Images of what is thought to be Nintendo's forthcoming 3DS handheld games console have been leaked on the web.

See: Nintendo 3DS Available March 27 for £229

The console is the world's first portable 3D glasses-free gaming device, and will go on sale in Europe in March, after hitting Japan on February 2.

The 3DS, which will cost ¥25,000 (£188.97), has a screen that doesn't require the user to wear 3D glasses. Instead, a filter over the display splits the on-screen image and sends a slightly different image towards the user's right and left eyes, providing the illusion of depth. UK prices have not yet been revealed.

The DS was first launched in 2004 and has been revised several times. Nintendo had sold 132 million of the portable devices from the launch through to June last year, but recently sales have been slipping. Between April and June 2010, quarterly sales of the device dropped by almost half.

The images were leaked to a Chinese forum, along with a few DS comparison shots. It is unknown if the device was stolen, and if so, by whom. However, the system is apparently unplayable.

See also: Nintendo 3DS hardware specs leaked online