Reggie Fils-Aime: Nintendo 3DS Not for Very Young Children

Speaking to Kotaku, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that the upcoming Nintendo 3DS hand-held is not meant for "very young children." Fils-Aime said they are in line with guidelines followed by most 3-D content creators.

"We will recommend that very young children not look at 3-D images," Fils-Aime told Kotaku. "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."

So what is the appropriate age for the 3DS? According to Fils-Aime, seven years old or older. It will be interesting to see how Nintendo markets this on TV and in magazines in a way that doesn’t entice younger children. It seems to me like an impossibility.

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  1. 0
    Thad says:

    While you guys were sniping at each other, I Googled it.

    There was a short New York Times article in February that dealt with this.  The money link — to a 2008 article from Journal of Vision — is broken now, but I believe I found the abstract.  There’s also a still-working link to a study called On a Qualitative Method to Evaluate Motion Sickness Induced by Stereoscopic Images on Liquid Crystal Displays.

    Neither of the articles appears to deal specifically with children, and indeed it appears at this point that a lot of this is speculation — 3D is only now entering the mainstream, and it’ll be years before there’s reliable data on children who consumed it.  (A causal study would, of course, be unethical; you can’t go into a study saying "I think this is going to damage children’s vision; let’s get some children and test that hypothesis.")

    CrunchGear has a pretty good article on the subject as well; it goes into a basic explanation of 3D, and briefly covers the question of child development.  It takes the tack that prolonged exposure COULD harm the development of children’s vision, but moderate exposure probably won’t — which sounds pretty reasonable to me.

  2. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Well, unless you’re an optometrist, and have studied the effects of shutter-glass-produced 3D images on the eyes of a young child over the course of at least three years, I’d rather play it safe, than trust the pseudo-science you use to counter what you claim to be pseudo-science.

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  3. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    "Amblyopia: The Lazy Eye

    The best activities while wearing a patch are those involving the greatest visual stimulation with the greatest attention to detail. Video games by far give the most improvement in vision with the least amount of time for patching. However, any visually stimulating activity your child finds pleasurable will be helpful."

    Rolleyes right back at you. I love it when people are so quick to attack based on their uncritical acceptance of the ‘common wisdom’ (which is often very common but also very un-wise).

    I guess you’d also go into attack mode if I were to tell you that there’s very little actual science backing up the commonly accepted notion that computer monitors cause eye strain. The fact is, if you stare for too long at anything, it can cause eye strain. People go on about monitor flicker and brightness, but what really causes eye strain is looking for too long at anything without taking breaks to blink, adjust focus, and yes, even to roll your eyes, LOL.

  4. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    "[in] young children, the muscles for the eyes are not fully formed…"

    And this means that children shouldn’t play 3D hand-held games… why?

    This sounds like pseudo science to me. The idea that eyes will be damaged by resting or focusing on one spot is also an argument against non-REM sleep, which we all engage in for hours while we’re asleep, for Heaven’s sake!

    Modern treatments for amblyopia involve video gaming, because it IMPROVES focus and muscle control. The idea that focusing on one spot is bad for the eye is nonsense. The notion that focusing on an artificial 3D image is harmful is similarly flawed – the eye is still focusing normally, but the muscles are getting more of a workout – which is GOOD.

    As with anything else, sustained periods spent playing a 3DS is probably not a good idea. The same can be said of any activity, but that shouldn’t mean that such activities should be demonized.

    This is yet another case of people in the industry allowing themselves to be brainwashed by the anti-gaming witch hunt environment that we live in.

  5. 0
    gamegod25 says:

    The difference is that no one should look at a virtual boy at any age XP

    Seriously I’m surprised that he even brought the VB up, I thought that it was something Ninty would rather pretend never happened.

  6. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    The 3D effect can be turned all the way off so very young children should still be able to enjoy the product without damaging their eyes.


    Andrew Eisen

  7. 0
    Stealthmaster says:

     At least he’s warning people about the downside of 3D. Now when some parent says that the 3DS messed up there kids eyes we can all say that Riggie told you that it’s not for the very young.

  8. 0
    Kajex says:

    I can’t help but respect this man for going out of his way to say this. He didn’t have to. He could have just had it stuffed in the instruction manual for people to ignore, but he didn’t- he actively went out and said it for people to hear.

  9. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    I didn’t get my first Gameboy until I was eight, so, this makes sense to me.

    The problem will come from parents who can’tr say no to their screaming little 4 year olds.

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