Nintendo Including A 3D Lock Feature In Nintendo 3DS

By Ishaan . December 30, 2010 . 8:28am

For children under 6 years of age, exposure to stereoscopic 3D images could be detrimental to the eyes. Because of this, Nintendo are including a 3D lock feature in the Nintendo 3DS, using a PIN.


The report comes by way of Inside Games, who noticed the feature mentioned on Nintendo’s page for their upcoming Nintendo World event. With the 3D lock enabled, the 3DS will only display a regular image as opposed to the “popping out” 3D, and the effects of the 3D slider will be disabled.


There’s still a few things we don’t quite know about the 3DS, so hopefully the Nintendo World event will shed light on more of the system’s features.

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  • This doesnt make sense? So the main feature of the 3DS is 3D but 3D only provides some slight enhancement in visuals? So 3D does not actually provide any benefit to the gameplay experience? So Nintendo is now a company that is only focused on powerful graphics instead of developing innovative and fun gameplay experiences? Their methods certainly seem to give credence to this notion as locking out the 3D means that the game are just played traditionally. I like Nintendo for their innovations and fun gameplay and not for graphics. I do not like the direction they are going with this.

    • There are some people who get nauseous when they see 3D images. Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of people complaining about headaches or other symptoms of nausea when they watch a 3D movie?

      • I have suffered discomfort from watching Avatar in 3D and other movies after the first hour of the experience. But still, games are not movies, and I would have expected that 3D would provide some form of gameplay enhancement instead of just a new experience in graphics. At that right it could just do traditional images and 2D gameplay and I would be happy. The 3DS does not seem to boast being able to use the device exclusively for 3D movies, but for 3D games and more. Am I right?

        • You’re lucky to be able to see 3D at all. I’m told that I’m not missing much, but still.

          • Guest

            Not in movies but 3D on the 3DS is pretty damn cool. (I hate having to say this) but yes I was at E3 though the only way to prove that would be to snap a picture of two of my E3 t shirts with a time stamp. =P

            ANYWAYS, its really cool its not like movies where things barely pop out. Its more of this crazy depth thing. Sucks that you can’t see 3D but this is pretty different than the movies, thats all.

          • neocatzon

            tell us more, now I’m curious

          • Yeah, I mean a lot of people simply balk at the mere idea of 3D (Kinda like they did when the touch screen on the DS was announced). They think they “know” what others don’t that the 3D is a gimmick (They called the touch screen the same thing too).

            Really a 3D lock just proves nothing about the validity of 3D on the new hand-held.

        • Same could be said for Sony and their push for 3D on the PS3. At this point “3D” gaming is only something that’s supposed to make you feel further immersed in the game. 3D could provide something like having a better look under a table, actually make it seem like bullets are actually flying past you, and some other things like that, but it’s not going to change the way how you interact with a game at all. The fact that there’s a slider for the effect should have been an instant giveaway that the 3D was a mere graphic enhancing effect. onilink888 has provided the other things that the 3DS is capable of, though. If you’ve played any games on the Wii that involved tilting the Wii Remote or played Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble, then you’ve experienced the effects of accelerometers.

          I believe most press and developers are impressed about are how the graphics looked like, and they’re even further impressed about how things looked when enhanced with the 3D effect. Supposedly, even without the 3D effect, the system can achieve Wii or Gamecube level graphics.

          Btw… For anyone living in New York or Amsterdam(Oh the irony… The word I’m looking for is irony right?)
          As for you tristtrist, I’ll personally tell you my impressions after that day.

    • onilink888

      You’re getting out of hand there, man. I mean, the touchscreen controls are still there (which they could easily have ditched if they only wanted to make a powerhouse system and weren’t interested in innovation), there’s an accelerometer, a gyroscope, 3 cameras that allow for augmented reality and so on. Tell me, when was the last time you heard of a handheld with those features?

      And, as previously mentioned by Mr.Iwata, they made the handheld relatively powerful so developers wouldn’t have excuses NOT to develop for it. And you can’t tell me that’s a bad thing.

