Nintendo Warns Against Possible 3DS Eye Damage

Is Nintendo about to alienate a core section of its audience? In advance of a special event for the 3DS in Japan, Nintendo released a statement warning parents that children ages six or younger should only use 2D mode when playing the upcoming handheld. According to Nintendo’s statement (which is located here and translated by the Wall Street Journal), use of artificial 3D can possibly affect the development of healthy eyes.

Nintendo didn’t stop there. The gaming giant also stressed that adults shouldn’t play in 3D mode for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. The warnings are not blanket reasons to avoid the 3DS altogether, but these are aggressive statements against what’s supposed to be the central feature of the 3DS.

Is this a preemptive strike against medical experts that are sure to weigh in when the 3DS is released this spring? Nintendo is often keen to address potential problems before they become full-fledged PR nightmares, as evidenced by the repeat measures (wrist strap warnings and rubber shells) to guard against flying Wii Remotes.

These eyesight warnings are rather reminiscent of those issued by Nintendo in the wake of the Virtual Boy launch, where breaks from the 3D action were not mandatory, but heavily suggested. That wasn’t the key undoing of the Virtual Boy, but it was definitely a piece of the rug that was eventually pulled out from under the gaming device. Will 3D end up a curse for Nintendo after all?

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