Nintendo, D’Works, 3Net pact for 3D fare

Clips, excerpts bolster 3DS game console offering

Nintendo is turning to Hollywood to help bolster the 3D content for its 3DS handheld gaming system.

The game maker has announced partnerships with DreamWorks Animation for a pair of timed-exclusive digital shorts as well as with 3net, the joint venture between Discovery, Sony and Imax. Content from both studios became available this morning.

DreamWorks is pairing with the company to provide two Halloween-themed shorts, one featuring the three little pigs from the ”Shrek” movies, the other featuring characters from ”Monsters vs. Aliens”. The videos will premier on 3DS and be exclusive to the platform for a limited time.

3net will offer excerpted versions of their programming, but nothing exclusive to the platform.

The deals represent another step by Nintendo to embrace non-gaming 3D content for the 3DS, which has struggled at retail since its March launch. (Nintendo has already cut the price of the handheld console , which lets viewers play games and watch video in stereoscopic 3D without the need for glasses – by $70 to stimulate the market.)

Nintendo hand-selects 3D programming for a short-form video service on the system. That downloadable channel hosts material that ranges from game trailers and music videos to comedy shorts.

Executives at the company note that games are still the chief focus, but it does recognize the need to offer more entertainment options if it wants to remain competitive.

”We’re first and foremast a video game company, but we’re not doing this [entertainment content channel] as a hobby either,” says Tony Elison, head of Nintendo’s Network Business Division. ”We’re trying to make this as attractive a value as possible whether it’s a game or video. The more smile-inducing and wow-inducing experiences we can bring to the platform, the better.”

Elison declined to give any numbers to quantify the success of the video service, but noted usage has exceeded the company’s expectations.

”We’ve seen a very high rate of pickup on it – and the people who have downloaded it really engage with it on a week-to-week basis,” he says. ”As we continue to add content, I think you’re going to see the numbers increase.”

While the company has hinted at the ability to watch full 3D movies on the device in press conferences since announcing the system, it has yet to strike any deals with studios. The DreamWorks Animation deal could be a test balloon, though. And if the 3DS has a successful holiday (something that’s far from certain, given recent sales trends), that could be the push studios need to expand their 3D offerings onto the system.

”We’re working with the Hollywood community to create more ‘Wow’ experiences,” says Elison. ”I think it will add up to making people happy.”

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