Nintendo Goes Social With 3DS

on March 02 2011 3:51 PM
Nintendo said Netflix will be available on the Nintendo 3DS gaming console.
Nintendo said Netflix will be available on the Nintendo 3DS gaming console. Nintendo

Recognizing the evolution of video games, Nintendo is taking a more social approach to its upcoming 3DS game system.

Speaking at the 25th annual Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, Nintendo's president Satoru Iwata and Nintendo of America's chief Reggie Fills-Aime reflected on the importance of social gaming and evolving content. Iwata, who went over the company's history of social gaming and evolving content, said it is going to take the two themes to a higher level with the 3DS.

Nintendo 3DS will be the most connected Nintendo device ever, with its ability to link people via local wireless connections, while at the same time connecting them to people and content worldwide via hotspot connectivity, Iwata said.

Nintendo announced it will do this primarily by making 10,000 WiFi hotspots available for 3DS gamers to connect, play games and view content. The WiFi will be available in selected airports, cafes and restaurants.

Subsequently, it also announced a deal with Netflix, where members will be able to stream movies and other content on their Nintendo 3DS systems. Users will be able to use their Netflix back-and-forth between the 3DS and Wii.

Say you are away from home starting to watch a movie on the Nintendo 3DS. When you get home, you can go from the 3DS to streaming on the Wii to your big screen, Fills-Aime said.

That wasn't all. The company also announced the 3DS will have a short-form video service. This will allow people to view trailers for Hollywood movies in 3D and access video game trailers, screen shots, background information and links to publishers' websites. Nintnedo said this is a sweetheart deal for distributors as it will build word-of-mouth for their 3D games and movies with actual 3D imagery without the need for glasses.

In addition, the 3DS will be able to record 3D video, Fills-Aime promised for the future. In the meantime, he said the company said the short-form video service will include video clips, such as comedy shorts or music videos which will be filtered by Nintendo.

Also announced were the availability of classic games, remastered for 3D technology.  Also, downloadable classic games via the portable Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console service will be available as well.  The content will all be in a portal called the Nintendo eShop, which will be activated in late May.

Nintendo said it will work with AT&T to provide Nintendo 3DS owners with automatic and free access to the WiFi hotspots with a simple update. Netflix, Nintendo said, will come with a summer update and will be available for $7.99 monthly.

Before the announcement, Iwata credited Nintendo's chief competitor Microsoft, for its success with Xbox Live. Also, he mentioned the successes of gaming franchises Mario, World of Warcraft, The Sims, Pokemon and even Tetris.

What are the lessons from these franchises? They are constantly improving, have social connections, expanded their audiences and challenge existing gaming notions of how something should be played and they have universal appeal, Itawa said.

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