In what is perhaps the first genius marketing move of 2011 Nintendo has given moms around the world a whole new reason to scream, "Stop playing with that thing or you'll go blind!" The unit moms will be referring to in this case however is the Nintendo 3DS, the company's highly anticipated 3-D gaming device. Last week they cautioned on their website that usage of the device by young children could harm their vision, setting off a flurry of speculation. Are they looking to get more press for their upcoming release? Are they looking to head-off litigation? Or is it a genius PR move to position themselves as the responsible, pro-family technology company -- after all, none of the other 3-D manufacturers has issued as illicit a warning.
Specifically, Nintendo stated: "For children under the age of six, looking at 3-D images for a long time could possibly have a negative impact on the growth of their eyes." Perhaps it's a case of bad translation but I think Nintendo is really trying to warn us that they will not be liable for the generation of miniature-eyed freaks that will soon be taking over the planet.
In reality there is no scientific evidence that 3-D technology, glasses or not, harms eyesight. Like watching extended hours of TV scientists caution that long exposures to 3-D may cause dizziness or headaches. Surely this is no more serious than watching extended hours of Jersey Shore which has been scientifically proven to result in a complete loss of faith in humanity.
So what do us parents do now? Throw caution to the wind and buy the thing, or wait it out? For now, at least my kids will be sticking with the iPad, or perhaps they'll learn the novelty of a coloring book.
Keep your eyes out parents, hairy palm warnings may be coming next.
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