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3DS FAQ – Everything We Know About The 3DS So Far (Updated)

3DS FAQ – Everything We Know About The 3DS So Far (Updated)

by Bradley DeLorenzoAugust 27, 2010

NeoGaf member, BDGame, compiled an amazing list of all things 3DS. Pikimal, also added the list, so this is a combo of both those lists plus WiiNintendo’s own hands-on video/impressions info from E3.

WiiNintendo’s Exclusive  Hands on with the 3DS (first video to hit the internet):

WiiNintendo Links:
Full Coverage of all 3DS News
Resident Evil: Revelations, 7 screens
3DS F.A.Q.
3DS dev costs could match Wii
Hands-On First Impressions
Nintendo 3DS Tidbits: Colors, Cartridges, Charging Cradle, and more
Sega: 3DS can attract mature audience to handheld gaming
Mario Kart 3DS – What We Know So Far
3D Video Chat Is a Possibility on the 3DS

(E3 2010) Nintendo 3DS – Games Promo from Nintendo Booth
How the 3DS Works [Video]

Are the graphics the same as the original DS?
No. The graphical quality will be improved over the original DS. Think of the difference between the N64 and the GameCube.

Is “3DS” the final name?
Nintendo hasn’t confirmed this, but it most likely is. Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo, said he would announce the final name at E3 and it was announced there as “3DS”.

Is the current design final?
Essentially, yes. During E3, Nintendo said the design was not finalized, but in a recent interview, designer Hideki Konno said that this is the final design.

Read the recent interview here.

How big is the device?
Virtually the same size as the DS Lite:

Width: 5.3 inches wide
Height: 2.9 inches long
Depth: 0.8 inches tall

Will it have backwards comparability?
It will feature DS and DSi backwards compatibility, but because there is no GBA slot, there will be no GBA support. There are currently no official details about any GBA “Virtual Console” service for the 3DS.

Does it use the same game cards as the DS?
Yes and no. While DS game cards will fit into the 3DS game card slot, 3DS game cards are designed in a way to only fit into a 3DS console. 3DS cards can also reach up to 2 Gigabytes (16 Gigabits) of stored data, whereas the maximum DS card can only hit up to 0.5 Gigabytes (4 Gigabits).

How big are the 3DS screens?
Top Screen: 3.53-inch 16:9 wide-screen (same size as the iPhone)
Bottom Screen: 3.02-inch touchscreen (same size as the original DS)

What’s the resolution of each screen?
Top Screen: 800×240 pixels. Because of 3D effects, the naked eye will see 400×240. For comparison, the original iPhone was 480×320, and the iPhone 4 is 960×640.
Bottom Screen: 320 x 240. For comparison, the DS is 256×192.

What gaming features does it have?
– A wide top screen with ability to view 3D images cinema style, without the need of glasses
– 3D Depth Slider to adjust level of 3D effect, which can be scaled back or turned off completely in real-time
– A bottom screen with touch functionality and higher resolution than the DS
– An analog pad, called the “slider,” which is said to be smoother than the PSP nub, and has the same diameter as the Wii’s Nunchuk analog stick
– A d-pad, which is roughly the same size as the DS Lite d-pad
– Four face buttons and two side buttons, similar to the DS. A, B, X, Y, L and R
– SELECT, START buttons and a Home button, used for returning to the home firmware, located under the bottom screen
– Gyroscope and accelerometer to capture 3DS motion or tilting, like the Wii Remote with Motion+ or iPhone 4
– A single internal camera for functions such as filming the player during the game
– Two external cameras, with resolution of 640 x 480 (0.3 MP) each, capable of taking 3D pictures, or enabling augmented reality software
– Advanced audio processor superior to DSi, able to simulate audio in 5.1.x with headphones
– Wireless Communication (2.4 GHz band) for local LAN and Wireless Internet. Will support IEEE 802.11
– Microphone
– AC adapter connector
– Parental controls similar to the Nintendo DSi system
– “Tag Mode.” When not in use, it can automatically exchange data with other Nintendo 3DS systems or receive data via the Internet while in sleep mode
– The amount of internal storage memory has not yet been confirmed

Besides games, what other cool stuff can it do?
· Takes 3D pictures
· Watch 3D movies
· While no business model for movie distribution has been given, it is likely there will be Netflix and YouTube support

Has Nintendo updated their crappy online service?
Supposedly, Nintendo is making an effort to improve online features compared to the Wii and DS. While specifics have not been confirmed, Nintendo has announced that the 3DS will support leader-boards and ghost data in many games. Other information is not officially revealed yet. However, an interview posted by Nintendo with an EA developer suggests an achievement system, but it is unclear if he was referring to the OS having an achievement system or his game having one.

