Fri. Mar 31st, 2023
That gray blob on the right is actually a second analog stick.

That gray blob on the right is actually a second analog stick.

Continuing its tradition of splitting its portable hardware halfway through its lifecycle, Nintendo today announced that a new version of its 3DS line, simply dubbed the “New Nintendo 3DS,” will be coming to Japan on October 11.

The new model includes a number of internal and external hardware improvements. Like the Game Boy Color before it, the new 3DS has a slightly improved CPU over the version that preceded it, though Nintendo didn’t specifically say how much more powerful. While the new revision will still support all existing 3DS and DS games, it will also require some exclusive games, such as a recently announced port of the Wii’s Xenoblade Chronicles.

The new 3DS also has a number of new features on the outside. A smaller, second analog stud, dubbed the “c-stick” in a nod to the old Nintendo GameCube, sits on the right side of the system, just above the face buttons. This addition eliminates the need to buy a bulky analog pad attachment for certain games, such as Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

The new shoulder buttons bring the controls on the new 3DS more in line with those on the Wii U.
Enlarge / The new shoulder buttons bring the controls on the new 3DS more in line with those on the Wii U.

At the top of the system, Nintendo has added two new shoulder buttons called ZL and ZR. Both of these control changes make the system more closely aligned with the one on the Wii U, and could make it easier to transfer games between the systems (or possibly use the 3DS as a Wii U gamepad, though Nintendo isn’t saying that). has announced such functionality today).

More comfortable 3D viewing angles.

More comfortable 3D viewing angles.

Nintendo promises that the new 3DS screen will include stereoscopic 3D that can be viewed comfortably from more angles, eliminating the need to keep your head exactly in front of the screen when using the feature. That addition shows renewed support for the system’s unique glasses-free 3D functionality, after last year’s surprise Nintendo 2DS redesign removed the feature entirely.

The new screen on the new 3DS will also be slightly larger than before, going from 3.53in on the original unit to 3.88in on the new one, although there’s no related bump in resolution between the hardware. In return, the new system is a few millimeters larger in every dimension and a whopping 28 grams heavier. [Update: The original version of this article mis-stated the relative size and weight of the two systems. Ars regrets the error]

Size comparison.
Enlarge / Size comparison.

A few other tweaks set the new 3DS apart from its predecessor, including more colorful face buttons, a cartridge slot moved from the top of the system to the bottom, and support for microSD cards instead of a standard-sized version. Built-in support for near-field communication means users can read and write data from Nintendo’s upcoming range of Amiibo figurines without the need for an external adapter. Nintendo also unveiled dozens of removable faceplates, allowing users to easily customize the look of the system to suit their style. Finally, the new system features an updated web browser that supports HTML5 and a camera that works better in low-light conditions.

Like the original 3DS, the new version of the system also comes in an extended “LL” size (the Japanese name for the West’s “XL” line). That revamp is much closer to its predecessor in terms of screen size and physical dimensions. The new standard-size 3DS costs 16,000 yen (about $154), while the new 3DS XL costs 18,800 yen (about $181).

While the new systems will launch in Japan on October 11, Nintendo confirmed in a statement that there will be “no US and European launches this calendar year”. A Nintendo spokesperson told Eurogamer that the company’s “plan[s] to launch these products in Europe in 2015.” Nintendo of America did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update A few more tidbits from the announcement:

  • The new 3DS has a claimed battery life of 3.5 to 6 hours, compared to 2.5 to 5 hours for the original 3DS. For the LL version, the new battery life is estimated at 3.5 to 7 hours, compared to 3.5 to 6.5 for the old version.
  • The new system’s web browser comes with an automatic child safety filter. It can only be disabled by entering a credit card number and paying a 30 cent fee.

By akfire1

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