For real this time.
Will the 3DS have loads of bad-ass games that both play and look awesome? Hell yes it will. Will it include intelligent design decisions? Maybe.
Andriasang has a story up about the online play of Super Street Fighter IV for 3DS, and it includes some rather dubious language: “You add players to your friend list by exchanging friend codes.”
For the uninformed, the Wii and DS have both featured ugly and arcane online systems which require you to enter a 12 digit “friend code” if you want to interact with specific people online. You can still play strangers no problem. There are system codes, which some games use, while others use game specific codes. The few players that bother with this system are faced with utter tedium.
Now, Andriasang’s story is based on a translation from a Japanese magazine that doesn’t give any further details. We don’t know if this is an updated friend codes system, whether friend codes are per game or per system, or if friend codes are even tied to an entire player account, nevertheless, the language is foreboding indeed.
Rumours are now circulating that the system will also be hindered by “region locking.” This is the authoritarian restriction of preventing people from different territories from playing each other’s games. In other words, a North American 3DS won’t be able to play Japanese games, or vice versa. You’d need to import a Japanese 3DS to play games meant for that territory.
All of this comes in addition to a currently unknown but expected price of $250+ and shaky 3-5 hour battery life. The west is waiting for January 19th when much is supposed to be revealed, including (hopefully) specifics on these troubling issues. Whether Nintendo has realized that this event is occurring in 2011 remains to be seen.