Nintendo says risk from 3DS is overblown

A senior Nintendo executive had said reaction to a health warning on its new 3D handheld game player was overblown, portraying as routine the warning that hit its shares two weeks ago.

Nintendo had warned that its 3DS could harm young children's eyes, and advised that children 6 years old or younger play games only in 2D mode.

The warning, which appeared on the company's website in Japanese, was picked up by media outlets and blogs, and triggered a three-day sell-off in Nintendo shares two weeks ago. Some people criticized Nintendo for the warning, saying there was no medical evidence 3D harmed children's eyesight.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime downplayed the worries at a promotional event in New York on Wednesday, saying other devices in the home have similar warnings.

"It certainly has been a reaction that has been a bit over the top," Fils-Aime said in an interview.

He added that children 7 and above "can certainly enjoy the 3D features."

Nintendo is betting heavily on the 3DS, which doesn't use bulky glasses, but it faces far stiffer competition than when it launched other notable handheld game devices, including the Game Boy in 1989 or the DS in 2004.

The device can play 3D graphics and video and snap 3D photos without the need for glasses - features that analysts have said will give it an edge over Apple.

"The 3DS gives Nintendo something that Apple can't offer people right now," MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler said.

Nintendo could use the boost of a new hot product to regain its lustre.

Nintendo's first major piece of hardware since the Wii, is a bid by the Japanese company to outpace rivals Sony and Microsoft and to beat newer rival Apple, which is stealing handheld market share.

"We are convinced that the Nintendo 3DS is the next entertainment breakthrough," said Fils-Aime. "We think it's going to set us apart."

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