      The 3D won’t be a game changing feature; it’s not meant to be, that’s what all those aforementioned ones are for. The 3D is just meant to give the player a new way of seeing the game.

      Of course… I can’t say for sure that in the hands of talented developers, such as Nintendo EAD or Kojima Productions, that 3D couldn’t be used a gameplay enhancing element. We’ll just have to wait and see.

      • I guess I just find it odd that beyond the basic foundation of the DS, it just appears that they made it a DS with 3D graphics. I was under the impression that the ipod touch and iphone had accelerometers and gyroscopes. I cant actually comment on gameplay that benefits from those as I havent played many games utilizing those features, so it would not be wise for me to speak pro or con against it.

        But I should remain cautiously optimistic about the gameplay experiences the system can provide. From the marketing they have done so far, and the introduction of the system itself, it seemed that, the 3D is the feature that the press, fans, and even Nintendo itself have been focusing on the most in most of their outreach to fans and consumers.

      • NeoTechni

        “The 3D won’t be a game changing feature”

        Yes it will be, yes it’s meant to be.

        • onilink888

          So, tell me, in what ways will 3D change the way you play the game? When all you say is “Yes it will be, yes it’s meant to be.”, you’re giving me the impression that you only replied for the sake of being contradictory.

          And note what I wrote in the next paragraph.

          The 3D is primarily meant to be a system seller. Whether it enhances gameplay is still up in the air, but it’s not very likely that it’ll do anything beyond acting as a tool that allows players to make better judgments of distances.

          • lostinblue

            It does enhance it; you can certainly recall how dificult any 3D swimming game or a flight game (or subsequent portions inside adventure/platform games) are because since you aren’t bound to the ground you have dificulty mustering where you are regarding depth. 3D rendering (and output) enables you to have a much bigger grasp of that. Probably a no coming back thing too.

            One example at E3 was how starfox worked so well on it, basically before you waited for the damn ring to come, knowing it was getting closer but having no clear idea how far it was, and now you just knew exactly where it is without having to guess. It might seem relative or even optional, but it clearly makes a big difference, it’s not like the “avatar” pretention of “WOW 3D” (who cares if it’s 3D if it’s not that great)

            As for the rest, yeah we’ve had 3D games taking place on the ground for years now and shadows are very important (be it detailed shadows or circle shadows) to know where the characters are, otherwise you’d have quite a problem, but of course they won’t be suddently unplayable. That doesn’t mean 3D doesn’t make a big difference in them though, it certainly does.

          • malek86

            Actually, swimming in most platformers is difficult because the underwater controls are bad.

          • onilink888

            You must have missed the last part of what I wrote. That’s precisely what I meant by “a tool that allows players to make better judgments of distances.”

            Even so, though, to me, that’s a really incremental enhancement. I’ve never had trouble judging distances in games.

          • lostinblue


            Or so you think. That’s like saying you never had problems with mono sound in games. You certainly didn’t, but you can’t possibly argue it’s better than 5.1 digital.

    • If you can give me 3 types of gameplay mechanics that can be utilized solely with 3d graphics (Not taking into account that the 3ds STILL has all the gameplay mechanics of a DS + all the new stuff added like the gyroscope + the graphics at LEAST on par with a PSP), I’ll concede that you’re not a complete dumbass.

      Having the option to turn off the 3d is a godsend because, as they’ve said many times, too much 3d can hurt your eyes. Like, REALLY hurt them.

      • The only mechanics I can imagine with the 3D would be games to require some sort of depth perception. Perhaps the game would utilize hiding behind stuff and seeing whats there to present some sort of gaming experience? RPGS utilizing several fields, shooting games in which the different levels of depth seen could affect points gained and attacks? Racing games and having the ability to better gauge distances?

