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Nintendo reveals the New Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo reveals the New Nintendo 3DS
August 29, 2014 | By Mike Rose

August 29, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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    64 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



As part of a Japanese Nintendo Direct today, Nintendo revealed the New Nintendo 3DS -- a new version of its 3DS hardware that comes with a second stick built in, and new shoulder buttons.

The New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS LL have a small analogue "nub" just above the existing A, B, X and Y button, while the existing buttons have been colored to match the classic SNES controller colors.

The new hardware also comes with new shoulder buttons, XL and XR, that are situated on the top of the device, just next to the existing L and R buttons.

The New Nintendo 3DS comes with a beefier CPU than previous models, says Nintendo, allowing for faster eShop browsing and downloading. Plus, it comes with a built-in NFC on the bottom touchscreen, ready for the upcoming launch of the amiibo NFC models.

And this new model also allows for sliding custom covers in and out of the device, allowing players to customize the 3DS to look however they want. Finally, Nintendo claims that the stereoscopic 3D effect of the new pair of devices is better than in previous models.

Both models are due for launch in Japan on October 11. While Nintendo has not yet confirmed a launch for the U.S., it seems likely this will be announced soon.

Notably, Monolith Soft's Xenoblade Chronicles, originally a 2010 Nintendo Wii game, is coming to the New Nintendo 3DS next year. It will apparently not be playable on any previous 3DS model, as the game requires the added CPU power to function.

Update: Nintendo UK has told Gamasutra, "Different territories make their own business decisions regarding individual products and timing. We plan to launch these products in Europe in 2015."


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Comments


Theo Tsangaris
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I'm really not convinced on Nintendo's strategy. It's yet another hardware push at a time where they should be focusing on streamlining their gaming portfolio. These new models are almost unnecessary.

David Klingler
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I agree they should be focused on the software at the moment, however I'm sure that Nintendo has plans for this hardware that have to do directly with the software. They've always said that they're a software company first, aka they make the hardware specifically for software plans.

Aiden Eades
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I'm more worried by the additions while keeping the same name.

Beefier CPU, extra shoulder buttons, extra analogue stick. If new games are going to make use of these, will these new games also need clunky controls strapped in to play on an older model 3ds?

What about games that make use of the extra CPU grunt or NFC and can't be played at full potential on a normal 3ds?

I can already forsee parents (with regards to the amibo models) storming into game stores angrily demanding refunds because the figures don't work with the existing 3ds, or god forbid teh 2ds that they purchased to protect their darling cherubs eyes.

Emeka Enubuzor
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You'll probably just be expected to buy the new handheld just like you did with the other gameboy increments.

Brad Borne
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@Aiden: Other than the CPU, it won't be any different than having the circle pad pro add-on.

I'm pretty surprised that they're using the beefier CPU in games, though. Thought they'd just use them in the system menu, or in smaller downloadable titles.

though, it's not that much different than the GameBoy Color (though it was time for a new GameBoy by then) or the DSi (though no retail games actually used the extra features or CPU).

Expecting to see some software simply look better on the new 3DS, but still run on the old one.

Brandon Sheffield
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Nintendo's hardware and software divisions are separate - releasing a new console has little affect on whether they are streamlining their game portfolio, aside from perhaps releasing a game that uses the 2nd stick.

David Klingler
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They are separate in terms of who works where, but they work together in strategy for the entire company. It wouldn't make sense for the company to have them completely separate in terms of strategy.

Chris Melby
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@Theo,

I can not understand your comment in light of Nintendo's showing at E3 and the fact that their upcoming "Amiibo" line is dependent on NFC -- which is now integrated into this new 3DS.

I'm expecting 3DS/Amiibo bundles here in the U.S. when it finally launches.

Damien Ivan
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Not really sure why it has to be one or the other. It's a big company.

Andy Lunique
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I agree as well. This is going to cause brand confusion. Even I found myself slightly confused and I was getting ready to buy my 3DS

Robert Green
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Here's something I've been wondering lately - every handheld Nintendo has released for as long as I can remember has been backwards compatible. If they think that's a priority, does that mean they can never release another single-screen handheld?

