There has been an image floating about the internet over the last couple of days, supposedly leaked through an FCC filing, of the development kit motherboard currently being used to test 3DS games. It’s not of a terribly high resolution, so I enlarged it a bit and examined it in detail to see just what we can learn about the 3DS from this image if it turns out to be the real deal.
#1 — The most obvious item on this motherboard is the wide-screen screen. A departure from Nintendo’s almost exclusive 4:3 past, this could certainly be an interesting development. If we assume that the bottom screen is roughly the size of a DSi screen, then that makes the top screen very nearly the same size and dimensions as an iPhone screen. There are a lot of cables running off of the top screen and each one essentially would do something different. With the 3-4 connectors attached to the top screen, that could hint at something like touch input, backlight, and two display “angles” for the glasses-free 3D effect for the top screen.
#2 — The bottom screen seems to be around the size of a DSi (non-XL) screen.
#3 — Here we have the sensors for the standard button configuration, I guess Nintendo’s not innovating much on the button control front. 8 button sensors for the D-Pad and ABXY buttons are clearly visible as well as two below for start/select and two above for the LR shoulder buttons.
#4 — This dude is arguably as interesting and important as the wide-screen top screen revelation brought about by this image. From the looks of it in the image for their “3D Control Stick” Nintendo has decided to go for something much more akin to the “control nub” on the PSP systems. For comparison, here’s what a PSP control nub looks like by itself:
And here’s what a classical joystick looks like without its covering:
#5 — The DS card slot. That is what this is in its entirety. This may hint at Nintendo using a similar size card for 3DS games (like with GameBoy/GameBoy Color games) or that a proper 3DS card slot is not included on the target motherboards because the games are fed into the system via SATA/serial connectors as opposed to retail cards anyways.
#6 — I originally thought that this might be the 3DS card slot, but upon closer inspection of the innards of current DSi systems, it turns out that this is just the SD card slot. For comparison, here is an image of a replacement SD card slot for a DSi:
#7 — These dudes are just the speakers for the system. They look pretty well the same as current DSi speakers, perhaps slightly larger:
#8 — This is the headphone jack most likely, nothing terribly exciting.
#9 — The battery for keeping the internal clock going should the 3DS battery get drained.
Images of the DSi motherboard for comparison (courtesy of bunnie:studios):
Things that we cannot tell from the picture:
- Anything beyond screen/button layout about the final shape/size of the retail system
- Proximity of screens to one another in final retail system
- Whether tilt-sensing will be a feature
- Whether built-in rumble will be a feature
- The graphical power of the system
- Shape/size of 3DS game cards (if there will be any)
- Location and/or existence of cameras
- Brands/power of chips used (largely obscured both by size and perhaps removal for picture)
- Functionality of both screens beyond display (which is 3D/touch sensitive?)
So there you have it. That’s what I was able to dig up on the motherboard thus far. I will keep you posted if I have any other epiphanies while I stare at it waiting for E3 to come as fast as it can. Until then, Game Usagi will keep you posted if any other news arrives.