We're fresh off the weekend of the big North American launch for the Nintendo 3DS, and already disturbing reports have surfaced of a "Black Screen of Death" hitting a percentage of new owners during gameplay. Basically, 3DS games have a chance of crashing, leaving users with a handy error message informing them to reboot the system. Thanks to the clear instructions complete with the URL for Nintendo's online support center, the message was clearly designed ahead of time.
Some home remedies thus far (outside of rebooting the 3DS) include turning off the 3DS WiFi, to reformatting the SD card used with the handheld. Before we get too caught up in the possibility of Nintendo finally getting their version of the infamous "Red Ring of Death" hardware issue which plagued early Xbox 360 consoles, initial investigation has suggested one possible problem lies in the factory firmware installed in North American 3DS launch hardware.
In fact, Nintendo is suggesting that users encountering game crashes to first install the latest 3DS firmware update v1.1.0-1U, now available for download. Should problems persist, that's when Nintendo recommends users bring their problematic 3DS units to their friendly neighborhood Nintendo Customer Service center. Unfortunately, this new system software update doesn't include any other features like the eShop or System Transfer, so this looks to be an emergency update designed solely to address crashing.
The 3DS crashes thus far were reported on units which didn't have the updated firmware, so it remains to be seen if the problems continue to appear on North American 3DS units even after the new system software is installed.
(Image Source: NeoGAF)