28, 2012 the system launched in two other regions, Hong Kong and Taiwan, in Blue + Black and White color variations. In December 2012, Nintendo Chinese distribution partner, iQue, launched the iQue 3DS XL in three special editions, one featuring a Mario decal while the other two feature both Mario and Luigi.
Main article: Nintendo 2DS
The Nintendo 2DS was announced on August 28, 2013, as a new “entry-level” variant of the Nintendo 3DS family. While its hardware and software are relatively similar to the Nintendo 3DS (and still offers compatibility with Nintendo DS and 3DS games), it lacks the 3DS’s signature 3D screen, does not have internal stereo speakers (only using a mono speaker), and uses a slate form factor as opposed to the clamshell design used by the Nintendo DS and 3DS. The Nintendo 2DS was released in North America and Europe on October 12, 2013, sold alongside the Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL at a relatively lower price point.
As a cheaper model of the Nintendo 3DS family, that still plays Nintendo DS and 3DS games, the Nintendo 2DS is seen as a market strategy to broaden the overall Nintendo handheld gaming market. As such, the 2DS is seen as a handheld console targeted at different audience than that of the regular Nintendo 3DS models, particularly younger users. Despite concerns from critics who felt that the company was trying to de-emphasize the 3D functionality by releasing the 2DS, Nintendo maintains that 3D is still part of their future plans.
Main article: Nintendo 3DS system software
The Nintendo 3DS Home Menu. The upper screen displays a 3D animated logo for each individual app, while on the bottom screen displays application icons.
The Home Menu (stylized as HOME Menu) is a GUI similar to the Wii U Menu and DSi Menu for Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 2DS systems which is used to launch software stored on Nintendo DS or Nintendo 3DS game cards, applications installed on a SD card and DSiWare titles installed in the system’s internal memory. The menu can display up to 120 application tiles. Icons are set in a grid navigable with the touchscreen or D-pad, and may be re-arranged via drag-and-drop. The amount of icons per column can also be changed, from 1 icon up to 6. It is also possible to change the screen’s brightness in the menu. On the upper screen, a special 3D animated logo is displayed for each individual app, as well as system information such as wireless signal strength, date and time, and battery life, while on the bottom screen, application icons are displayed. Like the DSi, the menu has upgradeable firmware. Game cards can also be hot-swapped while in the menu. The power button can either prompt the console to enter into sleep mode, or shut it down.
On April 25, 2012, a system update brought the introduction of a folder system. Up to 60 folders can be created. Applications can be dragged on top of a folder in order to move it, and from then on, more apps can be added to the folder using the same procedure, up to 60 apps per folder. A title for the folder is automatically created in order of creation (from “1” to “60”), but the name can also be edited by the user. Only the first character of the title will be displayed on the folder’s icon. When apps inside folders receive StreetPass or SpotPass notifications, a notification icon will appear on top of the folder. Folders can’t be put into other folders.
On June 20, 2013, a system update brought the introduction of the Save Data Backup feature. This feature allows the user to back up save data from downloadable Nintendo 3DS software and most Virtual Console games. Creating a backup of save data allows users to delete software from the SD card without losing save data. The backup created will then be automatically restored when the user re-downloads software from the Nintendo eShop. A total of 30 save data backups can be stored at a time. It is not possible to back up save data from retail versions of Nintendo 3DS software, DSiWare, and GameBoy Advance software.
Nintendo 3DS Camera (ニンテンドー3DSカメラ Nintendō Surī Dī Esu Kamera?) is a built-in photo and video recorder with a media gallery and photo editing functionality. The app uses the system’s two front facing cameras to take 3D photos, and the user-facing camera to take regular 2D photos. All photographs using the three cameras are taken at a resolution of 640 x 480 px, or 0.3 megapixels. The user can set the camera to take a photo after a certain period of time. Timers can be set to take a photo 3 or 10 seconds after pressing the Take button, or by means of voice activation by saying “OK!” once the user wishes for the photo be taken.
