New 3DS Suffering 'Black Screen of Death'

Nintendo's new 3DS handheld gaming system has finally landed here in the States, officially launched as of 12am Sunday morning (or to some, early Saturday evening). But just hours after its release, reports began to surface that the portable console is suffering what's called the "Black Screen of Death."

According to reports, the problem isn't related to specific games, but rather happens at any time no matter what's inserted or not inserted: when playing online, when accessing the menu system, playing a game offline, etc. Once the device crashes, both screens go black and a message in white appears in the bottom window, telling the user that an error has occurred.

"Hold down the POWER Button to turn off the power," the message reads," then turn it on and try again. If the problem persists, please contact your customer support center. For contact details, check the Operations Manual or visit"

Reports have indicated that this simple hard reboot works just fine, allowing the user back into the system without additional problems. Other customers have reported that the message loops or happens repeatedly, thus forcing them to return the 3DS to the retailer in exchange for a new unit.

Currently the percentage of affected "Black Screen of Death" users is unknown, and at the time of this writing, Nintendo has not provided any information on the issue.

For those who are currently suffering the hardware problem and haven't returned the device due to a possible lack of replacement stock, retailers are reporting surprisingly lackluster sales. While consumer demand has been "very strong" in regards to pre-orders, the 3DS is not flying off store shelves as expected, with plenty of stock still residing behind the counter as of Monday morning. It's possible the $249 pricetag may be too steep, that retailers overstocked in eager anticipation, or that the DS/DSi is still a highly-popular, satisfying product.

Of course, major retailers like Best Buy and GameStop may see a less-than-stellar demand at launch simply due to the number of brick-and-mortar stores actually selling the device. Over in the UK, oil giant BP is reportedly selling the Nintendo 3DS in around 100 of its service stations for a recommended retail price of £229.99. The stores are also stocking Nintendo 3DS games.

As for here in the States, we haven't heard any reports of non-traditional outlets offering the new handheld. Guess we'll go inside and check the next time we need to dump our life savings into a tank of BP gas.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • chavo12345
    BP selling 3ds systems? WTF?
  • jgalecio
    While meny current 3DS owners

    Please fix before the grammar police arrive!
  • gamerk316
    Not shocked. While the 3DS will eventually reign supreme, people just aren't interested in the 3D aspect. And lets face it, the DS/DSi library is gigantic right now, so there isn't much reason to upgrade at this juncture.
  • fayzaan
    too much 3D!!!
  • may1
    gamerk316Not shocked. While the 3DS will eventually reign supreme, people just aren't interested in the 3D aspect. And lets face it, the DS/DSi library is gigantic right now, so there isn't much reason to upgrade at this juncture.
    But if 3DS is backwards compatible, that shouldn't be a problem for new DS gamers?
    Nevertheless, BSoD will put a lot of people off.
  • dtemple
    I bet it's because the device needs more cowbell.
  • robochump
    So who said this is better than the iPad? lol
  • It's just too expensive, when the price drops under 200$ and more games are available it will sell well.
  • eklipz330
    compared to the leap nintendo made with the gameboy color-gameboy advance and advance-ds, this is a minor leap...

    the grpahics are similar to the original PSP and since there is that new 3d gimmick, im assuming many developers are gonna forget about the awesome 2d platformers we used to have, and decide to stick in some lame 3d graphics... NGP is around the corner, and sony has my support assuming it turns out awesome and they dont shaft the customers.
  • dark_lord69
    Black screening...
    Excessive price...
    It's no wonder people aren't buying these things. I think I'll pass as well.