Nintendo: Don't Expect 3DS Until 2011

Reggie Fils-Aime Jimmy Kimmel

Putting a knife through the heart of gamers expecting Nintendo's handheld 3D refresh sometime this year, Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime now says the high-end gizmo won't see release until next year.

Fils-Aime must have been hoping no one would notice. He made the announcement on Friday's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, after playing a bit of Donkey Kong Country Returns (for Wii, out later this year).

Alright, technically speaking Nintendo said the 3DS would ship by end of March 2011, so the announcement's not that surprising. Blame the grapevine for hyping the other direction: In April this year, CVG claimed "industry sources" had confirmed the system would launch "in advance of Christmas this year," pegging the month window to October, and leading some to speculate about an October 10, 2010 (10-10-10!) date.

The 3DS carries Nintendo's hopes of dominating the upcoming handheld wars with players like Sony and Apple. It features a 3.53-inch widescreen along its interior top half against a 3.02-inch touchscreen along its interior bottom half, both motion and gyroscopic sensors, 802.11n wireless, an analog thumb-nub, three cameras (one inside, two facing out for 3D picture-taking), a much faster processor for higher quality graphics, and the headliner: True stereoscopic 3D without the need for special eye-ware.

Why would Nintendo miss the holiday window? I'd guess it's the screen technology and nascent manufacturing processes. Instead of debuting globally and risking months of consumer-exasperating supply constraints, the company's probably planning a Japanese holiday debut, with the rest of us taking our turn next year.

Update: Kotaku's suggesting my guess is right. We're following up with Nintendo for clarification.

Update 2: And Nintendo's no-surprises official response to our request: "Nintendo 3DS is scheduled to launch by the end of Nintendo's current fiscal year, which runs through March 31, 2011."

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