Nintendo 3DS delayed until March 2011 for US consumers

The upcoming glasses-free 3D enabled Nintendo 3DS handheld game console will be released on February 26th next year in Japan, with the company now confirming that it will not be released in time for the 2010 holiday shopping season.

Instead of a rushed 2010 release, Nintendo will take its time and preview the device during CES and other events.

Nintendo 3DS delayed until March 2011 for US consumers

The device was first publicly introduced during the E3 keynote in June, although an official launch date was never released. The 3DS is now scheduled to  launch in February in Japan and has an expected U.S. release date of March 2011, with a price tag around $300.

Earlier in the month, hardware details emerged that showed the new handheld console will use two 266MHz ARM11 CPUs, 133MHz GPU, 64MB RAM, 4MB VRAM and 1.5GB of flash memory. Nintendo will also include an accelerometer and gyroscope integrated in the 3DS, packing in features that it hopes will keep it one step ahead of the competition.

The Japanese game company also will include a built-in camera that is able to natively shoot 3D photos.

“Nintendo has been thinking that hand-held devices have many more advantages when approaching 3-D games,” Nintendo President Satoru Iwata noted during a press conference in Japan. “In the case of 3-D games with stationary consoles, it is only a small portion of customers who actually play on 3-D-ready TVs.”

It was previously announced the 3DS would have strong anti-piracy measures, and it will reportedly have even more anti-piracy protections than previously believed.

The 3DS launch date has remained a mystery throughout the summer, with Nintendo officials giving vague statements in regards to its release. Missing the 2010 holiday shopping season that begins after Thanksgiving will be costly for Nintendo — but it’s a better decision than trying to rush a subpar product to market.