Will homebrew flash cards, like the M3 and R4, work on the 3DS?
No. Nintendo has emphasized strong new anti-piracy technologies and THQ representatives have been quoted as saying the device is “hacker-proof”.

What are the specific tech specs?
· Weight: 230g
· Dimensions: 130x74x20 mm
· 3.53 inch 16:9 wide-screen on top
· 3.02 inch 4:3 touchscreen on bottom
· Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, which Nintendo is aiming for 9-14 hours of use
· Brightness levels: details TBA — The DSi has 5 levels and DS Lite 4
· Stylus: Telescoping stylus which is 100mm when fully extended. This is larger than the DSi’s 92mm and a DS Lite’s 87mm.
· Controls: a, b, x, y, R, L, d-pad, analog stick, touch screen, the accelerometer, gyro, start, select, home, power, camera, volume control and 3D level
· Cartridges: Up to 2 Gigabytes at the beginning
· Storage: Internal memory value is still unknown
· RAM: TBA. The DSi had 16 megs of RAM, the Lite had 4 megs.
· CPU: No one knows yet. The DSi uses a 133 MHz ARM9 and an ARM7 RISC at 33 MHz.
· GPU: DMP Pica200 IP core
· Camera: 1 internal with resolution of 640 x 480 (0.3 Mega) and 2 external with 640 x 480 (0.3 Mega) for taking 3D pictures.

Is the touchscreen multi-touch, like the iPhone?
While it hasn’t been confirmed one way or another, the games demoed at E3 were only single-touch. Because of the use of a single stylus, it is likely it will stay this way.

Will it be region free?
While it hasn’t been confirmed, it is likely it will not be region free, based on the DSi.

True 3D without glasses… How does that work?
All 3D screens operate on the same principle: two images of the same scene at different angles are superimposed on top of one another, with half the images going to your left eye and half the images going to your right eye. By having a difference in the angle of the images, the brain is tricked into thinking that what it is seeing is 3D. The picture below shows how it’s done:

Early 3D was called “Anaglyph 3D,” and used red and blue glasses. However, the resulting images were tinted. Recent 3D movies (including Avatar) and 3DTVs from Sony use polarized 3D glasses. The 3DS uses the barrier polarizing manner (parallax barrier) that does not need glasses. It works as follows:

1. The 3D generates two slightly different images, each 400×240.
2. The two images are interpolated into a single image of 800×240 resolution
3. The barrier in the screen receives the interpolated image and separates the images to travel to each eye.

Here is this picture, made by Jarosh from NeoGAF, explaining it better:

Does processing 3D images take twice the hardware power?
No. In 3D gaming, there are things that are not processed twice and things that are. The machine doesn’t need to render the geometry twice, process the physics engine twice or run the movement image twice. These things are only processed once. After the scene is ready, two pictures are taken and the processor takes the generated image and a 3D map, which completes the 3D picture.

What is “Pica200?
Pica200 is the GPU (graphics processing unit) for the 3DS.

How many polygons can be displayed at once?
It can display up to 40 million, more or less, but the exact specifications are unclear. This number can be either the total number of pure polygons, with no shader effects, or the total with shaders applied. Because we don’t know the exact specs of the Pica200 used in the 3DS, we can’t know for sure, but what we know right now is that the Pica200 can hit 40 million polygons.

How powerful is the 3DS compared to the PSP, PS2 and Xbox?
The 3DS is more powerful than the PSP, but the other comparisons are unknown because we do not have the complete specifications for the 3DS. Moreover, it takes time to master the hardware and find the perfect balance between resources and the ability to run smoothly. But when it comes to raw numbers, we have the following:

– PSP – 480 x 272 pixels
– 3DS – 800×240 pixels (400×240 with 3D connected)
– PS2 – 640×480 interlaced for most games, progressive scan in a few. Some games (GoW2, GT4) have limited high resolution capabilities
– NGC – 640×480 interlaced for most games, progressive scan in some
– XBOX – 640×480 progressive scan for most games, some games render in HD