        Maybe experiences that virtual reality would provide essentially. Nintendo is usually a leader in innovation and thinking beyond what most people can imagine so I would imagine that the stuff that can be done solely through 3D would be stuff that theyve thought about for years versus me sitting here and trying to imagine experiences in just a few short minutes?

        • Everything you just mentioned can and has beend done in 2d games without the use of 3d. The fact of the matter is that 3d is a gimmick (NOT saying that 3d is bad, but let’s face facts) and should be treated as such: with the ability to turn it on and off. If they were to make games that DID utilize 3d into the gameplay, they’d be shooting themselves in the foot because

          1. there ARE people out there who simply Can’t see 3d. You’d be cutting off a whole portion/game from them for no reason.

          2. 3d is an eyesore. who would want to play a game that physically hurt them when they played it?

          3d VISION is not Virtual Reality and cannot be expected to be used in that manner.

          • Well what I had though because of how much talk there was, was that there would be something new brought with 3D, beyond just graphics. What my first post was getting at, was that I thought graphics was not what Nintendo has ever been focused on delivering, and all that they always focus on is including features that brings new gameplay mechanics. As you have said, the stuff has been done, so incoporating 3D just seems odd as it is just a graphic gimmick. Unless I am missing what the focus of the 3DS is, but all their marketing seems to be on that as the number 1 feature.

          • It’s the number 1 feature because Nintendo is capitalizing on the 3D craze that the masses are going through now. They weren’t actually expecting it though. Out of all the features though, 3D is just the easiest thing to talk about.


            I’m sure you’ve seen this before.
            (On a personal note. I cannot get over how much the music in this trailer reminds me so much of the Runaway Five from Earthbound.)

          • The 3ds isn’t out yet. 3d is the easiest, aspect to market for it, as Tommy Lee said.

            Look at it this way: When the iphone came out, it was just marketed as a phone; now look at what it can do?

    • NeoTechni

      “So 3D does not actually provide any benefit to the gameplay experience? ”

      yes it does.

      • Testsubject909

        I’d argue head tracking would provide a greater sense of 3D without having to rely on stereoscopic 3D, though that would mean the camera would need to be capable of determining who is the player by a face recognition program and then follow that person’s face and only that person’s face (So people watching over your shoulder wouldn’t screw up your game).

        This would be far more interactive then a stereoscopic 3D game, and could also help for the depth perception in it’s own way, as well as for other sorts of games, amongst which I can think off the top of my head would be adventure, puzzle, horror, stealth and action if pulled off nicely enough.

        Plus, 3D doesn’t work with everyone too, so the “benefit of 3D” becomes a selective thing here. Sure, those who suffer from lazy eyes or any other visual detriment that prevent them from properly viewing a Stereoscopic 3D experience are low, but those who do gain headaches and the likes from the experience are substantial enough.

        Head tracking with a smart camera built in would enable all to experience a 3D experience, without having the game Pop out, but rather, having you be Sucked in, which I would argue is FAR more interactive and far more impressive then a gimmick.

        Mind you, the gimmick is impressive, but that doesn’t prevent it from being a gimmick which I feel is inferior to the alternative I’ve provided above.

        So the benefit is pretty limited if you ask me, with better alternative that, arguably, would take a bit more work to get working, though with the technology demonstrated, would not be impossible…


        Screw Stereoscopic 3D. There are better ways to provide a 3D feel.

        • NeoTechni

          I would argue youre right

  • luckgandor

    I expected to see this problem addressed prior to release, but I still can’t understand why parents would decide to purchase a 3DS for a child under 6. Maybe it’s because I’m not a parent, but there sure seems to be more pros then there are cons associated with a very young person possessing an expensive piece of technology.

    • puchinri

      I was just thinking the same thing.

    • “They saw other children(the 7+ crowd) having fun with their DSes and wouldn’t stop asking me, so I eventually caved in.” -quoted from a distant relative. … Perhaps I shouldn’t bring my portables to family gatherings anymore. I’m like the first domino to be pushed down…

      • Joanna

        haha, I had the same effect on my younger cousins. xD

  • BadenBadenPrinny

    My relatively high interest just skyrocketed. 3D Disabled 3DS, gooooooooooooooo!