There are various options available when taking photos with the app. The Normal mode takes normal photos, while the Low-Light option is useful when taking photos in dark lighting conditions. There are also real-time photo filters including Sparkle, which adds moving stars to the photo, Dream, which adds a dream-like bright light to the photo, Pinhole, which lightens the center of the screen and darkens the edges and Mystery, which adds a random finish to the photo. Special options include Merge, which takes a photo of the user from the inner camera and merges the photo from someone facing the outer camera, and Graffiti, which allows the user to draw on the photo and add various graphics. Other options include manual controls such as the color type (normal, black and white, sepia, negative or solarize), nitidez, contrast and brightness.
On December 7, 2011, a system update added the ability to record 3D video along four recording options: Interval Shot, Frame Pick, Montage and regular video recording. Interval Shot allows sequences of images to be recorded in short-timed intervals to create time-lapse photography; Frame Pick edits still images together to create stop motion animation; and Montage let’s the user pause and resume recording seamlessly. However, all recording modes only allow a single video to be up to 10 minutes long.
The Nintendo 3DS Image Share service allows users to post screenshots from select Nintendo 3DS games, such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf. After the screenshot has been taken, the user can then share it directly on social networking websites such as Twitter, Tumblr and/or Facebook, on an account has been logged-on. It is also possible to attach comments and tags to uploaded photos.
Nintendo 3DS Sound (ニンテンドー3DSサウンド Nintendō Surī Dī Esu Saundo?) is a built-in sound player with voice recording and music playback functionality. Music can be played from an SD card with visualizations displayed on the upper screen. Supported filename extensions include MP3 audio with .mp3 and AAC audio with .mp4, .m4a, or .3GP. Sounds like drum beats and the classic Mario jumping noises can be added with button presses. A set of music manipulation options are also available, as well as a group of audio filters. Using headphones, music can be played when the case is closed. Ten-second voice recordings can be also be recorded and further edited with audio filters and manipulated through pitch and playback. Recording and playing sounds also have its own set of manipulation options similar to those used for music playback, as well as a group of audio filters. Users may save and modify up to 18 of these in the consoles memory and 180 on an SD card. These can then be shared throughout other applications such as Swapnote.
There is also a StreetPass function built-into the app. When the user StreetPass’s someone who also has StreetPass enabled, both users exchange song data such as the song’s name, artist, album, release year, and how many times it has been played. There is also a compatibility chart between the users involved. Depending the amount of matching songs from both users a score will be displayed, ranging from 0 to 100%, with the latter being the most compatible.
The Nintendo 3DS is capable of opening up to two applications simultaneously. Once a Nintendo 3DS game or application is running, the user can press the Home button to suspend it and temporarily open the Home Menu. The user can then open another specially designed multitasking application built into the system without closing the currently suspended software. These multitasking applications include:
List of Nintendo 3DS multitasking applications Name Details
Game Notes Users can write and save notes. Screenshots of both the top and bottom screens of the current suspended software are also present to aid the user.
Friend List A list of all Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 2DS registered friends. A brief status update is shown for each friend, as well as current/favorite app and online status. Users can add up to 100 friends by exchanging friend codes, which can also be viewed here.
Notifications When the system receives a notification notifications the top LED light will flash either blue or green, depending if it is a SpotPass or StreetPass notification, respectively. If a user touches a received notification, a detailed text of the occurrence will appear. The application that sent the notification can also be opened. When an app sends a notification whilst closed, a blue/green badge will appear on its icon. Opening the app clears the badge.
Internet Browser A proprietary internet browser.
Camera A lightweight version of Nintendo 3DS Camera with most features omitted. QR codes can be read by the camera. It is accessed by holding the L or R button.
Software and services
Main article: Nintendo eShop
Nintendo eShop is Nintendo 3DS’s online distribution store. The eShop provides download-only Nintendo 3DS titles, retail titles, Virtual Console titles, and various others applications and video. It also allows users to purchase downloadable content (DLC) and automatically download patches for both physical and downloadable games. All content obtained from the Nintendo 3DS’s eShop is attached to the system, and can be transferred to another Nintendo 3DS system. Background downloading is possible via SpotPass while the system is in sleep mode. Ten downloads can be queued up at a time and their status can be checked on the Home Menu. If notifications are activated, a pop-up message will appear on the lower center of the top screen to notify the user that a download is finished.