Benjamin Quintero
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They might, it just wont be in the DS family. Now that eShop is maturing they might virtualize the DS games if the next gen handheld is more like a WiiU controller. Their next home console may be a 2 in 1 type system, like a WiiU on the go that is DS at home. You never know with them :).

Doug Poston
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I don't see why they couldn't just display both screens on a single touch screen, as long as that screen was large enough.

Chris Melby
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@Doug,

The 2DS is a single screen, which is why it doesn't close:
http://www.nintendo.com/3ds/2ds

A flexible OLED screen might eventually be a good replacement for the two screens they use on their clam-shell design.

**Added a link

Robert Green
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Displaying both DS screens on a single higher-resolution touchscreen would certainly be an option, but I think that would hugely limit the size and shape of a new handheld. I was thinking something like the GBA SP, and if you needed to show both DS screens on that, they'd have to be tiny and hard to interact with.

E Zachary Knight
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This is great and all, but they have effectively fractured the 3DS user base now. Current owners will be forced to upgrade their systems or be permanently locked out of newer games. That is not really a good idea.

I could understand if this was a wholly new system, but as an iteration, they have committed a cardinal sin.

Duvelle Jones
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Not really... The DS had a similar transition to the DSi

E Zachary Knight
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I am trying to figure out what the major feature differences between the DS and DSi were that would have fractured the gaming community, but come up empty. A second camera, an SD card slot and access to the eShop are hardly equivalent to a faster CPU, a second analog stick and two extra shoulder buttons.

Duvelle Jones
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The network... Slightly faster CPU.. Slightly bigger RAM...
The DS network was the big thing. With it came the DS Shop, on top of that was a regional lock.


I am not sure that the improvements with the New 3DS are going to be a big jump... Nothing graphical, I'm sure.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Lars Doucet
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I'm wondering if this is kind of more like the GameBoy --> GameBoy Color upgrade than the DS --> DSi.

The question turns on whether the beefed up CPU is actually available to developers, or is just there to accelerate performance in the internal OS / store interface, etc.

Kujel Selsuru
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@Lars: if the beefed up CPU is really only for the OS/store interface etc that is totally fine but if it does mean new games only work on the newer system that kinda sucks :(

Justin Kovac
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Xenoblade Chronicles can only run on the *new* due to the better CPU. And supposedly there will be other *new* only games.

Gern Blanston
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If it were simply a redesign without a CPU boost that would be beautiful. But in securing exclusive new games, it truly is unfair to anyone with a current 3DS system. Had they done something along the lines of the N64 Expansion Pack, which was a very inexpensive upgrade, this would be less of an issue (albeit still quite confusing). Instead, they are forcing consumers to buy all new (same, but upgraded) hardware in order to play upcoming big games (rest assured, there will be plenty more down the line).

I always thought that I'd get a 3DS one day, but I simply cannot support this type of business philosophy. Not to mention the "New 3DS" name, which is even more confusing than Wii U was. To me, this console announcement is very bad news.

Benjamin Quintero
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Gern, the DS line has always had short iterations.

James Fulmer
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Nintendo did the same thing with the Gameboy Color. Many people enjoyed the Color and it's exclusive games and features. Many others didn't. In the end, the move still made Nintendo money and both the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color gave way to the Game Boy Advance not too long after.

Bob Johnson
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It won't fracture the userbase. There might be another small game or two exclusive to this new version but that's it. No software developer is going to pass on the current 40 million install base in favor of making a game for this version that has a small bump in cpu processing power.

Xenoblade is a port and just a bone thrown your way to get you to upgrade.


Brad Borne
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Or buy a circle pad pro and an Amiibo base. Or just don't use those features.

I can't imagine many games coming out that require the new system. Could see a few just look better on it, though.

This is hardly the Android landscape we're talking about here...

Jay N
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The only thing of concern about this new 3DS is its beefed up CPU making some games inaccessible. Hopefully, Nintendo will release a bridge accessory for the 3DS's installed userbase, perhaps as part of the amiibo-NFC unit package.

All the other advancements are spot on, if you ask me. :-)

Arnaud Clermonté
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For some reason they only mention about the CPU upgrade making browsing and downloading faster. Not games.