Max Fillrate (Pixel per second-capacity hardware to show pixels on screen):
– PSP – 660 million textured pixels/sec
– 3DS – Between 800 million and 1 billion
– PS2 – 1.2 billion textured pixels/sec
– NGC – 648 million textured pixels/sec
– XBOX – 932 million with multitexturing (2 layers)

Instructions per second (important for things like A.I., physical, shaders, etc):
– PSP – 400 million
– 3DS – TBA
– PS2 – 360 million
– NGC – 925 million
– XBOX – 1.9 billion

CPU-central processor unit:
– PSP – 333 MHz-MIPS R4000
– 3DS – TBA
– PS2 – 294 MHz-Sony emotion Engine
– NGC – 485 MHz-IBM “Gekko”
– XBOX – 733 MHz-customized by Intel

GPU-graphics processing unit:
– PSP – 166 MHz-PSP owner
– 3DS – 200-400 MHz-Pica200 DPM
– PS2 – 147 hmz Intel CPUs-Sony Graphics Synthesizer
– NGC – 162 MHZ Flipper
– XBOX – 233 HMZ INTEL CPUS-customized by Nvidia


– PSP – 33 million pure-6 to 12 in game
– 3DS – ~40 million, but actual power unknown
– PS2 – 70 million pure-12 to 20 in game
– NGC – 60 million pure-12-30 at stake
– XBOX – 125 million pure-15 to 40 in game


– PSP – 32 megs for games
– 3DS – Unknown
– PS2 – 32 megs
– NGC – 40 megs (being 24 1T-SRAM, faster than the normal memory)
– XBOX – 64 megs (free use)

Anti-aliasing and graphic filters:
– PSP – 2 x AA + 1 layers of texture + textures + Hardware compression clipping
– 3DS – 4 x AA + ? layers of texture + textures + Hardware compression clipping
– PS2 – 2 x AA + 4 texture layers
– NGC – 2 x AA + ETA 1 layers of texture compression TEVs + textures + Hardware clipping
– XBOX – 2 x AA + 4 layers of texture high resolution texture compression + Hardware clipping

– PSP – Smoke, morphing, light and shadow primitive, subdivision of polygons (never used in games)
– PS2 – All PSP + plenty more advanced light and does subdivision polygons
– NGC – All from PS2 + refraction + cel shaded native + programmable shaders that can be added or updated
– XBOX – All NGC + bump mapping + normal mapping + light correction per frame-fixed, non-programmable shaders
– 3DS – All Xbox + 4 x AA + self shadow + subdivision polygons + programmable shaders equal to NGC

Can I see some comparison screenshots?
Metal Gear Solid 3: PS2 – PSP – 3DS

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: PSP – 3DS – Xbox

Resident Evil 4: GCN vs. Resident Evil: 3DS

Street Fighter IV: iPhone – 3DS – Xbox 360

For more images and a full-on briefing of what the Pico200 can do, check out the original post over at NeoGAF.

Which games were playable at E3?
· Nintendogs + Cats
· Animal Crossing
· Steel Diver
· 3D Star Fox 64
· Pilotwings Resort
· 3D-Samurai Warriors
· Ridge Racer
· Chocobo Racing 3D
· Battle of Giants: Dinosaur Strike
· 3D-DJ Hero
· CrossPass – Shooting in augmented reality

What do game developers think about the device?
Atsushi Inaba (Bayonetta, MadWorld):

“I’m being struck with the intense desire to make something on it. It’s the same sort of excitement I had when I first saw the Wii and DS in Nintendo’s office, but now it’s at a whole new level. This may the first time in the industry where the terms ‘next generation’ and ‘personal dream’ were so appropriate. I’d gladly throw away everything else for a shot at touching the 3DS.”

Keiji Inafune (Mega-Man, Dead Rising):

“Video games need three things to be successful: a concept, a technology platform, and good marketing. The Nintendo 3DS is a perfect example of those three things bundled into one.”

Hideki Kamiya (Okami, Bayonetta):

“3D on a large screen has an impact on you and gets you that much closer to the game or movie you’re watching, but 3D on the 3DS’s smaller screen is interesting in its own right. Instead of feeling like you’re ‘really there,’ you feel like it’s ‘really in the palm of your hand,’ so to speak. Having these dynamic home 3D titles is great and all, but personally, I want to take a different approach and make games that take advantage of what a 3D portable has to offer.”

Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Resident Evil 5, Devil May Cry):

“Our own Resident Evil was shown on the show floor and was well received, but when I saw Metal Gear, I felt the new potential of the 3DS. I’d like to make something.”

Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear, Metal Gear Solid):

“I wear glasses, so I’m happy that 3D glasses are not needed. I directed the E3 demo. It was based off Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater, but the backgrounds and character modeling were all redone in high polygon. It’s not finalized, but we’re thinking about CO-OPs and other things — elements fitting of a 3D and portable game machine.”

Toshihiro Nagoshi (Super Monkey Ball, Yakuza):

“Nintendo has been re-examining the concept of game consoles as ‘toys’ ever since the Wii, and I think the 3DS is the final result of those efforts. If you believe that gamers will demand more social features and impressiveness in their portable single-player or multiplayer experiences, then Nintendo certainly has that covered with the 3DS’s Wi-Fi and 3D features. There’s a lot of ideas I’d like to work with.”

Yoshinori Ono (Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV):

“We’d like to put in some ideas that make effective use of the portability.”

Goichi Suda (No More Heroes, Killer 7):

“It really makes me feel the speed at which the history of video games is unfolding — like, ‘We’ve really made it this far, huh?’ You have a living, breathing world you can touch right in your hands. I think we’ve finally gone from an era of constructing virtual worlds from pixels to one where the world is truly, honestly there. If I had to sum up the sort of game I’d like to make, I would simply call it ‘the next game,’ because the 3DS marks the arrival of the ‘next platform.’”

Shu Takami (Phoenix Wright, Ghost Trick):

“As a creator, I feel that a new challenge has started…I’d like to show a mystery in a 3D space.”

What games have already been announced?
– Animal Crossing
– Kid Icarus: Uprising
– Mario Kart
– Nintendogs + Cats
– Paper Mario
– Pilotwings Resort
– Star Fox 64 3D
– Steel Diver
– The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Release not confirmed.

– DJ Hero 3D

AQ Interactive
– Cubic Ninja

– Etrian Odyssey
– Shin Megami Tensei:
– Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
– Shin Megami Tensei: Persona

– Vektor Tank 3D

– Resident Evil: Revelations
– Super Street Fighter IV 3D

– FIFA Soccer
– Madden NFL
– The Sims 3

– Asphalt GT

– (Untitled Music Game)

– Bomberman
– Deca Sports
– Kororinpa

– (Untitled Baseball Game)
– Contra
– Frogger
– Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D “The Naked Sample”
– Pro Evo

Level 5
– Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle

– BloodRayne: the Shroud
– A Boy and His Blob
– Face Racers: Photo Finish
– Lion’s Pride: Adventures on the Serengeti
– Martha Stewart
– WonderWorld Amusement Park


Namco Bandai
– Dragon Ball
– Gundam
– Pac-Man & Galaga
– Ridge Racer
– Super Robot Wars

– Crash City GP
– Super Robo

– Sonic the Hedgehog
– Super Monkey Ball

Square Enix
– Codename: Chocobo Rcing 3D
– Dragon Quest
– Final Fantasy
– Kingdom Hearts

– Carnival Games

Tecmo Koei
– Dead or Alive 3D
– Dynasty Warriors
– Ninja Gaiden
– Samurai Warriors 3D

– Lovely Lisa 3D
– Naruto Shippuden Action

– de Blob 2
– Kung Fu Panda: Kaboom of Doom
– Marvel Super Hero Squad Infinity Gauntlet
– The Penguins of Madagascar
– Puss N Boots
– Saints Row: Drive By

– Assassin’s Creed: Lost Legacy
– Battle of Giants: Dinosaur Strike
– Driver Renegade
– Hollywood 61
– Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon
– Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory
– Rayman Origins (not confirmed yet)

Warner Bros.
– Batman

When will the next batch of info be revealed?
On September 29th, price and launch date will be confirmed by Nintendo.

How much is this thing going to cost me?
While it hasn’t been confirmed, the speculated pricing is between 190.00 USD and 300.00 USD.

So, when does this thing come out?
All territories are supposed to launch before the end of March 2011, although no date has been given. In the USA, the President of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime, said on an interview on the “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” show that the 3DS will launch in 2011.


About The Author
Bradley DeLorenzo

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