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Nintendo Brings New Services to 3DS

StreetPass, SpotPass, Mii Studio, 3D movies and augmented reality on the way for new platform.

 

Nintendo is packing the 3DS with new services. We've already summed up the system's new download initiatives. Here's a look at some of the other services Nintendo is readying under the concepts of “Carry Around, Affect Each Other and Something New Every Day."

The English naming used in the below descriptions comes from the official English transcript of today's Nintendo Conference 2010 press conference. You can see the presentation page for yourself here. I've marked wherever the English naming isn't final.

StreetPass

The final English name for "Surechigai" isn't Tag Mode, but "StreetPass." The new name is a closer approximation of "Surechigai," an actual Japanese phrase that can mean "passing by someone."

Street Pass allows 3DS users to exchange data with other players while the system is in sleep mode. Different from the DS implementation of "Tag Mode," 3DS's "StreetPass" is handled at the system level, with the 3DS hardware automatically exchanging data with other players without your having to be in the game.

Comparison of StreetPass and Tag Mode.

The 3DS hardware has an LED in its upper right which lights up when a StreetPass communication takes place. Once you've received a StreetPass communication, you can check your "Notification Applet" to see the kind of communication that took place. The "Notification Applet" is known in Japanese as "Oshirase List," or "Notice List."

Mii Studio

Mii Studio is a portable implementation of the Wii's Mii creation tool. Nintendo says the term "Mii Studio" may not be the final English name.

3DS's implementation of Miis gives you access to more parts for customization. You can also use your existing Mii characters, take pictures of your face and make adjustments from the resulting model, and make use of automatic creation features by selecting basic options for hair style, skin, eyes and so-forth.

You'll be able to better show off your Miis on 3DS. You'll be able to convert them to QR form. The QR code and Mii picture data can be output to SD in commonly-used formats. Iwata suggested using this to place your Mii or its QR code on your home page.

3DS owners also have access to StreetPass Mii Plaza. This, Nintendo says, is also a temporary name (it's a direct translation of the Japanese Surechigai Mii Hiroba).

When you have a StreetPass communication with other players, your Mii character will also be exchanged. External Miis will appear in the StreetPass Mii Plaza. The Mii is shown next to an icon showing what game the Mii's owner previously played. You can also find out when the StreetPass took place and how many people that person has StreetPassed with.

You'll find a few Mii-related videos here.

AR Games

AR stands for "Augmented Reality," a technology that can be used to place 3D objects in your pictures. Nintendo says that it hasn't finalized this as the English name, although it is the common term for the technology.

3DS will come pre-installed with a program called "AR Games" (also a temporary name) which will allow gamers to experience the technology. Iwata said at the press conference that Nintendo wants 3DS owners and the people surrounding them to experience the "unusual feeling" of the AR technology.

You can see videos of the AR Games functionality here.

Home Menu

When playing 3DS games, you can press the Home Button to quickly bring up the system's Home menu. From here, you can access various hardware features while the game is paused. This includes the system's web browser. You'll be able to quickly return back to the game.

You can see videos of the Home menu and switching to the internet browser here.

Activity Log

The English name for "Omoide Kirokucho" is "Activity Log." This tracks the number of footsteps you've made while carrying your 3DS with you and how long you've played your various games. The log can display your footsteps in graph form.

Nintendo 3DS Camera

3DS has three cameras -- two on the outside and one on the inside. The two cameras allow the system to take 3D photos, which can then be viewed right on the spot. The system includes a variety of sound and camera functions built in. One of these features allows you to take pictures of faces using both the inside and outside camera, and then merge these into one.

You can see a video of Iwata merging his face with Miyamoto at this page of the presentation slide show.

SpotPass

This is the English name for the feature that's known in Japanese as "Itsunoma no Tsuushin." When you put your 3DS in sleep mode, it will not only communicate with other 3DS systems for StreetPass exchanges, but with Wi-Fi access points as well for SpotPass communications. Under SpotPass, once the system has found an access point, it will download such things as rankings, ghost data, free software and notifications. You'll be able to pre set the kinds of things you want transferred in this fashion.

Nintendo says that it will be attempting to give the system access to a greater number of access points that will not require any type of setting inputs. This includes current DS Stations kiosks, which are now in 1,000 retail outlets. Nintendo will be converting these to full Nintendo Zones services, which means 3DS owners will be able to use them for SpotPass data transfer. 3DS users will, of course, also have access to current Nintendo Zone services, which are available in McDonalds and other facilities.

Nintendo is also teaming up with communications giants NTT East and NTT West to give 3DS users access to WiFine access points throughout Japan. This means that by March 2011 the 3DS will be able to access some 2,000 access points in train stations, airports and restaurants.

3D Movies

One of the 3DS features Nintendo announced at E3 was the system's ability to show 3D movies. Nintendo will be highlighting this non-gaming feature through individual collaborations with Fuji Television and Nippon Television. The studios will be distributing free 3D videos to 3DS devices via SpotPass.

Said Iwata of this 3D video distribution initiative, "We are hoping that it will be one of the solutions to tackle the chicken and the egg problem and become the trigger for the 3D footage business to emerge on Nintendo 3DS."

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