The eShop also supports simple user reviews of games, applications and other media. Users can submit a software review with “stars” ranging from one to five, representing its quality in a crescent order. It is also possible to categorize apps by age and gender and as suitable for hardcore or more casual players. However, user reviews can only be submitted after using the software for at least one hour.
Main article: Miiverse
Miiverse, portmanteau of “Mii” and “Universe”, is an integrated communication system or social networking service, which allows players to interact and share their experiences through their own Miis. Miiverse allows users to seamlessly share accomplishments, comments, hand written notes, and game screenshots with other users. Select games are integrated with Miiverse, where social interactions can also occur within the game. Miiverse is moderated through software filtering as well as a human resource team in order to ensure that the content shared by users is appropriate and that no spoilers are shared. In order to facilitate this, it was stated that comments posted could take up to 30 minutes to appear on Miiverse.
Miiverse originally launched with Wii U. On April 25, 2013, Miiverse became available on every internet enabled smartphone, tablet and PC devices. It will also become available on the Nintendo 3DS later in the year.
Main article: Internet Browser (Nintendo 3DS)
The Nintendo 3DS Internet Browser was released via a firmware update on June 6, 2011 in North America and June 7, 2011 in Europe and Japan. The browser functions as a multitasking app on the Nintendo 3DS system and can be used while another application is suspended in the background. The browser is mainly controlled with the stylus but can be controlled with the Circle Pad or the D-pad to cycle through links on the page. There is a text wrap option to automatically wrap text to the width of the screen at different zoom levels. The user can choose between Google and the Yahoo! search engine, and can also create bookmarks.
Nintendo Video launched in Australia, Europe, and Japan on July 13, 2011, and in North America on July 21, 2011, along with a tutorial video. The service periodically updates its video content availability through SpotPass, automatically adding and deleting content from the console. Up to 4 videos can be available through the app at the same time. Nintendo Video content include: established series such as Oscar’s Oasis and Shaun the Sheep (with fifteen exclusive episodes) by Aardman Animations; original series such as Dinosaur Office and BearShark by CollegeHumor, and Threediots; short films such as Sunday Jog and Meat or Die; movie trailers including Captain America: The First Avenger and Green Lantern; and sports videos by Redbull and BSkyB. Most Nintendo Video content is available in 3D and available for permanent download in the Nintendo eShop for a fee.
The Netflix streaming video service was released in North America on July 14, 2011. Netflix users are able to pause streaming video on the Nintendo 3DS and resume it on other Netflix-enabled devices. Only 2D content is available through the service. Nintendo announced on October 21, 2011, that Hulu Plus would be released on the Nintendo 3DS by the end of the year. On February 16, 2012, following the debut of Hulu on the Wii, Nintendo reiterated the announcement this time claiming it would be available on the 3DS sometime in 2012. Finally, on August 6, 2013, the Hulu application became available in Japan and on October 17, 2013, the Hulu Plus application was launched in North America, along with a one week free trial.
The SpotPass TV service launched in Japan on June 19, 2011. The service was a joint service between Nihon TV and Fuji TV that brought free 3D video content to Nintendo 3DS users in Japan. Types of content included programming teaching the user how to do magic tricks, Japanese idol sumo wrestling, sports, 3D dating, among others. The service was terminated on June 20, 2012, a year after its inception. An Eurosport app launched in Europe and Australia on December 15, 2011, and worked similarly to the Nintendo Video app. It featured weekly episodes of Watts Zap and other compilation videos containing Eurosport content. The service was terminated on December 31, 2012, a year after its inception.
