8:33AM We've taken our seats, we're rocking out to some tunes, and patiently waiting for Reggie Fils-Aime to take the stage. Head past the break for all the liveblog fun!
This is where you'll want to point your browsers on Wednesday morning. We already know a lot about the no-glasses-needed 3D handheld, but we've got just as many blanks that need filling in ... like the price, or the North American release date. And perhaps there may be a couple "unexpected revivals" in store as well. And it all goes down on Wednesday, January 19th at the times below. In the meantime, why don't you catch up on all things 3DS.
04:00AM - Hawaii
06:00AM - Pacific
07:00AM - Mountain
08:00AM - Central
09:00AM - Eastern
02:00PM - London
03:00PM - Paris
05:00PM - Moscow
10:00PM - Perth
10:00PM - Shenzhen
11:00PM - Tokyo
01:00AM - Sydney (January 20th)
9:40AM And that's it – Reggie's off the stage, and we're off to get some gaming on. Thanks for reading!
9:40AM They've got more than 130 gameplay stations for us to get our mitts on behind the curtains on the right side of the room. And that's it. What? Did you want some "unexpected reveals"? Talk to Jonathan Ross, bub. We just work here.
9:39AM "Nintendo 3DS is 3D games plus 3D video plus 3D photography. No special glasses or skills required to enjoy it. And above all, Nintendo 3DS is distinct. It's a breakthrough. There's nothing else like it. It is ... a category of one."
9:38AM And the ship date: "Nintendo 3DS will be on retail shelves in the US on March 27th."
9:37AM "In all, we expect to have more than a million Americans experience 3DS first-hand through our programs this summer." "Now, let's get down to the key news: when and how much?" He said focus groups were consistently saying 3DS was worth between $300 and $400, "but of course we're not going there. The price: $249.99.
9:36AM Here's another big one: GameBoy and GameBoy Color hits will be available on the Virtual Console, in addition to downloadable games (think DSiWare) and 3D game demos. No word about actual DS or 3DS games available on the service, so we're guessing that's a no go. He says the entire shop experience is "smoother, simpler, and more robust." Let's hope we see some of these changes come to other platforms, like the Wii Shop Channel.
9:35AM Reggie's quick to point out that other updates will be available via simple software updates. But oh, what's this? "There's an important change in the way that friend codes are implemented. There's only one code necessary and you only need to register it once." Whoa! That sounds more and more like a real online multiplayer system (albeit one obfuscated by codes instead of names ... but we'll take it!). He said the codes are not unique on different software, and Nintendo's making it easier to find your friends in-game.
9:32AM The device comes with some software: An activity tracker that, well, keeps track of your activities. From game playing to your steps, thanks to a built-in pedometer. What do you get? Coins! Also: A Mii Maker, similar to the Wii, but coupled with the 3DS' front-facing camera. Face Raiders, which is some kind of shooting gallery using your own face. Freaky! AR Games uses AR cards (augmented reality for you latecomers out there) – plop down an AR card and games pop right out. An enhanced internet browser, video player, and audio software also come built-in.
9:29AM Also coming: Asphalt 3D and Combat of Giants 3D from Ubisoft, Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D, Ridge Racer 3D, and Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars. "I need to fill in the blanks on some missing launch details," Reggie said. "We expect consumer to choose from more than 30 Nintendo 3DS games," between launch and E3 in early June.
9:27AM Street Fighter IV 3D producer Yoshinori Ono is etailing the Street Pass system – walking down the street, little virtual people that live in your pocket will fight other little virtual people in other people's pockets and, when you both get home, you can see how many fights they got in and how much money they won. That's really strange, right? Of course, it's one of the 3DS' big features.
9:25AM Reggie promises that Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D and Madden NFL will both benefit from 3D graphics. Peter Moore is on video. "We have optimized this experience for three-dimensional elements." He says they're making it "more simplistic" using GameFlow, just like the latest Madden on the consoles.
9:23AM "We've got representative from seven different publishers" here to show off their games. He's not going to talk about every game, but he's going to go over a couple. Dead or Alive: Dimensions is the first game to get the spotlight. A video from one of the game's devs at Tecmo is talking it up. "You'll feel like the Nintendo 3DS screen is a lot bigger than it really is," he says. Yeah, but guys always say that.
