Nintendo Does Not Expect Stereo-3D to Be Main Feature of Wii Successor

Nintendo Bets on Glasses-Free S3D, Does Not Expect S3D to Be Main Feature of Next-Gen Console

by Anton Shilov
03/30/2011 | 10:29 AM

Even though Nintendo is the first company to announce a portable video game system with auto-stereoscopic 3D screen, it does not seem that the company truly believes in stereo-3D (S3D) technology in general. Speaking to a major TV channel, the president of Nintendo of America expressed doubts that S3D will be the main feature of the company's next-gen console.


"Glasses-free is a big deal. We have not said publicly what the next thing for us will be in the home console space, but based on what we have learned on 3-D, likely, that won't be it," said Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo, in an interview with CNN web-site.

At present stereo-3D HDTVs require special glasses to produce S3D effect. Those glasses sometimes cause headaches and require viewers to sit under certain angle to the screen. Generally, the technology is not really universal, in fact, even the glasses are proprietary for every TV manufacturer. Nintendo's auto-stereoscopic-3D technology for 3DS, which was developed by Sharp, also has loads of limitations. Still, the message from Nintendo is clear: S3D should be glasses free.

"[S3D] is something that we've been continually testing and working on at Nintendo. We've never actually stopped looking at 3-D as a viable product. And it just so happens that the technology in the marketplace now coincides with what we wanted to do. So actually, it was just very fortuitous timing. [...] I think at Nintendo, we realize that any sort of goggle-type 3-D technology was not going to work. In order to make 3D technology viable with video games, we thought we needed to have glasses-free 3D," said Hideki Konno, a key person in the 3DS's development and the development head of Nintendo EAD Software Development Group.

There are a lot of talks about glasses-free stereo-3D HDTVs by various manufacturers. But given the fact that their mainstream availability can hardly be forecasted for the next several years, S3D effect will hardly be an important capability of Nintendo's next console, which is, according to rumours, due in 2012 and is set to be revealed in the middle of the year.

The next-gen Nintendo console is projected to be based on a quad-core Marvell Armada system-on-chip that is compliant with ARM architecture, will feature integrated Blu-ray reader and will sport "a mobile projector of some sort". The rumoured specifications do not seem to be credible. Nintendo used microprocessors based on IBM's Power architecture as well as proprietary optical disc standards for both GameCube and Wii consoles and it is not very likely that the company decides to radically change its approach with the next-generation console. Interestingly, but the rumoured console even does not have a code-name.