Swapnote/Nintendo Letter Box
Nintendo Letter Box logo
Swapnote, known as Nintendo Letter Box in PAL regions and Itsu no Mani Kōkan Nikki in Japan, is a messaging application for the Nintendo 3DS. Swapnote was released on December 22, 2011 in Europe, Australia and North America via the Nintendo eShop, and can be downloaded at no additional cost, and is pre-installed on newer systems. This application allows users to send hand-written/drawn messages to registered friends via SpotPass either or other users via StreetPass. The app also allows users to freely embed pictures and sounds into their messages, and it also lets users change the position and the orientation of the picture and sound icons. Features are unlocked as players continue to send letters, such as the ability to hand-write/draw 3D messages, with additional stationary and features unlocked by spending Play Coins. Messages sent and received can also be saved indefinitely, in spite of the 3000 message limit. Additional stationary can be obtained via certain Nintendo related events, such as using specific software, or by saving them from other people’s messages.
Despite being a successor to PictoChat, Swapnote’s messaging model is not based on the standard instant messaging model as PictoChat has always been, as the application lacks in instant messaging features such as keyboard functionality, chat rooms, and live-continuous messaging.
On July 5, 2012, Nintendo updated the Swapnote application to feature six different colors of ink, with only one color being available per message. On April 11, 2013, Nintendo updated Swapnote yet again, this time bringing even more new features, including the ability to take photos or record audio directly through the application, as well as the ability to undo drawings, and use different colors on each page of a message.
On October 31, 2013, Nintendo abruptly suspended the Swapnote/Nintendo Letter Box SpotPass functionality after discovering minors were sharing Friend Codes with strangers who had exploited the messaging service to allegedly exchange pornographic imagery. Additionally, the Special Notes service, which were also sent via SpotPass to promote Nintendo games, has also been suspended. Nintendo issued an apology to those who had been using the application in a responsible manner.
Mii characters are available on Nintendo 3DS. The Mii Maker application allows users create Miis through either a selection of facial and body features, such as the nose, mouth, eyes, hair, among other, or by taking a photo using the system’s cameras and auto-generate a personal Mii. Miis can also be added and shared by reading special QR codes with one of the cameras. It is also possible to import Miis from a Wii or a Wii U system. However, Mii created on Nintendo 3DS systems cannot be exported back to a Wii due to the addition of character parts in Mii Maker not present on the Wii’s Mii Channel. This restriction, however, is not applied when exporting a Mii from a Nintendo 3DS to a Wii U system.
Activity Log (思い出きろく帳 Omoide Kirokuchō?, lit. “Memory Logbook”) is a system application that tracks game-play and keeps a record of which games have been played and for how long, as well as physical activity, such as counting every step taken while carrying a Nintendo 3DS using its built in pedometer. The feature encourages walking every day with the system in order to earn Play Coins, at a maximum of 10 each day at a rate of one per 100 steps, to a total of 300 coins. Play Coins can then be used with compatible games and applications to acquire special content and a variety of other benefits.
Main article: Nintendo Network
Nintendo Network is Nintendo’s unified network infrastructure similar to the Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live, and succeeds the previous Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. The Nintendo 3DS is the first system to support Nintendo’s new network infrastructure. Nintendo outlined that the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection was created as a way for developers to experiment with their own network infrastructures and concepts, whereas the Nintendo Network is a fully unified network service. Nintendo Network provides the means for online multiplayer and other online interactions such as leaderboards and communication, as well as downloads and streaming media services.
The Nintendo 3DS uses a Friend Code system much like the original Wii to connect to the network, with the exception that only one code necessary for each console, as opposed to the Nintendo DS and Wii where individual Friend Codes were required for each piece of software. This makes it much easier and more flexible for players to play with each other over the internet. Despite this, access to Nintendo Network ID accounts remains absent from the Nintendo 3DS system and exclusive to the Wii U. The Nintendo Network administration team also has administrators to remove inappropriate content from its services, such as Miiverse.
SpotPass is an “always on” background network connectivity system which can automatically seek and connect to wireless network nodes such as Wi-Fi hotspots, sending and downloading information in the background while in sleep mode or playing a game. SpotPass also makes uses of certified hotspots with partners such as AT&T in North America and The Cloud in the United Kingdom. Users are able to connect to these hotspots automatically and free of charge. Content that can be downloaded via SpotPass include full game and application downloads, firmware updates, patches, and specific in-game content. It can be customized to fit the user’s preferences, including opting it out altogether for selected software. An application similar to an e-book reader is being considered to use this functionality to “automatically acquire magazine and newspaper articles”.
