Nintendo 3DS

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Nintendo 3DS

An Aqua Blue Nintendo 3DS model
Also known as 3DS (abbreviation)
iQue 3DS
Developer(s) Nintendo Research & Engineering
Manufacturer(s) Nintendo, Foxconn
Type(s) Handheld console
Generation Eighth generation
Release date Japan February 26, 2011
Europe March 25, 2011[1]
USA March 27, 2011
Canada March 27, 2011[2]
Australia March 31, 2011[3]
Brazil July 9, 2011
South Korea April 28, 2012
HK September 28, 2012[4]
ROC September 28, 2012[5]
Introductory price Japan 25,000¥ (initial release)
Japan 15,000¥ (lowered price)
USA $249.99 (initial release)
USA $169.99 (lowered price)
Australia $349.95 (initial release)
Australia $249.95 (lowered price)
Discontinued September 16, 2020
Media Main:
Nintendo 3DS Game Card
Digital distribution
SD/SDHC card
Backward compatible:
Nintendo DS Game Card
Nintendo DSi Game Card
Input A/B/X/Y buttons, Circle Pad, L/R bumpers, D-pad, 3D depth slider, volume slider, wireless switch, power button
Power 1300 mAh, 3.7 V lithium-ion battery
CPU Dual-core ARM11 MPCore @ 268 MHz
Single-core ARM9
Memory 128 MB FCRAM, 6 MB VRAM (Fujitsu MB82M8080-07L FC-RAM)
Storage 2 GB Toshiba eMMC
Display 2 TN LCD screens:
Upper: 3.53" autostereoscopic (3D) LCD @ 800 × 240 px (400 × 240 WQVGA per eye)
Lower: 3.00" resistive touchscreen LCD @ 320 × 240 (QVGA)
Dimensions Width: 134 mm (5.3 in)
Height: 74 mm (2.9 in)
Depth: 21 mm (0.83 in)
Weight 8.3 ounces (235 grams)
ESRB: - Everyone
PEGI: - Seven years and older
ACB: - Parental Guidance
USK: - All ages
Best-selling game Mario Kart 7 (18.97 million units, as of March 2022)[6]
Predecessor Nintendo DS

The Nintendo 3DS is an eighth generation handheld system created and manufactured by Nintendo. The system was released in 2011 as the successor to the Nintendo DS. The Nintendo 3DS uses a similar clamshell design as its predecessor and retains some of the Nintendo DS's definitive features, such as a lower Touch Screen, a Microphone input, and a Stylus. Adding to this, the Nintendo 3DS's primary feature is the 3D display on the upper screen, which could display autostereoscopic images via parallax barrier technology. The Nintendo 3DS is backwards compatible with both Nintendo DS cartridges and downloadable Nintendo DSi titles.

Since its release, the Nintendo 3DS has spawned a few models. The first remodel is the Nintendo 3DS XL, released in 2012, and its main difference is a larger screen size, much like the relation of the Nintendo DSi XL to the original Nintendo DSi. The second remodel is the Nintendo 2DS, released in 2013, and it is primarily marketed toward younger audiences, with its two main differences being the removal of stereoscopic 3D and having a tablet design instead of a clamshell one. The New Nintendo 3DS, released in 2014, has improved specifications, a second small control stick, and a slightly larger screen but smaller than a Nintendo 3DS XL's.

The Nintendo 3DS was eventually discontinued in 2020. It is a popular handheld console, and has sold 75.94 million units as of March 2022.

The latest firmware version for Nintendo 3DS, 11.16.0-48, was released on August 29, 2022.


Nintendo 3DS units have a metallic-like design, and their upper screen is slightly wider than the bottom Touch Screen. Nintendo 3DS Game Cards have a small groove which prevents them from being inserted into an older Nintendo DS. The game boxes are similar in shape but are not as thick. The Virtual Boy was able to project a red and black 3D image via the rubber glasses on the console.

Upon turning the power on, the system's Home menu displays several scrollable boxes which act as software apps, each with a different picture for an icon. The player is able to open software by tapping the icon with the Stylus. An inserted game cartridge will appear as a cartridge-shaped icon and will appear as white or grey, depending on which game software.

