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Nintendo 3DS (logo).svg
Nintendo 3DS.png
An aqua blue Nintendo 3DS.
Developer(s) Nintendo
Generation Eighth generation
Release Dates Japan: February 26, 2011

Europe: March 25, 2011
North America: March 27, 2011
Europe: March 31, 2011
Middle East: March 2011
Brazil: July 9, 2011
Korea: April 28, 2012

Units shipped Worldwide: 34.98 million (as of September 30, 2013) [1]
Media Physical and digital

Nintendo 3DS Game Card

Storage capacity Included 2 GB SD card

1 GB internal flash memory Cartridge save

Online services Nintendo Network
Best-selling game Super Mario 3D Land, 8.29 million units (as of March 31, 2013)[2]


Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Virtual Console
Predecessor Nintendo DS
Successor Nintendo 3DS XL (redesign)

Nintendo 2DS (redesign)

The Nintendo 3DS is a portable video game console released by Nintendo in 2011.

It is capable of projecting stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or any other additional accessories. 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 handheld offers new features such as the StreetPass and SpotPass tag modes, powered by Nintendo Network; augmented reality, using its 3D cameras; and Virtual Console, which allows owners to download and play games originally released on older video game systems. It is also pre-loaded with various applications including: an online distribution store called Nintendo eShop, a social networking service called Miiverse; an Internet Browser; the Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube streaming video services; Nintendo Video; a messaging application called Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in Europe and Australia); and Mii Maker.

A larger model of the console, the Nintendo 3DS XL, was released worldwide in August 2012. It features screens that are 90% larger than the original Nintendo 3DS. An "entry-level" version of the console, the Nintendo 2DS. While still playing Nintendo 3DS and DS games, it removes the 3D functionality, and changes the form factor to a fixed, "slate" design.

Release dates

Nintendo 3DS

  • Europe March 25, 2011
  • North America March 27, 2011
  • Europe March 31, 2011

Nintendo 3DS XL

  • Japan July 28, 2012
  • Europe July 28, 2012
  • Worldwide August 2012

Nintendo 2DS

  • Japan, Europe and North America October 12, 2013


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.[3]

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 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".

The system was officially revealed at Nintendo's conference at E3 2010 on June 15, 2010.

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 "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 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.[4] 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.[5][6] 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.[7]

Other models

Nintendo 3DS XL

The Nintendo 3DS XL.

Main article: Nintendo 3DS XL

The Nintendo 3DS XL (commonly 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.[8] The Nintendo 3DS XL launched in Japan and Europe on July 28, 2012, priced at ¥18,900 in Japan. On August 23, 2012, the system launched in Australia and New Zealand, priced at A$249.95, and on August 25, it was launched in North America, priced at US$199.99.[9][10]

Nintendo 2DS

The Nintendo 2DS

Main article: Nintendo 2DS

The Nintendo 2DS (commonly abbreviated to 2DS) was announced on August 28, 2013, as a new entry-level model 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-like form factor as opposed to the clamshell design used by its Nintendo DS and 3DS predecessors. The Nintendo 2DS was released in North America and Europe on October 12, 2013, and is being 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 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.[11]

See also


Nintendo 3DS (logo).svg

Predecessor: Nintendo DS
Successor: None

Nintendo 3DS XL - Nintendo 2DS - Nintendo 3DS Family
Other Hardware
SD Card - Game cartridge
Nintendo Network - Miiverse - Nintendo eShop - Swapnote (Nintendo Letter Box - Nintendo Postbox) - Nintendo Video - Nintendo Zone - Puzzle Swap - StreetPass Mii Plaza - StreetPass - SpotPass - Virtual Console
Pilotwings Resort - Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U - Tomodachi Life - Mario Kart 7