The Nintendo Zone logo and app icon.
Nintendo Zone (ニンテンドーゾーン Nintendō Zōn?) is a built-in application that detects and makes use of certified SpotPass hotspots. When a hotspot is detected, a notification will appear in the system’s Home Menu. In this application, users can see game trailers, game screenshots, download game demos and view information about current and upcoming Nintendo 3DS titles. After the player leaves the hotspot the app remains on their Nintendo 3DS system, although no content can be accessed.
[show]Certified Nintendo Zone Wi-Fi hotspot providers with free access to Nintendo 3DS users
StreetPass is a Nintendo 3DS functionality which allows the exchange of software content between Nintendo 3DS systems held by users in close proximity. Using the console’s background connectivity in sleep mode, a Nintendo 3DS can automatically discover other Nintendo 3DS systems within range, establish a connection, and exchange content for mutually played games, all transparently and without requiring any user input. For example, in Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, if the user passes by someone with the same software, they will initiate a battle to collect trophies from each other. Each application’s StreetPass content is stored in one of twelve “data slots” in the console. Using this data slot, Nintendo 3DS users can readily share and exchange content for multiple games at the same time whenever they are connected, regardless of what game card is currently in the console.
On August 5, 2013, a system update brought a new feature called StreetPass Relay. This new feature allows users to exchange StreetPass data when passing by a certified Nintendo Zone hotspot with the last Nintendo 3DS user to pass by that same hotspot, if he or she too had StreetPass enabled. In the United States, there are over 29,000 Street Pass Relay Points, while Europe is set to see approximately 30,000. A day later, the feature also became available in Japan.
StreetPass Mii Plaza
Main article: StreetPass Mii Plaza
StreetPass Mii Plaza is a StreetPass application which comes pre-installed on every Nintendo 3DS system. In it, players meet other players’ Miis over StreetPass and online through Nintendo Network, and interact with them. In this application, the player’s Mii can be customized with hats earned from minigames, along with a short customizable message and other information. When new Miis are encountered by the system, they will appear at the plaza gate. The player can then use them to play various minigames before encountering more Miis. Meeting the same Miis multiple times adds extra functionality, such as personalized messages and the ability to rate them. The applications comes with three minigames, while further minigames can be purchased optionally.
Further information: List of Nintendo 3DS games and List of best-selling Nintendo 3DS games
An opened Nintendo 3DS Game Card case, without its paper cover and instructions. The eco-friendly design uses less plastic, reducing manufacturing waste. Some covers use the holes as a design element.
Retail copies of games are supplied on proprietary cartridges called Nintendo 3DS Game Cards, which are packaged in keep cases with simple instructions. In Europe, the boxes have a triangle at the bottom corner of the paper sleeve-insert side. The triangle is color-coded to identify the region for which the title is intended and which manual languages are included. Unlike with previous Nintendo consoles, the complete software manual is only available digitally via the system’s Home Menu. Retail and download-only games are also available for download in the Nintendo eShop. The console is region locked (software purchased in a region can be only played on that region’s hardware).
New games in Nintendo’s flagship franchises (including Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon) have been released, in addition to many original titles and third-party-developed games. Nintendo has received third-party support from companies such as Ubisoft, Sega, Square Enix, Activision Blizzard and Capcom. Nintendo and Sega also launched the 3D Classics series, a selection of enhanced retro games for the Nintendo 3DS featuring updated stereoscopic graphics.
A total of 122.42 million Nintendo 3DS games have been sold worldwide as of September 30, 2013, with 17 titles surpassing the million-unit mark. The most successful game, Super Mario 3D Land, has sold approximately 8.29 million units worldwide. Other notable best-selling Nintendo 3DS software titles include Mario Kart 7 with 8.08 million units sold, New Super Mario Bros. 2 with 6.42 million units sold, Animal Crossing: New Leaf with 3.86 million units sold, Nintendogs + Cats with 3.28 million units sold, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D with 2.95 million units sold, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon with 2.65 million units sold, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate with 2.10 million units sold.
