Japan's Nintendo has issued a health warning over the 3D function on its upcoming gaming console, recommending children aged six and under do not play with it to prevent damage to their eyes.
At a promotional event near Tokyo in January, "we will offer 2Ds alone to children aged six and younger as continuing to watch 3D images for a long time could negatively affect the development of their eyes," Nintendo said.
The new-generation DS console -- which enables users to play 3D games without special glasses -- missed the Christmas season but will be released on February 26 in Japan and in March in the United States, Europe and Australia.
Nintendo is to hold an admission-free three-day event in Chiba, east of Tokyo, from January 8 to let gamers try the new console ahead of its launch.
The Kyoto-based company issued the caution in a message posted on its website to those who plan to try the 3DS.
Nintendo noted that experts say 3D images -- not only those of the Nintendo 3DS but also those in cinemas and on television -- could affect the development of vision in small children.
The gaming gadget features the trademark DS dual screens, with the upper screen providing 3D images and the other controlled by touch with a stylus.
The illusion of depth can be increased or decreased so that games can be played in both 2D and 3D.
Nintendo called for use of the console's "parental control" function so that children aged six and below play only in 2D, and it noted that some people feel more tired when playing 3D games than 2D versions.
The hugely popular Nintendo DS has sold more than 130 million units worldwide and its new 3D feature has drawn keen interest from media and gamers.
Sony has released its PlayStation Move system, which enables users wearing special glasses to play 3D games using wand-shaped motion controllers.
In motion-sensing games, Nintendo's Wii has faced competition from Microsoft's Kinect for the Xbox 360 system, which lets players use body gestures and does not require handheld controllers.