Nintendo is expanding the multimedia functions of the 3DS --
and bringing a familiar face to the platform.
The company announced that it is working on a new Super
Mario game for its latest handheld system, with the development team behind the
successful Super Mario Galaxy titles leading the charge. Also, U.S. owners
will be able to stream Netflix films to the device starting this summer.
Additionally, Nintendo will launch a short-form video service,
with material ranging from game trailers to music videos to comedy shorts. To
take advantage of its 3D capabilities, the company also will begin offering 3D
trailers for upcoming films, starting with the trailer for this summer's Green
Mario's coming to the 3DS. "We're offering studios a distribution vehicle to a large
and motivated user base to promote their upcoming releases in 3D without the
need for glasses," said Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America,
during the company's keynote speech at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
To let users watch those videos while they're on the go -- and
to let them play with others -- Nintendo also announced a partnership with
AT&T that will allow the 3DS to connect automatically to more than 10,000
AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots in coffee shops, airports and more.
Fils-Aime further made note of recent comments by Nintendo's
global president Satoru Iwata about the possibility of using the 3DS as a 3D
video camera as well, though stopped short of making any formal announcement.
"Stay tuned for an update," he said, "But let's just say
that we're enthused too."
Iwata himself spent a good bit of the keynote discussing the
state of the vide game industry, with a particular focus on his fear that the
explosion in cheap and free apps has devalued game development and could
eventually put the industry at risk.
"Game development is drowning," he said. "Until now, there
has always been the ability to make a living [making games]. Will that still be
the case moving forward?"
He also took a swipe at the gaming aspects of the smart
phone market, a field that continues to eat away at the company's overall
"Smart phones and social network platforms are not at all
like our [industry]," he told developers. "These vertical have no motivation to
maintain the high value of video games. For them content is something that is
created by someone else. Quantity is what makes the money for them. Quantity is
how they profit. The quality of video game software does not matter to them."
On the games front, Iwata did not give an estimated release
date for the Super Mario 3DS game, but promised an update at E3. The
much-anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS is now slated for a
June release, he said.