Nintendo 3DS

3DS Development Costs May Approach Wii Levels



At a post-E3 conference Q&A session with various analysts, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata commented on the hardware upgrade from Nintendo DS to 3DS, and how developers should expect the new device to affect their costs of development.


“As long as you are already creating a fully rendered 3D world, all you have to do in order to create the 3D visual effect is to capture the same images with two cameras, one for right eye and the other for left eye,” said Iwata. “From a development perspective, it actually does not make much of a difference in terms of development costs to create the 3D visual effect.”


For those who couldn’t quite wrap their heads around yesterday’s 3DS GPU specifications, what this means is that every game running in 3D is rendering its visuals twice. This is why the 3DS’s “effective” resolution while running 3D software is horizontally doubled to 800×240 px, instead of 400×240 px, which is the device’s standard screen resolution.


“On the other hand, because the visual capabilities of Nintendo 3DS are more powerful than the existing Nintendo DS, if you are going to take full advantage of the graphics capability of Nintendo 3DS, the development cost is also expected to rise,” Iwata continued.


“Therefore, if developers decide to try and maximize the graphical powers of the system, then the cost would be more expensive than what it is currently for Nintendo DS and may potentially approach the cost of developing Wii software. “

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.