Nintendo 3DS’s high price tops Wii

Nintendo’s latest handheld console will cost more than the Wii home console when it goes on sale in the US and Europe in March.

At news conferences in New York and Amsterdam on Wednesday, the Japanese console maker revealed the 3DS will cost $250 in the US, with a retail price of around the same figure in euros expected in Europe and a UK price of £230. The Wii costs $200 (€190, £180).

Nintendo clearly thinks it can command a premium for the first home or handheld console to offer 3D without the need for special glasses.

“Nintendo 3DS is a category of one – the experience simply doesn’t exist anywhere else,” said Reggie Fils-Aime (pictured), Nintendo of America President, at the New York launch.

The 3DS will be released first in Japan on February 26, followed by a European launch on March 25 and a US one on March 27.

There will be two colours available at launch – “Cosmo Black” and “Aqua Blue”.

In terms of content, Nintendo said the 3DS would be pre-loaded with a variety of games and applications that take advantage of motion sensors and its three cameras – two point outwards for taking 3D photos, one points at the user to include the player’s image in games and applications.

Six augmented-reality cards included with the 3DS will allow some games to appear as if they are projected onto surfaces framed by the cameras.

Nintendo expects 30 titles to be available between launch and the E3 industry convention in the US in early June.

Nintendo of Europe also announced content partnerships with companies including Eurosport, for 3D sports videos, the UK’s Sky, for content from its 3D satellite channels, and Aardman Animations, which will provide a series of original Shaun the Sheep short movies in 3D.

Analysts are bullish about the prospects for the 3DS. Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan Securities forecasts Nintendo will sell up to 20m units globally this year, including 8m in the US.