Nintendo, in an unusual move, has warned parents not to buy their new hand-held 3D gaming device, Nintendo 3DS, for children below six years.

The gaming manufacturers believe that children at this age are still at the development stage and exposure to 3D imagery may damage their vision. Nintendo has always maintained that gamers of any age should take breaks from gameplay to prevent eye strain.

This move to warn off parents just before the launch of the new device at the Nintendo World 2011 in January in Japan seems to be an attempt to prevent any negative publicity and potential lawsuits.

In a recent interview to a gaming magazine at the E3 showcase in Los Angeles the Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, said, “You can’t sell over 120 million devices across the world by only focusing on a “kiddie” market. So, the Nintendo DS is a very broad machine, enjoyed by, yes, consumers who are seven years old, as well as consumers who are ninety-seven years old.

The way I would describe the market for the Nintendo 3DS would be the launch market that we had with the Nintendo DS plus the launch market that maybe PSP had. And the reason I frame it that way is we will attract all the Nintendo fans and all the Nintendo early adopters with products like Kid Icarus, and then we’ll incrementally add the consumer who loves Metal Gear, or the consumer who loves Resident Evil. That’s why in my view “DS plus” is a probably a better way to think about what the addressable market is.”

If their market is aimed at the older children and they are going to address consumers across the board then the warning seems to be a bit redundant.

The Nintendo 3DS will be launched in Japan, Europe and the U.S. by March 2011. The pricing has yet not been revealed but reviewers put it around $250 or 250,000 Japanese Yen.

The new device utilizes the stereoscopic 3D without the use of glasses through the use of a parallax barrier with an extended storage capacity, better graphics and the introduction of an analog stick to a Nintendo handheld. It'll be possible to move downloaded software between 3DS units. The Japanese version comes with a charge cradle, a telescoping stylus, a 2GB SD storage card, and six cards made of paper that let you play augmented-reality games. It will wirelessly communicate with other 3DS units dynamically.

At the E3 showcase the device managed to generate enough buzz for people to await its release. Some wonder if Nintendo is overextending itself and a handheld 3D experience may not be able to match the console one.