  • Hmm, nice! But I’m gonna play the 3DS with 3D most of the time anyway.

  • All i hope is that we can move our heads from time to time without losing the 3D effect -.- i normally stare at the screen from multiple angles

    • NeoTechni

      Nope. Move outside a very specific bubble and the effect is lost.

  • Nintendo were adament about being able to control the amount of 3D you could see, so this isn’t surprising and will swing those who can’t view 3D in their favour.

  • PrinceHeir

    i think it’s good choice it’s not a requirement to play 3DS games on 3D not only it will drain the battery more, it will surely damage your eye when playing on one go.

    let’s see how the PSP2 can add a feature that is unique than the 3DS :D

    • Apollokids

      whatever. i still think the psp2 will be able to play ps2 games. even 3dgames can’t compete with ps2 library. in any case, this is just another gimmick. and a 3ds without 3d- is just another repackaged DS. i can already see the 3ds life… zelda mario metroid smash brothers pokemon- new system announced

      • PrinceHeir

        why you grumpy? :D

        im just glad the 3DS has these feature, though im still mad at them removing region free just because of parental bullsh*t

        im still looking forward for PSP2, shouldn’t be their main goal is to play as close as the early PS3 titles touting it the first handheld HD?

        hopefully PSP2 has a UMD disc(just for backward compatible sake) and a region free code :)

        • Apollokids

          I think the psp2 will not have backwards compatibility and will also not play ps1 games (though it probably could). Their strategy could be very clean cut. Psp and ps1 games for the PSP. PSP2 and ps2 games for the PSP2. Ps3 game for the home console. Anything else would cut into other profits. Allowing the psp2 to be backwards compatible with the psp will bring the latters’ life closer to a close. Might also create more security vulnerabilities but i am not so versed in that area and so i just presume..

          • PrinceHeir

            i don’t think PSP2 will lose it’s BC, because im %100 sony will keep the PSN service to PS4, so we still can play the old PS1 classic games on either PS4 and PSP2 and that is why im thankful for the developers that keeps releasing their PS1 games, we can still play them till we die(or sony dies)

            if Nintendo 3DS allows BC to all ds and dsi games i don’t see why Sony won’t do the same.

            as much as you tighten the security somebody from the world will crack it, no matter how protective you are.

          • PrinceHeir

            oh i forgot they are already releasing PS2 games called Classics or Collection?(see God of war and ICO)

            you can still buy lots of older PS2 games nowadays(i just recently bought a New Black Label version of Xenosaga Ep I for $49.99) the only games the are really rare are 1st gen PS2 games and that’s it. every game release around 2006 or so you can get one way or the other.

      • lostinblue

        And I still think Dreamcast 2 will have blast processing.

        PS3 lacks the hardware to emulate PS2 software, no chance PSP2 will. Live with it.

    • Exkaiser

      Actually, it won’t damage your eyes, just fatigue them.

      Nothing that won’t be reversed with a good night’s sleep.

  • malek86

    It’s kinda weird, with the 3D clearly being the primary selling point of the 3DS, that they would suggest a good chunk of their target demographics to not use it.

    I guess kids can still play games normally, but when most advertising is centered around the 3D effect (I imagine that will be the case), it would really suck for them to not be able to use it for them.

    Also, parental locking on 360/PS3 games hasn’t stopped people from complaining about violence in videogames, so i wonder if we’re going to get a big fuss about how 3D is ruining the eyes of our children or something like that.

    • Joanna

      “It’s kinda weird, with the 3D clearly being the primary selling point of the 3DS, that they would suggest a good chunk of their target demographics to not use it.”

      Nah, that’s not really what they are doing. Nintendo aren’t marketing this at kids, recall those TV commerials for Japan, all young adults (plus majority of the games announced for 3DS aren’t really for kids even if kids do play them). What they are doing however, is opening this product up to more demographics and since children don’t control the cash flow, they are also appealing to parents.

