Nintendo is warning that children age 6 and younger should not use its new handheld gaming machine in 3D mode because it could harm their eyesight. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata says the 3DS device isn't "dangerous" — the American Optometric Association says it's perfectly safe — but the company wants to be "proactive" about alerting customers to possible safety concerns, even though the unprecedented move could hurt sales. If the 3DS could really hurt children's eyes, should Nintendo be selling it? (Watch a report about the fears)
The 3DS is not dangerous: Nintendo probably isn't really worried the 3DS will hurt kids, says Andy Chalk in The Escapist. But the company "is understandably concerned about potential lawsuits being filed by parents who feel their children have been adversely affected by using the device." It's also putting cautions on the device's packaging and in instructions telling parents not to let younger kids play with it. "As the saying goes, better safe than sued."
"Nintendo: 3DS warnings are lawsuit deterrent"
No one knows whether this new technology is safe: Concerns about this new, glasses-free 3D technology "damaging eyes" are very real, says Nilay Patel in Engadget. "The biggest worry seems to be that 'tricking' your eyes into seeing fake 3D for hours on end" will cause young, still-developing eyes to "'forget' how to see in proper 3D the rest of the time." So until tests have been done to measure the danger, the only responsible thing to do is to keep 3DS out of the hands of tots.
"3D is dangerous / not dangerous: Nintendo 3DS warning label edition"
Nintendo must be confident people will buy it anyway: "Clearly this was not the most effective way to tout the 3D-capable successor to the Nintendo DS," says Matthew Shaer in The Christian Science Monitor, "which has traditionally been very popular among younger users." If Nintendo is willing to sacrifice sales to be so overly cautious, it must really think it has an awesome new gadget on its hands, and that, despite the alarm, people are going to line up to pay $300 "for a 3D, glasses-free experience on a handheld device."
"Nintendo 3DS warning: Just being honest, Nintendo exec says"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
- How to make corn dogs
Subscribe to the Week