The Nintendo 3DS launched in Japan with 8 games, in North America with 15 games and in Europe with 14 games. An additional thirty games were announced to release during the system’s “launch-window”, which includes the three months after the system’s launch. Nintendo 3DS titles cost at most US$45 at major US retail stores.
NA North America
List of Nintendo 3DS launch titles by region released Launch title Region(s) released on launch day Launch title Region(s) released on launch day
Asphalt 3D NA EU AUS Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D JP NA EU AUS
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars NA EU AUS Madden NFL Football NA
Nintendogs + Cats JP NA EU AUS Pilotwings Resort NA EU
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D JP NA EU AUS Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask JP
Puzzle Bobble 3D JP NA Rayman 3D NA EU AUS
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D NA Ridge Racer 3D JP NA EU AUS
Samurai Warriors: Chronicles JP EU Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars EU AUS
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D EU AUS Steel Diver NA
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition JP NA EU AUS Super Monkey Ball 3D NA EU AUS
The Sims 3 NA EU AUS
An augmented reality tech demo called Target Shooting, as seen at E3 2010.
AR Games is a compilation of several augmented reality mini-games, which is pre-installed on every Nintendo 3DS, along with 6 paper cards that interact with the games. Five of the six cards have a picture of a character on them, consisting of Mario, Link, Kirby, Pikmin, and Samus. The sixth one is a question mark box stylized after the ones from the Super Mario Bros. series. By scanning the cards, real time graphics are augmented onto live footage. Nintendo has also published downloadable versions of the Question Block AR Card in larger sizes. There are various mini-games, ranging from actual playable games to simple tools to use just for fun. The game starts with Archery initially available. Other levels and games can be further unlocked including AR Shot and Fishing, along with a Fishing Journal. There are also various tools such as Graffiti, Globe, Clock and 3D Tools in which the player can alter the area around the “?” AR Card with the stylus, creating pits, mountains, etc. The player can also take 3D photos of their favorite Nintendo characters, using any to all 6 AR Cards, as well as with their Miis, changing their position and pose,s and take pictures.
Some AR cards are also compatible with other Nintendo 3DS games including Nintendogs + Cats, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Pokédex 3D Pro, Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive! and Tetris: Axis.
Face Raiders is another augmented reality application pre-installed on every Nintendo 3DS system. In order to start playing, the user must take pictures of peoples’ faces. These faces then turn into enemies and attack the player, who must shoot them using the system’s gyroscope. The background of the game is the rear camera’s viewpoint. As people walk by in the background, the game takes their pictures from their faces, also adding them as enemies. The player can also collect bonus faces from the system’s image gallery, scanning each image in search of face. Each bonus face adds points to the player’s score at the end of its stage. The user score is then recorded on a local leaderboard.
There are other Nintendo 3DS applications that similarly use the system’s AR capabilities, such as Pokémon Dream Radar and Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir.
Download Play (ダウンロードプレイ Daunrōdo Purei?) allows users to play local multiplayer games with other Nintendo 3DS systems using only one Game Card. Players must have their systems within wireless range (up to approximately 65 feet) of each other for the guest system to download the necessary data from the host system. Download Play on Nintendo 3DS systems is also backwards compatible, meaning that it is also available for Nintendo DS games. Unlike Download Play on Nintendo DS, game data, once downloaded to the guest system, is stored on the system’s SD card, no longer requiring a re-download for a future game session.
Multi-card play, like Download Play, allows users to play multiplayer games with other Nintendo 3DS systems. However, in this case, each system requires a Game Card. This mode is only accessed via an in-game menu, rather than the normal Download Play menu.
Main article: Virtual Console
The Virtual Console service allows Nintendo 3DS owners to download and play games originally released for the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Sega Game Gear and Nintendo Entertainment System. Virtual Console games are distributed over broadband Internet via the Nintendo eShop, and are saved to a removable SD card. Once downloaded, Virtual Console games can be accessed from the Home Menu as individual apps. The service was launched on June 6 in North America and June 7, 2011 in Japan and Europe as part of a system update.
