Nintendo Says its 3D Games Aren’t For Kids, Could Harm Eyesight

Japanese game giant, Nintendo Co., issued a warning on its website that children six years of age and younger should not play its three-dimensional (3-D) games on its upcoming Nintendo 3DS game device, said The Wall Street Journal. Nintendo discussed the potential health risks associated with use of the game.

The device, said Reuters, is scheduled for release in Japan on February 26, with distribution in other areas to follow.

According to Nintendo, the device could adversely effect the eyesight of youngsters who look at 3-D images for long periods of time, said the Journal. The game device, said the Journal, is among the first product device to provide 3-D images without the use of special eyewear.

The cause for the warning remains unknown and there is little known about the medical dangers associated with long-term 3-D viewing with and without glasses; however, some believe that the warning is an attempt to stave off potential lawsuits, said the Journal.

The Sony PlayStation3, a 3-D product utilizing glasses carries a warning. Sony said that while it has no medical proof of side effects from 3-D viewing, it issued the warning over concerns about children’s sensitive bodies, said the Journal.

Since 3-D was introduced into popular culture some 50 years ago, complaints have included dizziness and nausea.

Nintendo would not comment beyond its health disclaimer posted at the bottom of its Japanese-language website in which it was touting a three-day Japanese event that included its 3DS, noted the Journal. Parents are urged to use the parental controls to block the device’s 3-D feature when younger children—who can utilize the 2-D mode—are playing, said the Journal.

Samsung Electronics Co., and Panasonic Corp., in addition to Sony and Nintento have all issued warnings on their sites regarding 3-D use and children. Toshiba Corp. said, “Due to the possibility of impact on vision development, viewers of 3D video images should be aged 6 or older,” quoted the Journal, noting that the electronics maker released its high-definition 3-D televisions late last year.

Network World described “irreparable ocular damage” occurring in children six and under who use the glasses-free 3D device, citing developing eyes and how children see the world via steropsis, which is how eyes understand two different images for the brain to translate into 3D.

“We will recommend that very young children not look at 3D images,” said Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aime, quoted Network World. “That’s because, [in] young children, the muscles for the eyes are not fully formed,” Fils-Aime.

Warnings also exist for adults with statements about taking breaks and stopping play if nausea or dizziness occurs.

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