Seven years and 4 models later, Nintendo launched the Nintendo 3DS, which raked in the highest sales in Nintendo handheld console history. The Nintendo 3DS looks similar to its predecessors. The same clamshell appearance and LCD plus touch screen. One particular ingenious new feature of the 3DS has made it different from any other DS. The Nintendo 3DS can create an illusion on screen using binocular vision or depth perception, making the graphics appear as if they are 3D. This sparkled interest in the gaming community and took game play to a whole new level.
The Nintendo 3DS has numerous technical improvements from its predessors. The 3DS has a plug cartridge slot that allows all games from previous DS models to be played. Though in some games, especially those built for smaller DS frames such as the DS or DS Lite, pictures on the screen may appear slightly stretched out and blurry. It also features the Nintendo ‘Spot Pass’, which is a permanently turned on application that connects the device to any WiFi Hotspot, allowing it to connect to the Internet. Another unique feature of the 3DS is its ‘Street Pass’. Like the “Spot Pass”, this feature is enabled even when the console is in sleep mode. Street Pass allows game players to interact with each other when they get within a certain distance from one another. It is a somewhat altered version of reality where if game players pass each other on the street, their game avatars do the same. Their Nintendo characters, provided that they play the same game, will share game information or challenge each other for a virtual combat.
For more subtle socializing, the 3DS also offers its take on social networking. The Miiverse, in which personalized virtual characters are created using Miimaker, allows game players to meet and make friends with each other in the virtual world. Similar to the DSi, the 3DS also has an online store, now renamed to the Nintendo Eshop. Game players can buy games and applications at the Nintendo Eshop. However, unlike the DSi Shop, Nintendo points have been made redundant and game players have to make their purchase real cash. The Nintendo 3DS Eshop offers more games from the previous GBA series than the DSi shop. This makes its game compatibility somewhat wider.
Six months after the initial release of the 3DS, sales proved to be unexpectedly disappointing. Therefore, Nintendo decided to draw in more game players by offering 10 free new GBA games through the Nintendo Eshop, provided that the 3DS was bought at regular price. It was an effective tactic as sales skyrocketed. In 2012, one year after the outstanding success, an upgrade to the 3DS was released. The updated version, 3DS XL, has a bigger screen. Game players loved both 3DS and 3DS XL. The two consoles allowed Nintendo to report the highest profits recorded since the release of the original Game Boy.