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E3: Nintendo in talks with three studios for 3-D movies on upcoming 3DS hand-held console [Updated]

June 15, 2010 | 12:13 pm

  Nintendo 3DS
Updated, June 23, 2010: This post has been corrected to reflect that Nintendo is in discussions with movie studios to serve up 3-D movies on its upcoming 3DS console, but has not yet inked formal deals.

Nintendo gave Sony Corp. a poke in the eye Tuesday morning by showing off 3-D movie trailers from Warner Bros., Walt Disney Co. and DreamWorks on its upcoming 3DS hand-held console.

The Japanese game company stopped short of saying it has inked deals with the studios, but hinted that discussions were under way. Here's an excerpt from the presentation by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata:

"Nintendo 3DS is also capable of displaying 3D Hollywood movies. We are not announcing any specific plans this week, but at our booth you can find demonstrators showing you 3D movie trailers for releases from Disney, Warner Bros. and DreamWorks. You can see DreamWorks’ “How to Drain Your Dragon,” Warner Bros.’s “Legend of the Guardians and Disney’s Tangled, all playing in 3D on Nintendo 3DS. To our knowledge this is the first time any such 3D content has been demonstrated without the need to wear glasses."

Nintendo said it expected to ship the 3DS sometime during its current fiscal year, ending March 31, 2011, but Iwata declined to say whether the console would be on store shelves in time for the Christmas holidays.

Nintendo's announcement comes just hours before Sony is expected to unveil, at its own E3 press conference, 20 game titles in 3-D for its PlayStation 3 console. Sony has made 3-D movies, televisions and games a corporate-wide priority and is expected to evangelize on the technology this week.

Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo's U.S. business, sought to distinguish the 3DS from the competition by emphasizing that the console didn't require players to wear polarized or cumbersome active shutter glasses. Akin to lenticular 3-D images, the screen projects an illusion of 3 dimensions. The result is a picture comparable to 3-D with glasses. To perceive the effect, however, viewers must be positioned directly in front of the DS screen.

"Man! Those glasses!" Fils-Aime exclaimed in mock horror during Nintendo's press conference at the Nokia Theatre. "Don't be surprised to pay a hefty amount for those glasses. And for everyone in the room!"

The 3DS is similar to the current DS, except the top 3.5-inch screen will display 3-D images, while the bottom display is a touch screen. Equipped with three cameras (two on the outside casing), the DS lets players take 3-D pictures and share them with other 3DS owners. 

-- Alex Pham

Photo: Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo's U.S. business, introduces the 3DS at Nokia Theatre on June 15, 2010. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press