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Did Nintendo Doom New Handheld Before Its Release?
CNBC.com | March 29, 2010 | 04:46 PM EDT

Nintendo has made a habit—and millions upon millions of dollars—of tweaking its Nintendo DS handheld gaming system and re-releasing it. The upgrades typically goose consumer demand, and until recently, there was no reason to think the just-launched Nintendo DSi XL would be any different.

But last week, Nintendo’s Japanese headquarters threw its American division for a loop, issuing a surprise announcement that the company was working on a 3D handheld gaming system that doesn’t require users to wear special glasses. The Nintendo 3DS, as it’s called, will go on sale sometime between April 1 and the end of March 2011 (Nintendo’s next fiscal year).

Japan’s Nikkei Business Daily added that the 3DS would incorporate haptic, ‘force feedback’ effects, would have better battery life and may include an accelerometer (like the Apple iPhone) that would let players control games by tilting the device.

The announcement, in short, sent the message to U.S. buyers of the $190 Nintendo DSi XL that they are buying technology that will quickly be outdated.

Analysts say the timing of the announcement for the 3DS was definitely poor, but Nintendo’s corporate headquarters was likely trying to get ahead of the rumor mill.

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