$250 3DS out in the US March 27, hits Europe March 25

European pricing to be determined by retailers

$250 3DS out in the US March 27, hits Europe March 25
It's hard to know whether Nintendo Europe's big 3DS exposé in Amsterdam was a bastion for all things new, or a rerun of an approach the industry has seen countless times before.

Holding a press conference - apparently designed to reveal every minute detail of the platform's launch - that fails to pin down a price, for example, is certainly different.

While those gathered at a similar event in the US were informed 3DS will retail for $249.99, launching on March 27, Nintendo Europe president Saturo Shibata said the device has no RRP on this side of the Atlantic.

Instead, its price will be 'determined by retailers' – a somewhat worrying statement, given some online retailers are currently charging £300 for pre-orders.

In with the old

In truth, it's an especially unlikely price point (HMV and Game have 3DS listed at £229.99, for instance) and European gamers can fall back on one advantage over their American cousins: its launch date.

Backed up a 25 strong roster of games in its launch windows, Nintendo's 3DS will debut in Europe on March 25.

On board – and at the event itself to back Nintendo up – are a typical assortment of major publishers, with Konami unveiling Pro Evolution 2011 3D, Capcom Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, Tecmo Dead or Alive Dimensions and Ubisoft a whole roster of releases, including new additions to both Driver and Asphalt series.

Whether intentional or not, 3DS's launch seems to pick up exactly where DS is set to leave off, backwards compatibility an obvious carrot-on-stick to dangle over current owner's heads.

Apple and co. are unlikely to be all too worried when such games come with a £40 price tag, however.

Mobile muddle

It's 3DS's features that, from a mobile perspective, might perk Nintendo's newfound rivals' collective interest.

Pushed at the event were SpotPass – a set up that allows 3DS units to connect to wi-fi hotspots without prompting while users are out and about, with BT Fon Nintendo's partner in the UK.

Another feature is StreetPass, which allows the console to automatically exchange data with other 3DS units in the nearby area; the idea being to facilitate online play in an easier fashion.

But, while Shibata promised an overhaul to its online store front E-Shop – Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles joining a line up of original digital releases – the new marketplace, crucially, won't be available at launch, added via a software update at a later date.

As such, a marketplace that offers the potency of the App Store seems unlikely, meaning the intrusion of smartphones into the handheld space looks set to continue, rather than reverse, post 3DS launch.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.