Report: Nintendo 3DS coming this year with force feedback

A Japanese newspaper report provides a few more details on Nintendo's new DS

Nintendo's upcoming revision to its DS handheld will have screens no larger than those in the DSi XL and feature a force-feedback system that vibrates at certain points during games, according to a report in Wednesday's Nikkei newspaper.

The new handheld, provisionally dubbed the 3DS by Nintendo, was announced by the Kyoto-based company on Tuesday. Nintendo shared few details about the device but said more news would be coming at June's E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles.

The main feature of the 3DS will be its ability to project a 3D image to users without requiring them to wear special glasses. Nintendo didn't disclose how this would be done but it will most likely be with a screen that has a thin sheet of lenses in front of the main display panel. Such screens, already in use on at least on model of cell phone in Japan, focus a 3D image to a particular point in space and the user can see a 3D image if they are viewing from that point.

In its report Wednesday, the Nikkei said the screens on the 3DS (all DS devices have dual screens) will be no larger than 4-inches. Nintendo's DSi XL, which launches this week in the U.S. and is already on sale in Japan and Europe, has a 4.2-inch screen while the DSi has a 3.25-inch screen.

It will also have a 3D joystick and force feedback, and Nintendo is considering including an accelerometer so that the device will react to tilting, the report said. It will also offer improvements in wireless networking speed and battery life.

Nintendo has said the 3DS will launch sometime before the end of March 2011, but the Nikkei report narrowed the time-frame to the second half of this year.

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Martyn Williams

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