I had the opportunity to experiment the new Nintendo 3DS and I must admit I am impressed.
- First, the 3D effect, with NO special glasses, is amazing. Most of the games I played offered a true depth of field. And when you turn off the 3D rendering, you really miss the benefit of the 3D.
- Second, the machine is powerful enough. I played Resident Evil 5 and it looks as good as the home console version.
- Third, Nintendo is offering a very interesting feature that fits very well with current design trends, the StreetPass.When this feature is on, your 3DS will exchange data with any nearby 3DS.
- Fourth, you can take good quality 3D pictures and once you have tasted 3D, it's hard to get back !
I predict a very nice commercial success for this machine but this blog is devoted to game design issues. So will it have an impact on the design of games as deep as the DS or the Wii had ? Here is my analysis:
3D makes games more immersive but I don't see new gameplays emerging from it. We'll probably see a few games whose gameplay takes some advantage of the extra depth of field but those will be highly specialized, puzzle-like, applications.
On the contrary, the StreetPass feature offers much more potential for novel gameplays. Why ? The success of Free-to-Play games largely relies on the player's interactions with his friends. In particular, F2P games give the players the tools to do two things he could not well before: Sharing and expressing himself, a.k.a showing off. The new 3DS feature expand that. You'll be now able to interact with total strangers nnd the fun will come from the surprise of what you get from them.
The 3DS will probably not impact game design the way its predecesors have done but it is a great machine built for success and I wish it good luck.
As usual, feel free to comment on my latest post. I'll do my best to answer all your comments.