Street Fighter IV

The Nintendo 3DS: Hit or miss?

March 24, 2011: 5:49 PM ET

The gaming company's latest money-making handheld offers solid 3-D graphics in an oddly traditional package.

Nintendo's 3DS

Nintendo's 3DS

It's been more than five years since Nintendo released its Nintendo DS mobile gaming platform -- or less than two if you count those slightly tweaked upgrades with smaller (or bigger) form factors or video cameras. True to form, the clam shell-type device with two screens and a stylus didn't offer cutting edge graphics, but it was backed by a truckload of fun software with recognizable brands like Mario that helped the whole DS family of devices sell 47 million-plus units in the U.S. alone.

But a lot has changed since 2004 (or even 2008), something I was reminded of while waiting at a restaurant for dinner last week. A funny thing happened: a family of five parked next to me in line, and all three kids, definitely under the age of 16, whipped out iPod Touches and played games on them. It was an eye-opener: five years ago, they all would have been playing Nintendo devices, but in an age where content is increasingly downloadable and general consumer devices like smartphones are popular and mainstream, that's no longer necessarily the case. More

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