Nintendo's sudden announcement of a planned successor to its DS portable system -- one with the ability to play 3D games without glasses -- came at an odd time. One would have expected the company to save such a reveal for E3 2010, and major announcements hardly ever surface this early in the post-GDC spring lead-up to the event.
It's especially odd considering the announcement's proximity to the launch of the DSI XL in North America. Nintendo had hoped to entice consumers with the enlarged system's larger screens, a task no doubt made more difficult by news that an even newer portable is in the works.
The tentatively-titled Nintendo 3DS will feature not only naked-eye 3D and backwards compatibility, but Japanese business reports also suggest it will sport force feedback, better battery life and possibly even a tilt-sensitive accelerometer. It's slated to launch in Nintendo's coming fiscal year, which ends March 2011.
New media reports suggest press leaks in Japan, where the DSI XL has already been out for some time, forced Nintendo's hand even at the expense of Nintendo of America.
"Apparently, the Japanese press was all over it and talked with suppliers there and Nintendo just wanted to get out ahead by breaking the news to prevent a leak," M2 Research senior analyst Billy Pigeon told CNBC. "Does it clash with the DSi XL? Yes, it does."
The analyst suggested that the DSi XL, however, still sees consumer demand, and that it could also create space for a DS price cut "from a position of strength" rather than because of competitive pressures from devices like iPhone -- although those surely exist.