This morning, Nintendo announced that its new 3D handheld gaming system -- the Nintendo 3DS -- will cost $250 and will be available on March 27. While the main focus of this gaming system is to provide a three-dimensional portable video game experience that doesn’t require any glasses, it’s interesting to see that the House that Built Mario is flirting with an additional level of gamification with this new device, in the form of a built-in app called the Activity Log.
With the Activity Log software, the 3DS can double as a pedometer. As players take steps, they earn bonus points (called ‘Game Coins’), which can then be used to buy content in other games and applications. Details on what games will use Game Coins are nil right now, but if you make a coins-only item valuable enough, I’ll bet Nintendo fans of all stripes will be getting off the couch in an effort to score valuable virtual loot. (On a personal note, I’d love nothing more than seeing a bunch of Legend of Zelda fans hoofing it around the block in order to buy a special sword for Link.)
The pedometer is only one part fo the 3DS Activity Log. It will also keep track of what you do on the device and how long you generally spend on each task. Add that to the Street Pass tag mode, which broadcasts your stats to any other 3DS owner you pass on the street, and you’ve got yourself a handheld game console that adds a whole new layer of gamified content.