9:21AM Next up: Steel Diver, one of the early DS tech demos, now reborn as an actual 3DS title. "Using the system's built-in gyroscope, you'll tilt your body to aim the periscope and fire." He suggested spinning around in an office chair; as fans of Rage for iOS, we can fully support this style of gameplay. At home. Don't try this on the subway. Also coming from Nintendo: Ocarina of Time and Kid Icarus, but he skimmed over those. He's all about third party now.
9:19AM "PilotWings Resort will have you flying over the same WooHoo Island you know from Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort." And of course, "what makes all of this new" is 3D. Next up: Nintendogs +Cats, which Reggie calls the most mainstream title. He says that while puppies will crave attention, you'll have to "work a little bit harder" to get love from a cat. It's true! It uses the front-facing camera to do some neat facial recognition – if a stranger plays with your dog and calls him over, he may get scared and bark. Neat!
9:17AM The 3D depth slider "works to adjust 3D to any degree that you like." "And of course, it never requires you to put on a pair of those fashionable 3D glasses." Man, you should've heard the way the announcer said "fashionable." Nintendo's really pushing the 3D photographic capabilities as an "in" to the system for non-gamers. We're not entirely sold on that. But enough about that! Reggie's back up to talk games.
9:14AM We're getting a really remedial walkthrough. It's got a plus-shaped control pad, and A, B, Y, and X buttons! The analog circle pad "opens up new worlds." Inside a built-in motion sensor and accelerometer delivers a lot of that Wii-style gaming. The Home button will "pause all action" even in the middle of games. You'll be able to switch to other features while your game waits, smartphone-style.
9:11AM In North America, the 3DS will be available in two colors: Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black.
9:11AM "Today we'll be announcing price, launch date, titles in the launch window, and other important news." That's the big stuff, folks. He says that about 50% of the people in the audience have never handled the 3DS.
9:10AM "While the Nintendo 3DS video games will be eye-popping all by itself, the system offers more than enough even for people who've never played a video game." It does that by offering 3D video playback and, of course, 3D photography. "Wouldn't it be great to have a 3D picture of your child and play back on the same device for years to come?" Uhh, maybe? I'm not sure breaking out the 10-year-old 3DS to look at baby pictures is the best idea.
9:08AM "This is a different kind of 3D. Not in theaters. Not at trade shows." Look ma, no glasses. He's talking about how players adjust the 3D to themselves, but says that "since the adjustment is so simple," the payoff is immediate.
9:07AM "Let me begin by putting the 3DS in perspective." (Get it?!) He's giving us a history lesson – this generation of gaming began at LA's Biltmore Hotel in 1996 when Mario 64 was shown at E3. Then again when the DS came out and again when the Wii was shown at E3. Notice a trend here? Hey, those are all made by Nintendo!
9:06AM Reggie's taken the stage, and ... uh oh. "The TVs are up here don't seem to be on." Uh oh, he's winging it! Wait, not so fast, they're back on. He's saying we'll get to experience the "opening of a vast new world of 3D entertainment." Some of the names may be familiar (see below) but he promises the experiences will be all new (read: in 3D).
9:04AM We're kicking things off with a hype reel of E3 coverage. Lots of mainstream media calling it "stunning" "amazing" etc.
9:03AM Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime just pulled up a spot next to Nilay. We hope he's just getting ready to take the stage and not looking to bust some blogger heads. The lights are dimming big time.
8:57AM "Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. The presentation will begin in five minutes," the disembodied voice on the loudspeaker declared. Get your stopwatches out, this ish is about to get real. We're not sure what that exactly means, but we're certain it's true.
8:55AM Only because they threw the first punch, I should point out that both Andrew and I are sitting next to Engadget's Nilay Patel and Ross Miller who've declared a liveblog war. This should be easy – they think we're here for the groundbreaking unveil of a new Bluetooth headset.
8:52AM Nintendo's got some private demo rooms outside the presentation area. You'll notice familiar names like PilotWings Resort, Steel Diver, Super Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil Mercenaries, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and others.
8:43AM Nintendo's got a small army of 3DS-equipped handlers, walking around the small venue. As for now, there's no sign of any of those "unexpected reveals" - it's all stuff we've seen before.