We'd previously seen reports that Nintendo was planning on unleashing the 3DS to the world (well, Japan at least) on 26 February 2011, but we've just received an intriguing "Save the Date" invite from the gaming giant that hints at an even earlier launch date.

The Nintendo event is scheduled for 19 January 2011, and takes place in Amsterdam at 2pm UK time.

Could it be that the next-generation, glasses-free 3D handheld will get a European launch on this date? Could the 26 February date previously touted be the date that the console hits the shops? Or could Nintendo just be gathering the tech press for a big party - 'Dam-stylee? We kinda hope so.

The price-tag for the 3DS is reported to be around 25,000 yen in Japan, which is about £189 - so expect something around the £200 mark in the UK. It is going to be available at launch in either aqua blue or black.

Check out our First Look: Nintendo 3DS review to see what all the fuss is about.

And why not take a butchers at our Nintendo 3DS vs Nintendo DSi comparison?