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PS Vita. Wii U. With these consoles (possibly along with the PS4 and X-Box 720) launching over the next two years, the near future holds a lot for gaming. However, with a new set of consoles set to erupt onto the market, it would be easy to forget that the next generation has actually begun – albeit not explosively – with the 3DS.

Nintendo 3DS

I’ll be fair; the 3DS hasn’t exactly had the greatest year so far. After its launch in March, it sold poorly due to the lack of Nintendo’s usual quality software (to this date, there still isn’t a full Mario title out for the console) and the high price point. This led to an unprecedented price drop after less than six months from the console’s launch, which annoyed some fans and caused investors to worry about Nintendo’s future.

The worlds first glasses-free 3D Gadget

However, things could be turning around for the worlds first widespread glasses-free 3D gadget. With software titles like Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land and Sonic Generations out this year, on top of Kid Icarus and Resident Evil: Revelations due for a 2012 launch, the software drought could be over soon. On top of that, a new red 3DS is expanding the line-up of colour options for new comers to the console.

What really gives the 3DS potential to succeed though is innovation. Although they tend to shy away from producing the most powerful consoles, Nintendo have succeeded by innovating, by creating new ways to see videogames. And the 3DS is no different – besides the glasses-free 3D gaming, every console is capable of 3D photography (with video recording to be added in November), Augmented Reality and motion gaming with its accelerometers and gyroscope.

Nintendo – great potential

The potential these features have – especially in the hands of Nintendo – is incredible, and I for one can’t wait to see what more they do with them. Will it be enough to keep them safe from their traditional gaming competition, as well as the threat of smartphones though?

We’ll have to wait and see…