European 3DS launch "by early next year"

But pre-Xmas possible, claims source.

A senior source close to Nintendo has claimed that 3DS will be available worldwide "by early next year" at the latest, with a 2010 launch in at least one territory "likely".

Nintendo conspicuously avoided detailing launch plans for its 3D handheld during Tuesday's E3 conference, where the system was unveiled.

Speaking to Eurogamer after the event, a Nintendo UK spokesperson confirmed that the company had no announcement to make on launch date or price at present.

But our source revealed that a holiday 2010 release is being worked towards on a global level, with a chance the system could slip into early 2011.

The console, which produces 3D visuals without the need for specialised eyewear, has been met with widespread acclaim, and its E3 debut is backed by a wealth of demo content produced both in-house and from key third-party partners, including playable games, interactive videos, 3D movie samples and the ability to take 3D photos.

Check out our Nintendo 3DS hands-on elsewhere on Eurogamer or watch the video below to see EGTV's Johnny Minkley discuss the new system with Digital Foundry's Rich Leadbetter.

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Johnny Minkley

Johnny Minkley

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Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.

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