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Nintendo 3-D handheld goes on sale in Japan

   TOKYO (AP) _ Nintendo's latest game machine, offering glasses-free 3-D images, went on sale in Japan on Saturday ahead of a global rollout, and analysts say it promises to be the world's first 3-D mass-market product.

   ``I'm so excited,'' said 9-year-old Natsumi Miyasaka, clutching her brand new blue 3DS portable that her father bought for her.

Customer Toyohisa Ishihara shows a Nintendo Co. 3DS handheld player after purchasing it at a Bic Camera Inc. electronics store in Tokyo, Japan, on Saturday. (Bloomberg)
Customer Toyohisa Ishihara shows a Nintendo Co. 3DS handheld player after purchasing it at a Bic Camera Inc. electronics store in Tokyo, Japan, on Saturday. (Bloomberg)

   Lines formed outside Tokyo electronics stores, although they weren't as long as some previous gadget launches, as Nintendo offered purchase reservations in advance.

   The Nintendo 3DS, which costs 25,000 yen ($300) in Japan, goes on sale in Europe on March 25 for 250 euros, and arrives in the U.S. on March 27 for $250.

   Kyoto-based Nintendo Co. is banking on the 3-D technology as sales momentum gradually fades for earlier hits such as the Wii home console and predecessor DS models.

   Nintendo expects to sell 4 million of the 3DS machines through the end of March _ 1.5 million in Japan and the rest overseas. The company is expected to have no problems meeting that target.

   ``It is the most comprehensive handheld gaming device from Nintendo to date, with high-quality graphics and online features,''

said Hiroshi Kamide, an analyst with J.P. Morgan in Tokyo. ``I believe the 3DS will be the first mass-market 3-D device.''

   While 3-D technology for TVs has created a buzz, and 3-D camcorders are also gaining some attention, such products have not sold in big numbers so far, making for a tiny fraction of overall TV and camcorder sales. So selling 4 million 3DS machines in a month would be significant for a 3-D product.

   The 3DS looks much like older DS machines, and has two panels.

The top panel shows 3-D imagery, giving players an illusion of virtual reality, such as a puppy licking the screen from inside the machine. The bottom screen is a touch panel.

   The device also comes with three cameras, and allows the user to take 3-D photos. It doesn't require the special glasses needed for 3-D theater movies or 3-D game consoles like rival Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3. They also don't require 3-D TV sets.

   Sony is promising a new handheld code-named NGP later this year, but has yet to give pricing and the machine does not offer 3-D gaming.

   On the downside are growing fears about the health effects of too much 3-D. Some people have gotten sick by watching 3-D movies or playing 3-D games.

   Nintendo has issued a warning that the 3DS could harm the eyesight of children 6 or younger, recommending they play in 2-D. It also says users should stop playing if they become tired or start to feel ill.

   Although more game software is expected to be ready by the Europe and U.S. launch dates, only eight games were ready for the Japan launch. But the machine comes with several built-in games and other features.

   Such drawbacks didn't faze Toyohisa Ishihara, a 43-year-old engineer, who stood in line for two hours to get his 3DS.

   ``The images seem to pop out. There is a sense of a world spreading beyond,'' he said. ``I can't wait to play it.''

   Compared to Westerners, Japanese are expected to use 3DS for networking, creating avatars, listening to music and other lifestyle enjoyment, rather than just for games _ partly because of their long daily train commutes.

   ``The 3DS is moving in on the territory typically held by Apple products,'' said Ricardo Torres, editor-in-chief of GameSpot, an online gaming review site. ``I expect Nintendo to sell 3DS as fast as they can get them into stores.''


日 '닌텐도 3DS' 출시.."애플 추격 기대"

    (도쿄=연합뉴스) 이충원 특파원 = 일본 게임기 업체인 닌텐도(任天堂)는 26일 오전 8시 30분께부터 일본 전역에서 맨눈으로 입체영상을 즐길 수 있는 신형 게임기 '닌텐도 3DS'를 팔기 시작했다. 이날 판매되는 게임기는 사전 예약자들 차지가 될 것으로 보인다.

    닌텐도 3DS는 세계에서 1억4천만대 이상이 팔린 휴대형 게임기 '닌텐도 DS'  시 리즈의 후속 기종으로 특수 안경을 쓰지 않고도 입체영상 게임을 즐길 수 있다는 점을 가장 큰 장점으로 내세우고 있다. 만 6세 미만 어린이가 사용할 경우 눈에 영향을 줄 수 있어  보호자 가 3D 표시를 제한할 수 있는 기능을 탑재한 것으로 전해졌다.

    소매 가격은 2만5천엔(약 34만원)이다. 오는 3월에는 미국·유럽 등지에서도 판 매할 예정이고, 3월말까지 일본 내 150만대를 포함해 전세계에서 400만대 판매를 목 표로 하고 있다.

    닌텐도 3DS의 또 다른 특징은 기존 닌텐도 시리즈와 달리 인터넷으로 내려받을 수 있는 게임이 크게 늘었다는 점이다. 닌텐도는 5월 말부터 인터넷을 통해 입체 동 영상이나 소프트웨어를 공급할 예정이다.

    닌텐도가 이처럼 인터넷을 통한 게임 소프트웨어 공급에 힘을 쏟는 것은 애플 아이폰이 전 세계적으로 인기를 끌면서 게임 시장에 스마트폰 바람이 불어닥친 데 대해 위기감을 느꼈기 때문이라고 26일자 요미우리신문은 전했다.

    애플과 닌텐도의 이 같은 움직임에 맞서 '플레이스테이션' 시리즈로 유명한  소 니도 3월 이후 미국 등 세계 각지에서 휴대형 게임기 '플레이스테이션 포터블(PSP)'

에 스마트폰 기능을 더한 '엑스페리아 플레이'를 투입하고, 연말에는 PSP 후속 기종 을 팔 예정이라고 이 신문은 덧붙였다. 

Korea Herald daum