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New DS could "accelerate" other 3D gaming formats

UPDATE: Blitz CTO theorises 3DS could use 'parallax barrier' screens; "consumers want radical change"

Nintendo's plan to introduce a new handheld console with 3D capabilities can help accelerate the adoption of 3D gaming across the industry, according to Blitz Games' chief technical officer Andrew Oliver.

Blitz, which has already released the 3D title Invincible Tiger and is an advocate of 3D gaming, believes that Nintendo will use 'parallax barrier' screens for its new hardware, already in use in consumer electronics such as laptops and cameras.

"I'm fairly sure it would be based on the parallax barrier method, which is better than lenticular screens and has seen some great advancements recently," Oliver told GamesIndustry.biz. "It can also be turned off to give a perfect 2D screen as well. This screen already exists in the Fuju 3D camera and I have a 3D laptop from Sharp with this technology and it works very well for one viewer within a reasonable viewing area for a handheld."

"As a massive advocate of 3D, I'm definitely hoping that it will accelerate 3D adoption within other gaming systems," he continued. "When done properly 3D really adds a huge level of immersion to games. One of the problems facing its adoption is that some people are jaded about 3D, because it has had a history of being done badly. But when people see new carefully crafted 3D games, they will be convinced it's no fad - it's a fantastic jump into a new dimension."

The DS has been one of the most successful consoles to date with more than 125 million units sold in its various iterations. This new hardware, which Nintendo says will be a true successor to the current DS series, can offer a radical change for consumers, according to Oliver.

"I believe consumers want radical change," said Oliver. "Technology is always getting better and consumers are always demanding more.

"The current DS has had an incredibly good run and there are too many classic games to name. But after seven years since its launch I think its time for a radical upgrade. Touch screens were radical and new when the DS was launched, and are now mainstream. It looks like Nintendo could be ahead of the game again."

Oliver said he hopes that the hardware can offer a step up visually in terms of graphical performance.

"3D will literally add a new dimension to the DS. New movies such as Avatar have shown that 3D is very popular with consumers. The question is: will the new 3DS have new hardware to support the extra level of graphics that will be required to create good 3D visuals?

"If this is a whole new console, then it should be very exciting for publishers and developers," he added.

Nintendo unveiled plans for the 3DS today, with the promise of solid details at this year's E3 in June.

UPDATE: A report from Asahi in Japan also suggests that the 3DS will use parallax barrier technology, using 3D screens from Sharp. According to Engadget, the screens will be 4 inches diagonally, and the hardware will also feature improvements to WiFi transfers and battery life.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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