The Top 3 Misconceptions About the 3DS

Time to set the record straight.

EDITORIAL: Below is an editorial written by David Craig. This is his personal view point on the subject and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of or its other members of staff.

Looking around online, I see a lot of speculation and excitement surrounding the 3DS. And with good reason. It’s not every day that a successor is named to the best-selling gaming device of all time. However, I also notice a lot of misconceptions being thrown around as fact.

After the big North American press conference in a few days I’m sure a lot of these unfounded theories will be put to rest. But in the meantime, these are the top three offenders that I think need to be addressed.

1. The 3DS Will Cost $300

Ever since the announcement of the 3DS’s japanese price point (around 25,000 yen, or $300 USD), people here in the States have been griping. While some have started setting aside funds, others have denounced the system entirely, claiming it to be nothing more than an extravagant luxury.

Japanese prices are commonly higher than what they are here in America. Take the DS Lite, for example. It sold in Japan for 23,300 yen, which using today’s conversion rates would be $281 USD. The DS Lite retailed in America for $129.99. That’s a difference of at least $100.

Now while it’s certainly possible that the 3DS will cost more than the current price of a DSi, there is absolutely no reason to suggest that it would cost the same amount of money as a Playstation 3. No need to set up that trust fund just yet, kids.

2. 3D Will Change the Way We Play

Everyone can think of at least one example of how touch screen gaming innovated the industry on the DS. Kirby’s Canvas Curse, Drawn to Life, the list goes on and on. Now it seems many of us are expecting 3D to do the same. It won’t.

3D is simply an added bonus at best, or a gimmick at worst. You see games on the original DS were able to build their ideas or gameplay around the touch screen because it was a component that was utilized by everyone. If you didn’t like using it, many games gave you the option of using classic button controls. If you don’t have hands, how are you playing video games in the first place? The touch screen was an essential piece of the DS puzzle.

3D, on the other hand, is an entirely different beast. First of all, there are gamers out there that simply can’t view 3D images. This could be due to anything from an astigmatism to lazy eye. Secondly, Nintendo has been almost overbearing with the amount of warnings its issued about children damaging their eyesight by playing it (though most doctors say it should be safe, many parents probably won’t take that chance). And finally, there’s the third camp of people who simply don’t like 3D, think it’s unnecessary or headache-inducing, and don’t want to use that function.

For all of these reasons and more, the 3DS comes with the ability to turn 3D off completely. Therefore, games can’t use that functionality as an integral part of the experience. And really, how much can you do with 3D anyway? Have any of the recently released 3D movies changed the way you watch them? No, they’ve just been a way to charge more money per ticket.

I don’t mean to sound so cynical about it. I’m sure it will be very neat to watch the ships in Star Fox fly out at you. But don’t be tricked into thinking that that’s real innovation.

3. The 3DS’s Battery Will Only Last Three Hours

Feel free to leave the adapters at home, because with a few adjustments, the 3DS will be able to last just as long without dying as any portable game system you have now.

The recently announced 3-5 hour battery life is a conservative estimate if you have the screen as bright as it can go and the 3D effects on. The original DS’s battery life was estimated to be around 6 hours, but I think most people found it lasted much longer than that. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many people that play their DS Lite or DSi on the brightest setting consistently, and even on the second highest setting my DSi generally lasts me over 8 hours.

Now the 3DS does have some new wireless modes that could also suck up battery power, but even with those I doubt you’ll have to recharge your device every three hours. Not to mention you can almost certainly turn those wireless settings off during long car rides when there isn’t anyone else for the device to interact with.

As I said earlier, I’m sure some of these misconceptions will be laid to rest after the North American press conference, although others will probably require actual time with the device to discount. Either way, you still have a right to be excited about the 3DS. Personally, I know I’ll be picking one up on launch day. But let these silly, drama-inducing misbeliefs slide to the last page of the message boards, and let’s get the dialogue back on track.

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