The unusual no-glasses 3D capabilities of Nintendo's upcoming 3DS portable system have been front and center in the device's coverage -- after all, it's in the name. But platform producer Hideki Konno hopes its other capabilities aren't drowned out, stressing that "3D is not the only feature that we are pushing toward with this hardware."
For example, the 3DS is decked out with a gyroscope and an accelerometer, putting it in line with the motion control that's all the rage in home consoles and mobile platforms these days, and Konno claims that feature doesn't come into conflict with the 3D screen, which requires a fixed viewing angle.
"During our experiments, we have found that in a first person shooter, we can use the sensor to move the aiming and the pointer," he explained in a Wired interview
. "In that case, your line of sight is still quite rigid, your eyes are pointing at the screen, and so the 3D effect won't be diluted. So there is the possibility that both 3D and motion control could be used in the same software."
Nintendo also hopes developers will take more advantage of the system's "tag mode," which allows games to ambiently check for other 3DS systems outfitted with the same game, and then trade data between them.
It's a feature that was supported to some extent in the original Nintendo DS, but only when the particular game was running and set to "tag mode," severely decreasing its practical utility. Not so with 3DS: this time, tag mode can run straight from the hardware, not just a cartridge.
"We have the capability that when you first play a game that supports tag mode, it will save to a tag mode data slot in the hardware system," Konno explained. "We are planning to support multiple games at the same time: Mario Kart, Nintendogs, Animal Crossing
As far as that 3D screen goes, Nintendo says it's been experimenting with variations on that technology since the NES era; it's just been waiting for the right time to put it into production. "Even for GameCube -- with the development of Luigi’s Mansion
, we were thinking of developing a 3D version of it," Konno revealed.