Last week at E3, the only information we got out of Nintendo was that the 3DS would be released before the end of the Japanese fiscal year, which is March 2011. However, just today a UK retail source has informed CVG that Nintendo intends to release the new handheld system just before Christmas.
Recall when the Wii was released, in December of the year 2006. Frustrated gamers, fretting parents and screaming children all tried to get their hands on one at the same time, pre-orders outstripped the first day stock, and there was turmoil in retail stores worldwide. If this rumor proves true, expect the same to happen this Christmas, because CVG's source has also stated that Nintendo plans to release with limited stock.
The unnamed source also states that "Nintendo wanted a long run-up to Christmas, but now it's going to be a close-run thing." According to presumably the same UK source, Nintendo had plans for the 3DS to hit the shelves in October.
What does Nintendo have to say about all this? Same thing they always do: "Any dates currently being discussed are pure rumor and speculation as we have not confirmed any specific dates publicly."
Given that the 3DS is one of the most revolutionary pieces of machinery to be displayed at this year's E3, it's been swathed in rumors. This one's no different, but it would make sense for Nintendo to drop the glasses-less 3D bomb on consumers right before the biggest day of the year. Presumably, they had planned for October, but things are taking a little longer in the labs than anticipated.
Either way, the 3DS is high on my all-important list of Things to Waste Money On. What about you?