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North American 3DS launch date, pricing announced

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Nintendo announced at a press event earlier today in New York that the 3DS will go on sale in North America on March 27th for $250. The system will launch in two colors, "Cosmo Black" and "Aqua Blue."

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime took the opportunity to detail a few more features of the 3DS:

  • No more game-specific friend codes--players only have to swap one master friend code to add a person to their friends list, allowing them to see who's online, what they're playing, and join in multiplayer games.
  • The Mii Maker application lets you take a picture of yourself and use it to quickly create a Mii avatar for your 3DS.
  • A mini-game called Face Raiders, where you shoot at targets that look like your own face, will come pre-installed on the system.
  • The Nintendo eShop virtual marketplace will let gamers purchase Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, DSiWare applications, and certain 3DS titles. The eShop works in the same way as the Wii's Virtual Console and the DSi's DSiWare shop--you purchase points online with a credit card, or you can buy redeemable point cards from retailers. The service will not be available at launch.
  • A built-in pedometer will measure how far you walk while the system's in sleep mode, earning you Play Coins which can used to unlock special content in certain games and applications.
  • Also bundled with the system: six paper cards for use with some as yet unknown augmented reality software.

Curiously enough, while Fils-Aime said that more than thirty games would be released between the system's launch day and the start of E3 in June, the launch day software lineup was not revealed.

MY TAKE: Sounds about right. There's a definite line that you don't want to cross when it comes to handheld pricing, and $250 is pretty much it.

The lack of any kind of concrete launch lineup has me a bit worried though. We'll probably get at least a few of the same games on launch day that the Japanese market will when the system launches there next month (Nintendogs + Cats, Super Street Fighter IV, etc), but it'd be nice to know a bit more.

Also, expect Sony to raise the curtain on the PSP2 very soon...

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