Nintendo delays 3DS launch until Q1 2011

Nintendo  announced that it will be delaying the launch of the 3DS, its 3D-capable portable gaming device, aiming now for a first quarter 2011 release in Japan, with European and US dates yet to be decided.

It was expected that the device would be released in time for Christmas, particularly with rivals Sony and Microsoft releasing their Move and Kinect motion sensor systems, late-coming competition to Nintendo’s highly-successful Wii, in the run up to the holiday season. The news today, however, reveals that Nintendo was unable to get the 3DS ready in time.

Nintendo announced a date of February 26 of next year for the 3DS’ release in Japan, with a suggested retail price of 25,000 Yen (around $300). Global release dates and prices were not revealed, but we can probably expect it in the US and Europe some time in March.

The 3DS is the successor to the Nintendo DS, another of the company’s extremely successful gaming devices. Various incarnations of the DS have arrived over the years, such as the smaller DS Lite and the camera featuring DSi, but the 3DS will add a whole new dimension to gaming, quite literally, with its Sharp-licensed autostereoscopic display allowing 3D images at the flick of a switch without the need for glasses. 

Nintendo also issued a profit warning, revising its forecasts downwards to account for poorer performance and the delay with the 3DS release. While it was keen to downplay the delay, it is now looking at significantly less shipments of its products over the April 2010 to March 2011 period. 

Previously it estimated 30 million shipments of the DS, but that is now revised downwards to 23.5 million. Of those, four million are expected to be the 3D units. The Wii is also performing badly, but not quite as bad, with a revised figure of 17.5 million shipments compared to the previous forecast of 18 million.