Nintendo’s initial unveiling of its glasses-free portable handheld system the 3DS at 2010’s annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (lovingly called E3 by gaming enthusiasts and the press alike) was met with nearly unanimous praise. And that’s disregarding the ‘cheap heat’ the company generated by providing the mostly male audience gathered at its conference a hands-on demonstration via units tethered to the supple bodies of young female models.
Though early reports praised the device for actually delivering on the promise of 3D-gaming sans clunky glasses, as the year wore on the hype cooled and early revelry turned to stern discussion: Could the 3DS damage your eyes?
Nintendo issued warnings about the 3DS at E3 2010 and discussed the potential eye damage 3D viewing could cause in young children. It remained an issue for the remainder of the year. Then, in January, ophthalmologists dismissed Nintendo’s fears as scientifically unfounded. The American Optometric Association (AMA) even came forward to say 3D movies and games may actually prove beneficial for kids by ferreting out potential vision disorders before they devolve into something far worse.
What some dubbed a simple case of a hardware manufacturer doing its best to avoid any lawsuits that could arise (a ‘just in case’ clause, as it were) ended with doctors balking at their fears.
But Nintendo is sticking to its guns, and is even ostensibly discarding previous gameplay concepts displayed last year over worries that some may be unable to see them.
Wired’s GameLife spoke to Nintendo 3DS producer Hideki Konno, who said that despite past demonstrations the company wouldn’t pursue titles that required 3D-viewing in order to play. “We want to get software out to as many people as possible, and there are some people who just can’t see 3-D,” Konno told the site. “We’re moving away from any stance that says if you don’t use the 3-D functionality you can’t play this game.”
GameLife notes Konno is referring to an E3 demo that utilized the portable’s 3D technology to display various platforms which players would need to jump across — an effect negated if the device’s 3D effect was turned off via the 3D slider.
While far from a call against including novel uses of 3D technology in future 3DS titles, Konno’s comments mark yet another footnote surrounding the system’s key feature. It’s unclear if his remarks – which reflect Nintendo’s stance – will trickle down to other game development studios.