The Nintendo 3DS features StreetPass, which allows the console to send and receive title data with other Nintendo 3DS units within a certain range while in sleep mode. Up to twelve titles can have StreetPass activated at a time. The Nintendo 3DS has a notification light that turns light green to indicate when StreetPass data has been exchanged. There is a very similar feature named SpotPass except it requires an Internet connection to be used and the notification light turns light blue to indicate whenever it has received SpotPass data.

The Nintendo 3DS features limited multitasking. Software in use can be suspended with the HOME Button button any time the software is open (except occasionally during online play) in order to change the screen brightness, switch to another software, check the Friend List, browse the Internet, post to Miiverse, organize the HOME menu, and check notifications from StreetPass and SpotPass.

The system has a built-in Step Counter, which keeps track of the number of steps that the user takes while the power is on and the system is closed. Every 100 steps earns the user a Play Coin, which can be used in certain Nintendo 3DS titles. If the microphone picks up activity while on the HOME menu, the icon on the top screen reacts by either spinning or rising up.

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The Nintendo 3DS comes with several preinstalled apps.

App Wi-Fi Active? Description
Miiverse Required No (closed on November 7, 2017 at 10:00 p.m. PST) Allows users to post messages and screenshots with other 3DS and Wii U users.
Nintendo eShop Required No (closed March 27, 2023) Allows users to buy and download games.
Swapnote (USA)/Nintendo Letter Box (EU) Optional (required for sharing) Partial (SpotPass support ended on October 31, 2013, but Swapnote remained a downloadable eShop title until March 27, 2023) Allows users to post handwritten messages via SpotPass.
Friend List Optional (required for SpotPass functionally) Yes Allows users to share friends via SpotPass and StreetPass.
Face Raiders Not required Yes Allows users to play the game with the camera.
AR Games Not required Yes Allows users to play games using AR cards and camera.
Internet Browser Required Yes Allows users to browse the web.
Mii Maker Optional Yes Allows users to create Mii avatars.
Quick Notes Not required Yes Allows users to write and draw notes.
StreetPass Mii Plaza Optional Yes for core features (DLCs was unavailable as of March 27, 2023) Allows users to visit friends via StreetPass and play games.
Nintendo 3DS Camera Not required Yes Allows users to take 3D photos and record 3D videos using the dual cameras.
Nintendo 3DS Sound Not required Yes Allows users to record sounds up to 10 seconds long and adjust with effects.

Nintendo eShop[edit]

The Nintendo eShop was a place where users download and buy games. In February 2022, Nintendo announced that it, along the Wii U eShop, would be closed in March 27, 2023 with the credit card support ending on May 23, 2022 and Nintendo eShop gift card support ending on August 29, 2022. There were over 4,800 games, 350 of which are first-party games. The number of games in each genre are as follows:

  • 600+ platform games
  • 600+ adventure games
  • 450+ role-playing games
  • 400+ racing games
  • 400+ action games
  • 300+ simulation games
  • 300+ puzzle games
  • 200+ shooter games
  • 500+ games from other genres

There were also over 400 Virtual Console games and over 200 DSiWare games.

The last third-party game produced for 3DS was Gal Galaxy Pain, which was released as a digital-only title on April 14, 2022, over 11 months before the Nintendo 3DS eShop closes.

Even after the Nintendo DSi Shop Channel closed in March 2017, DSiWare games continued to appear on Nintendo 3DS eShop until March 27, 2023.

Internet Browser[edit]

The Nintendo 3DS showing Wikipedia main page

The Nintendo 3DS comes with Internet Browser. It renders some HTML5 and JavaScript content. Users can save up to 64 bookmarks (99 for new 3DS models). It passed Acid1 and Acid2 tests and scored 69/100 in Acid3, though it does not render box shadows and text shadows. Most websites now use SSL certificates that the 3DS cannot handle, which means that several websites, such as Wikipedia and Miraheze, can no longer connect. Due to memory limitations, very large pages may not fully load.


The Nintendo 3DS has a dual-core 268 MHz ARM11 processor and single-core ARM9 processor. It also has 128 MB of RAM and 2 GB of flash storage. It comes with 2 GB SD card, which can be expandable to 32 GB. It also has 6 MB of VRAM. Its performance is on a par with Nintendo GameCube and original iPhone. It has 2 screens: 3.53 inches (800x240, 400x240 viewable) and 3 inches (320x240). It supports 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g Wi-Fi.