The 3DS may be the Next Big Thing in gaming but Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime says the new 3D technology shouldn't be used by very young children.
The Nintendo DS in all its various forms is very popular with younger gamers. My nephews have one they enjoy fighting over and a look at the catalog of DS games makes it clear that it's not a system aimed at the raging hardcore demographic. Nonetheless, Fils-Aime says that while the 3DS has "no health issues," it should be kept away from very small children because the new 3D display could be hard on their young eyes.
"We will recommend that very young children not look at 3D images," he said. "That's because, [in] young children, the muscles for the eyes are not fully formed... This is the same messaging that the industry is putting out with 3D movies, so it is a standard protocol. We have the same type of messaging for the Virtual Boy, as an example."
The cut-off age would be around seven years, he said, which does represent a fairly substantial bite out of the unit's potential audience; my oldest nephew was around four when he got his and even though he's not especially bright, he handled it like a champ. Fortunately, the 3DS has a slider that can be used to adjust the intensity of the 3D display or flatten it entirely, so children can play with it in 2D mode - parentally-supervised, of course - until they're man enough to handle the real deal.