Europe 3DS Launch Event Reveals March 25 Launch, More Details

Nintendo of Europe's Amsterdam 3DS press event focused heavily on details from third-party developers -- plus the news that the device will launch March 25 in the region with prices to be determined by retailers.
Nintendo held simultaneous U.S. and Europe press conferences today to discuss region-specific details for its highly anticipated 3DS handheld. In Amsterdam, Nintendo of Europe marketing director Laurent Fischer revealed that the hardware will launch in the same colors, Aqua Blue and Cosmos Black, on March 25, a couple of days earlier than in the U.S. Interestingly, no specific European price was announced: Nintendo of Europe president Satoru Shibata said the region's prices for the device, which will sell for $249.99 in the U.S., would be dependent on the discretion of retailers in Europe. [UPDATE: UK trade site MCV spoke to retailers at the event who provided a price range of £219 to £229 for the device.] "Over a decade ago we experimented with 3D. We even considered incorporating it into the GameCube," revealed Fischer, echoing recent news from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. "The tech to enable people to do 3D just wasn't there." Obviously, Nintendo feels it's got the tech down now, reintroducing press conference audiences to 3DS tech and features the company first unveiled at E3 in 2010. Among new details discussed in-depth at the Europe conference: A partnership with Aardman Animation that will bring Shaun the Sheep short films in 3D to the device by year end. "We are in discussions with many other media partners," Fischer added, noting dialogue with BSkyB and Eurosport is underway to bring other short film content and sports in 3D to the device. The Amsterdam event was attended by a strong contingent of third-party developers, with particular presence from major Japan partners; Capcom's Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono also took the Amsterdam stage to discuss how Super Street Fighter IV 3D edition will let players engage immediately in SSFIV games while simply carrying their device around, thanks to the device's StreetPass feature. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot also took the stage to emphasize his company's backing of Nintendo's new device, explaining that Ubisoft instantly knew it wanted to play a major role in the launch of the 3DS. "We dove in and started to prototype, and we have now learned the possibilities are endless on these machines," he says. "Our creative teams were able to develop many new ideas, and we expect to have eight games for the launch of the machine." These include Rayman, Splinter Cell, Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D, Asphalt 3D, Rabbids 3D, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, James Noir's Hollywood Crimes and Driver: Renegade, most of which were shown briefly during the presentation. Konami Pro Evolution Soccer producers Shinji Enomoto and Nayoa Hatsumi took the stage, noting that their company plans to "reinvent Konami's favorite franchises in 3D -- but first chose PES thanks to its great support in Europe. "We wanted many people to feel the new experience of 3DS through PES 2011 3D," said the pair. Team Ninja's Yosuke Hayashi was also on hand to tout the 3DS as the ideal stage for the next step in its Dead or Alive brand: "We firmly believe that Nintendo 3DS is the right console for the first Dead or Alive handheld version as well as the resurgence of the Dead or Alive series... because of 3D, it has come back with attitude," he said. Gamasutra also has full coverage of Nintendo's U.S. press conference, where the company officially confirmed the U.S. release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and a modification to the "Friend Codes" system (requiring only one registration total rather than one for each game), among other details.

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