There’s a categorical existential crisis scenario in this context – why carry another device if your smartphone supports sufficient social gaming?
For Nintendo, which plans to release the 3DS Feb. 26 in Japan before a global launch in March, it is part of an effort to curb the threat from inexpensive social games played on Apple Inc.'s iPhone and cellphones running on Google Inc.'s Android operating system.
While the games on social-network site Facebook or Apple's iTunes store tend to be less sophisticated than those played on a Nintendo hand-held, they allow users to play against friends or challenge strangers from across the world more seamlessly.
Nintendo says one of the new communication tools, StreetPass, finds and connects to a nearby 3DS machine even if the other party is a total stranger. The person doesn't need to be using the 3DS at the time in order to wirelessly link up and share data with another 3DS machine in the vicinity using a Wi-Fi connection.