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Nintendo warns of 3-D effects ; Children's eyesight could be harmed

Nintendo Co. says 3-D games on its highly anticipated new handheld console could harm the eyesight of children aged 6 or younger, warning of possible ill effects from a technology on which many companies are betting big.

Nintendo said some specialists believe that "there is a possibility that 3-D images which send different images to the left and right eye could affect the development of vision in small children."

The undated statement appeared on a section of the company's Japanese website devoted to its upcoming 3DS handheld.

Nintendo joins peers like Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. in warning consumers about ill effects from watching video or playing games in three dimensions. Sony recommends that a doctor should be consulted before kids are allowed to use the 3-D functionality on its PlayStation game console, while Toshiba says children should be closely monitored while watching its new 3-D TVs that don't require glasses.

All the companies say that the technology can also cause adult viewers to tire and feel sick.

Most 3-D devices on the market today rely on technology that rapidly flashes separate images to each eye, which creates a sense of depth. Electronics and entertainment companies around the world are banking on 3-D to fuel a new boom in TV, movies and games.

Nintendo's new 3DS, the latest in its wildly successful DS line of handheld consoles, will go on sale in February in Japan, then March in Europe and the U.S.

It looks much like the DS machines now on sale, with two screens that fold open. The top screen shows images in 3-D without glasses, but can also be switched into standard mode.

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