      Yeah it would suck, but in Nintendo’s perspective (a business perspective), if you don’t convince the parent (via this 3D lock), you aren’t going to get a sale anyways.

      True, but making these kinds of announcements is better than nothing. It increases the chance that those parents who do care, may be more open to buying their child the device (not even necessarily for those 6 and under, some parents are really overprotective and may fear that it could damage a 12 year olds eyes, for example.) So yeah, I think business-wise, this makes perfect sense if you are trying to appeal to as large a demographic as possible, which seems to be Nintendo’s strategy since this gen.

  • Testsubject909

    You know, it doesn’t matter what warning they give.

    Most parents probably won’t think about the long term damage children could have playing this stuff. Some rich or middle class parents out there will probably just buy a 3DS for their little kid, punish them if they break em, and not give a damn about the 3D slider.

    Probably activate it if bothered about it and forget about the kid.

    Parenting for the win, brought to you by modern civilization.


    …But seriously. Seeing how the tech shows that the cam can possibly recognize your face (Love Plus). Making the internal camera capable of minimal motion and enabling both head tracking and face recognition to follow only the face of the player would provide a greater sensation of interaction and immersion.

    Screw this stereoscopic 3D fad and let it die…

    Actually, thinking upon it… I’ll welcome it… Welcome to DIE!

  • WonderSteve

    Personally I am looking forward to the “enhanced graphics capability” more than the 3D effect. Seems like it is close to the level of Gamecube.

    But for a handheld, 299 is too much.

    • puchinri

      Agreed on both accounts.
      I’m really hoping other regions won’t have it for such an expensive price tag.
      (Unless the price was already released for everyone else?)

      • I’m not sure if we’ll hear anything before this but there’ll be 3DS press events in Amsterdam and New Amsterdam a.k.a. New York City on the 19th.

        • puchinri

          I had completely forgotten about that. I look forward that.

  • Tom_Phoenix

    I am willing to bet that Nintendo is going to use this as an excuse to implement region lockout (although I certainly wish they wouldn’t). I know that sounds silly, but it’s not like they didn’t use parental controls as an excuse before…

  • Detrimental to the eyes…? Funny, now a lot of kiddies movies are in 3D. That’s not good…

    • Nintendo was referring to the cross-eyed method required to view 3D on the 3DS. They were not referring to 3D polarized glasses, as those don’t affect the eyes in the way the 3DS could.

  • Tokyo Guy

    Ok, having used the Sharp LYNX 3D phone for a week or so (and then having sold it because said phone is one of the worst Android phones made and proves the Japanese companies still have no clue how to make smartphones) I must make the unfortunate announcement that the 3D gimmick with the 3DS is going to be a total failure.

    As Sharp is making the screens for the 3DS, there seems to be no doubt whatsoever that the recent Galapagos (Softbank) and LYNX (Docomo) phones are using the same screens, with the same technology.

    First off, the 3D factor does, for a minute or two, impress. It looks realistic enough that you will actually put your finger in front of the screen just out of sheer disbelief for the effect. But after the initial factor wears off, it becomes little more than a gimmick. And I fully believe the health risks. I started to have eye strain after about 5 minutes of playing the pre-installed Earth Defense Force game, for example. Furthermore, the screen resolution changes when it goes into 3D mode and the color and quality take a hit.

    I’m honestly not sure why Nintendo was foolish enough to try and include this gimmick in the new DS. Quite frankly, all it needed to do was make a more powerful DS and everyone would have bought it. Furthermore, HAD Nintendo done that, it might not have needed to charge so much such as to make the 3DS cost prohibitive for a large part of its market.

  • Caligula

    It’s a nice idea, I guess, but I can’t see a lot of parents using it. Most parents seem to be pretty clueless about gaming systems. If it were me, though, I wouldn’t be buying a 3DS for a child under the age of six anyway.

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