3D AR- why Nintendo needs to open the API/SDK

Last night I gave my very first impressions of the new nintendo 3DS on The Daily Dose. It has me all excited and the more I mess with/play with/use it, the more I develop strong thoughts on what else I want the 3DS to do.

As I played with the AR games and FaceRaiders, I realized that this was the first example of truly engaging AR I have played with. I have spent a lot of time with Layars apps and other AR apps, but they all left me unfulfilled and fairly unimpressed. But as simplistic as they are, the 3DS AR games keep me coming back. The 3D element makes a big difference. FaceRaiders had my non-gaming, non-geek daughter enthralled for almost 2 hours last night. I immediately knew that I wanted to play with this interface, to build apps around it, so I went out to the Nintendo developer site. To apply for approved developer status ( and get access to SDK, etc..) you have to have a development site that is NOT a residence, has a certain level of security ( badge access, etc..)
Here is the excerpt:

Developer Qualifications: An Authorized Developer will have demonstrated the ability to develop and program excellent software for Nintendo video game systems or for other game platforms. In addition, an Authorized Developer will have a stable business organization with secure office facilities separate from a personal residence ( Home offices do not meet this requirement ), sufficient resources to insure the security of Nintendo confidential information and in order to ensure an effective environment for working with Nintendo and/or its Publishers. Nintendo provides Authorized Developers with highly confidential information and many of Nintendo’s Publishers also rely on recommendations and referrals to Authorized Developers. For these reasons, Nintendo exercises a very high level of care in evaluating Authorized Developers.

This immediately eliminates most startups, indie developers, home coders and educational organizations. WTH? When developers were creating multi-day play console games that required great security, this may have made sense. But when you want people to make short, quick play games this level of investment in infrastructure will never make sense, and you will get fewer organizations interested in trying really new experimental ideas.

I want Nintendo to open up an SDK that allows all developers to create small, quick play games. This can be separate from the larger,longer cased and hard media encoded game SDK. There are so many things that innovative small independent developers would do with the 3D AR capabilities here, and I want to watch it Thrive.

Here are some of the cool things you could do:


Have a business card application that reads a QR code or other image on business cards to put 3D game or interaction in the user’s hands. Can you imagine if I could point my 3DS at your business card and get a full walk around of your product with schematics? If you gave me a fun, quick promo game?

2. Angry Birds and Tiny Wings in 3D. Need I say more?

3. Make an application that allows you to create Side by Side stereoscope images of the 3D pictures you take with the 3DS

4. make an application that reads barcodes and use them in a 3D game

5. ….?????

This is just a start with the little I have played with the 3D AR short games. I know many other creative ideas would come from the small developer, indie game community. But Nintendo will not let them in to play. I suppose eventually one of the other platforms will catch up and allow developers to leapfrog forward- maybe I should start saving for an Evo 3D this summer…..

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.