3DS Design Final, Tag Mode Explained

by Jeff Cork on Jul 13, 2010 at 05:46 AM

E3 may have been a few weeks ago, but it seems like we’re still getting a few aftershocks. Wired just posted an interview with Nintendo’s Hideki Konno that was conducted from the event, and it provides a wealth of information about the company’s upcoming 3DS handheld. Konno, a Nintendo veteran with more than 20 years at the company, is now platform producer on the 3DS. That makes him a great resource on the device, when details are still sketchy about some of its functionality.

First up, when asked if the hardware shown at E3 was a close approximation of what gamers will find on the shelves, Konno answered with, “You can take this as the final shape.” That’s about as unambiguous as it gets, really. We especially liked the smooth feel of the analog slide pad, so that’s great news.

Konno also discussed the 3DS’ new Tag Mode, which allows users to get new game content simply by coming within range of players who have their own 3DS system. That game information will be saved on the system, rather than on an individual game cartridge. That means players can access data for games that they own but that aren’t in their system at a given time. Players will also be able to browse Tag data in a viewer, so they can see how many players they’ve connected with over a span of time.

Konno is hopeful that Tag Mode will make players notice new content for games they’ve set aside and inspire them to play. “We would like to create Tag Mode so that it will bring consumers a sense of wanting to play a game again, after they get new data from games that they’d forgotten about,” he says.

While the 3D effect is clearly a highlight of the system, Konno added that he expects to see some games focus more on the system’s motion-control functionality than in 3D visuals. He followed that up by saying it’s not an either/or proposition. “During our experiments, we have found that in a first-person shooter, we can use the sensor to move the aiming and the pointer. In that case, your line of sight is still quite rigid, your eyes are pointing at the screen, and so the 3-D effect won’t be diluted. So there is the possibility that both 3-D and motion control could be used in the same software.”