Netflix on 3DS, Move.Me and the Xperia PLAY becomes the official handset of Major League Gaming

I hear that some iFruit tablet was announced yesterday, but my eyes were still glued to the goings-on at (and related to) the Game Developer's Conference happening at the Moscone Center in San Francisco this week. (All right, that's a plain lie; I watched the Apple event with interest too, but my colleagues have covered the iPad 2 quite extensively already.) Nintendo held a distinctly "press-conference-y" keynote in which it revealed a few new facts about its new handheld, the Nintendo 3DS. First, there's a Mario Brothers game coming for it. Shocking, no? A Mario game on a Nintendo platform? Still, fans were happy to hear it announced. It'll be a 3D game developed by the Super Mario Galaxy team. We'll learn more details during E3 in June.

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More of a surprise was the announcement that Netflix will be coming to the 3DS sometime over the summer. Also, and as a separate announcement, 3D trailers of (3D) movies will be coming to the handheld. Some sources seem to be combining those two facts into Netflix streaming 3D content to the 3DS but as far as I can ascertain that isn't the case (at least, not yet). 3D trailers are supposed to start in early summer, before Netflix arrives. Last on the Nintendo front, 3DS owners will be able to connect to AT&T Wi-Fi Hotspots starting in late May, and for free. I guess that's a nice feature for folks who live in areas where free Wi-Fi is hard to come by. Next up, Sony and the Playstation Move. Tired of hearing about all those cool PC-based Microsoft Kinect hacks and being left out in the cold, Sony announced a Move.Me initiative. (Disclosure: I made those reasons up. I don't really know the incentive behind the initiative.) You might be thinking this is a Move SDK for Windows and you'd be wrong, sort of. Move.Me still runs on a PS3 but it dumps all data from the Move controller to the PC. What you do with that data once it hits the PC is presumably up to you. Sony is pitching the initiative at "academics and hobbyists" and if that describes you, I'll point you to a Playstation blog post for more details. I don't expect to see the kind of response in the hacking community that the Kinect has seen, given that you still need to use a PS3 to work with Move.Me (I suspect a lot of Kinects are sold to hackers who don't even own an Xbox), but I'd love to be proven wrong. Last for today, Sony Ericsson announced some partnerships for the Xperia PLAY (aka Playstation Phone). First, Havok is bringing its suite of gaming technology and tools to Android, optimized for the PLAY (Havok is best known for its physics engine that makes objects in games act much more realistically than they otherwise would). Presumably this will be more good news for all Android gamers, not just PLAY owners, and it's encouraging to see Havok calling out a device that isn't running a Tegra 2 (or equivalent) chipset. Sony Ericsson's other partnership is with Major League Gaming. The Xperia PLAY will be the official handset of Major League Gaming. MLG has a community of 8 million gamers and is set to award $1 million in prizes and player stipends in its upcoming season which opens on April 1st. As part of the deal the PLAY will be demoed at events and via a video segment at MLG.tv. Should be good exposure for the phone. You can read more about both partnerships at Sony Ericsson's blog. That's it for now but the GDC runs through Friday. We'll see if the companies attending have any more surprise announcements to make.

Peter Smith writes about personal technology for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @pasmith.

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