What makes Nintendo’s new handheld gaming device, the 3DS, unique is its main selling point: offering 3D gameplay without the need for cumbersome 3D glasses. With competition growing from the smart phones and tablets in the handheld market, what would happen if Nintendo lost that competitive advantage? Rumor has it that the next Apple tablet design, the iPad 3, may come in 3D as well.
Nintendo took some flak upon releasing their innovative new handheld gaming device, the 3DS, for price points, online features, lack of games, etc. but what they took a lot of heat for was their claims about not competing with low-cost downloadable games, the likes of which can be found on the Apple App Store. Nintendo called out indie devs as “garage developers” (later backtracking on the remark) which my have been an unfounded claim, considering the quality of and depth of some of their own overpriced $30-40 3DS games.
The reality is that handheld gaming devices now must compete with smartphones and tablets, devices that are more accessible and in the case of smartphones, absolutely more popular amongst mainstream consumers. Nintendo is avoiding competing in this app market because they simply cannot at this point. Many games available on Android and iOS systems only cost a dollar or two and Nintendo wishes to protect their developers while exclusively offering 3D functionality.
That exclusivity may not last past next year if the latest rumors concerning the next iPad’s development ring any truth. RCR Wireless is hearing from a “Hollywood insider” that, “The fact that the iPad 3 is 3D is a dead cert” and that studios are doing what they can now to prepare 3D content for when the iPad 3 launches. Apparently, Apple manufacturer Foxconn has failed to remained tight-lipped, also leaking out details about a 3D iPad 3. Let’s also not forget that Apple previously submitted patent applications for glasses-free 3D protection and even some cool holographic features we may see down the road.
It makes total sense and is entirely believable that Apple (and other tablet manufacturers) could introduce 3D tech with their next tablets. The iPad 2’s release was slightly criticized for not offering that much of an improvement over its predecessor, so doing something innovative for the next-gen iPad may be necessary to continue sales growth and dominance in the tablet market.
What better way to experience mobile media entertainment in 3D than on an iPad? It’s already built for applications, video games and movies. You could then take 3D anything on the go and enjoy applications designed in 3D. This would not be good for Nintendo in the long-term because this would only be the start of glasses-free 3D functionality on tablets, phones and other platforms.
There’s no talk yet about Apple’s next phone having 3D, but it likely won’t from what we heard about the iPhone 5 features before.
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Sources: RCR Wireless, CNET