See also: List of Nintendo DS games and List of DSiWare games and applications
In addition to its own software, the Nintendo 3DS is backward compatible with most Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi software. Like the DSi, the Nintendo 3DS is incompatible with DS software that requires the use of the Game Boy Advance port. Nintendo DS and DSi software cannot be played with 3D visuals on the 3DS. The original DS display resolutions are displayed in a scaled and stretched fashion due to the increased resolution of the 3DS’s screens. However, if the user holds down the START or SELECT buttons upon launching Nintendo DS software, the emulated screens will be displayed in Nintendo DS’s native resolution, albeit smaller with black borders. However, on the Nintendo 3DS XL, this method yields a viewing size for DS games similar to their native sizes, unlike on the original 3DS models, where the games appear to be shrunk.
[icon] This section requires expansion. (September 2013)
The Nintendo 3DS hardware received very positive reviews. IGN called its hardware design a “natural evolution of the Nintendo DSi system.” CNET praised the device’s 3D effect, while IGN called it “impressively sharp and clean”, and impressively superior to its predecessors, although it was noted that the 3D effect only worked if the system was held at the right distance and angle. A common complaint was the 3DS’s battery life; Engadget reported to get 3 hours of battery life from the system, while IGN reported 2 to 4.5 hours of play.
The Nintendo 3DS XL received mostly positive reviews and almost critical acclaim at launch. Reviewers generally recommended the console to new buyers of the Nintendo 3DS line, although not so much to current owners of a Nintendo 3DS. Kotaku mentioned it as “possibly the best portable gaming device ever…[and] a well-designed machine…” and that “it plays great games” while The Verge called it “the best portable gaming buy around right now.”
One common complain regarding the original Nintendo 3DS, its longevity, has been addressed with the Nintendo 3DS XL. Kotaku claimed that the Nintendo 3DS XL’s battery “lasts a cross-country flight.”
The Verge noted that the larger top screen makes more obvious problems with aliasing and low-resolution textures. It did, however, say that the 3D felt more immersive. “Where the 3DS felt like peering through a peephole into another world,” they said, “the XL is almost like stepping through a door.” On the other hand, Destructoid said the 3D effect on the XL was more subtle than on its predecessor.
The Verge spoke positively of the build quality and design choices, saying the console improved on the original. A Destructoid reviewer said the 3DS XL was easier to use than the regular Nintendo 3DS, mainly due to his large hands.
The Verge noted lowered sound quality from the original, the result of smaller speakers. Both The Verge and Gizmodo complained of low-quality cameras.
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This section is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (October 2013)
Life-to-date number of units shipped, in millions
(all models combined) Date Japan America Other Total Increase
2011-03-31 1.06 1.32 1.23 3.61 N/A
2011-06-30 1.27 1.43 1.63 4.32 19.7%
2011-09-30 2.13 2.13 2.42 6.68 54.6%
2011-12-31 4.66 5.47 4.91 15.03 125.0%
2012-03-31 5.85 5.99 5.30 17.13 14.0%
2012-06-30 6.76 6.41 5.82 19.00 10.9%
2012-09-30 7.94 7.38 6.88 22.19 16.8%
2012-12-31 10.88 9.97 8.99 29.84 34.5%
2013-03-31 11.54 10.26 9.29 31.09 4.2%
2013-06-30 12.18 10.62 9.69 32.48 4.5%
2013-09-30 13.33 11.43 10.22 34.98 7.7%
As of September 30, 2013, Nintendo reports 34.98 million units have been sold worldwide.
Prior to its launch, Amazon UK announced that the Nintendo 3DS was their most pre-ordered video game system ever. Nintendo of America announced that the number of pre-orders were double the number of pre-orders for the Wii.
The system launched in Japan on February 26, 2011, and sold its entire allotment of 400,000 Nintendo 3DS units during its release in amid reports of major queues outside retailers and pre-order sellouts. During that week 119,591 copies of Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask were sold, making it the best-selling Nintendo 3DS launch title in Japan, and the third best-selling title from any system in that week.. On March 25, 2011, the system launched in Europe, selling 303,000 units during its first two days of its release. In the UK 113,000 3DS units were sold during its opening weekend, making it Nintendo’s most successful hardware launch in the country to this day. On March 25, 2011 the Nintendo 3DS launched in North America. Nintendo announced that first day sales for the Nintendo 3DS in the US were the largest of any Nintendo handheld device in history. According to the NPD Group, Nintendo sold just under 500,000 Nintendo 3DS units during the month of March 2011 in the US, with 440,000 Nintendo 3DS units sold in its first week of release. As of March 31, 2011 the 3DS had sold 3.61 million units, short of the 4 million Nintendo projected. The Nintendo 3DS is also the fastest selling console in Australia, with 200,000 units sold through 37 weeks of availability.
Following the system’s price cut of almost one third of its original price, sales saw an increase of more than 260 percent during the comparable 19-day time period in July. About 185,000 units were sold following a price cut on August 12. Nintendo sold more than 235,000 Nintendo 3DS systems in the United States in August, being the second best-selling dedicated game system for the month.
During the 2011 holiday season, the Nintendo 3DS sold approximately 1.6 million units in Japan. In addition, three Nintendo 3DS titles took the top three most sold games in Japan in 2011. Mario Kart 7 was in first place with 1.16 million units sold, followed by Super Mario 3D Land with 1.08 million units. The third place was taken by Monster Hunter 3G from Capcom, which sold 0.98 million units before the end of the year, though it has since become the third Nintendo 3DS title to sell over a million units.
On September 30, 2013, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced that the Nintendo 3DS had sold more then 5 million units in Japan during the year of 2013. This mark was only surpassed by its predecessor, the Nintendo DS.
Nintendo has publicly stated that the 3D mode of the Nintendo 3DS is not intended for use by children ages six and younger, citing possible harm to their vision. Nintendo suggests that younger players use the device’s 2D mode instead, although the American Optometric Association has assured parents that 3D gaming in moderation would not be harmful for children. Additionally, the 3DS may help in screening children before the age of 6 who have depth related vision problems according to Dr. Michael Duenas, associate director for health sciences and policy for the American Optometric Association, and Dr. Joe Ellis, the president of the optometrists’ association. However, Dr. David Hunter, a pediatric ophthalmologist affiliated with the American Academy of Ophthalmology believes that it is largely speculative whether a child who has problems perceiving depth in real life would react to a 3DS in any way that parents would recognize as indicating any problems with depth perception. Nintendo’s vague warning, that, “there is a possibility that 3-D images which send different images to the left and right eye could affect the development of vision in small children,” was not specifically backed up by any scientific evidence, leading Duenas to believe it is motivated by preventing possible liability rather than safeguarding against realistic harm.[
Nintendo has stated that a parental control involving a PIN will allow parents to disable autostereoscopic effects. Playing games in 3D has been suspected of causing headaches among some gamers. The dizziness experienced by some users may be explained similarly to the headaches that watchers of 3D movies have similarly experienced, which is believed to be due to confusion caused by a lack of visual cues that humans use to perceive depth in their everyday environment.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime partially cited these concerns as one of the influences of the Nintendo 2DS, an entry-level version of the Nintendo 3DS systems lacking 3D functionality.
In 2011, 58-year old former Sony employee Seijiro Tomita sued Nintendo for infringing a patent on the 3D screen that obviates the need for 3D glasses. On March 13, 2013, United States federal jury sentenced Nintendo to pay him US$ 30.2 million in damages. However, on August 7, 2013, that amount was reduced by 50% to US$ 15.1 million due to the fact that the initial figure was, according to federal judge Jed Rakoff, “intrinsically excessive” and “unsupported by the evidence presented at trial”. He added that when the suit was originally filed in 2011 the 3DS was not profitable. Nintendo decided to appeal for an overturn, but judge Rakoff has thrown out the plea.