John Flush
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The mention it later with Xenoblade Chronicles at the end... I thought the same thing until I read all the way through.

Benjamin Quintero
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RAM would be a divide in hardware, but as long as games are vsynced it just means more idle cycles for the low end games. High end may suffer from a little slow down, or be forced to play in 2D on the older 3DS or 2DS.

Adam Bishop
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A hardware refresh makes sense. May as well try to find a way to reach customers you haven't reached previously. But splintering the audience with games that need the extra CPU power of the new model doesn't seem very smart.

George Menhal III
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I hate to say it, but this is probably the future of console hardware revisions. I've been thinking for a while now that console manufacturers will begin releasing product updates that are not merely cosmetic, but updates that feature increased hardware specifications to boot. This makes sense.

As a consumer, I don't really like it. Because now I need to go out and buy a new 3DS (my favorite console of the current gen). Not sure if Xenoblade Chronicles is even appropriate for such a small screen, btw. That game featured some really breathtaking, wide vistas. Don't see how that can translate well.

I would also like to add that the 3DS has been around for about 3 years now, and going by the typical 5 year life cycle, I really can't understand why Nintendo decided to make this hardware revision NOW. That really doesn't make sense to me. They could throw out a couple new Pokemon games and release a Metroid for the system, call it a day, and bring these revisions out in the next handheld console. That would have made more sense, I think.

Javier Degirolmo
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Handhelds have a shorter lifetime than their home counterparts though (GBC was 3 years, GBA was 3 years, DS was 4 years...)

Adam Bishop
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The original DS came out in North America in November of 2004. The 3DS came out in March of 2011. That's 6.5 years, not 4. That's only slightly behind the PS3, which was released 7 years before the PS4.

Benjamin Quintero
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Since Nintendo typically makes money on hardware sales I would imagine they are eyeing mobile. That cycle is 2 years. Im sure they would love a boost of sales by selling a N2,N3,N4,etc like Samsung S#.

David Klingler
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I don't know if Javier miscounted there, perhaps he's not talking about the transition from DS to 3DS, he could be talking about the transition from DS to DSi, which was indeed after 4 years. That however I would say is not the same level transition as between the GBA and Nintendo DS which is what the change was after 3 years, and also not the same as the previous 3 years transition between GBC and GBA.

Brad Borne
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There's no freaking way. You're absolutely overthinking this.

There will always be the usual things, more hard drive space, smaller, cooler, maybe a few dropped features like backwards compatibility, but having a game that only runs on iterative hardware is absolutely not going to be common thing in the console or handheld space.

Games are way too expensive now, this seemed like an, either use the better CPU or the game isn't going to be released situation. No way any publishers are going to make a habit out of further fracturing their target audience.

Connor Fallon
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So this is essentially the peripherals they had before just integrated into the console-- they already sold something which gave the 3DS these buttons and a second analog stick. Few people bought it, and only a few games (Resident Evil: Revelations, Kid Icarus) supported it, but it existed.

It's weird, as just as before we are going to have to design assuming players won't have that "peripheral," at least for the next couple years, but I suppose what this DOES do is make it more likely that people will design options that do accommodate these controls.

Benjamin Quintero
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This update also reflects many of Iwata's regrets he stated about the original 3DS, like the lack of a second analog.

John Flush
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The inevitable re-release has finally hit. It wouldn't surprise me if Nintendo had a metric that found out how long people would hold out before finally breaking down and getting the release model. That way they could resell to everyone that had an older model.

Really though I don't think it matters much. I broke down and got the system for Fire Emblem. Easily got my money back on that game alone and picked up a few other games like Link between worlds (also fantastic). As long as they have a few games like this every iteration I'll probably continue to join in. But not with the remodel. They already got me this iteration.

Chris Melby
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I don't see having to support more than one control scheme as an issue, but if developers like Monoligth choose to completely ignore the older 3DS in favor of this one, well, good luck to them I guess.

The only reason I'll even buy this 3DS, is because I still have not bought an XL, which my eyes have been asking me too do so; but if I had bought one, I would be skipping this model -- just like the DSi.

Ujn Hunter
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After holding out on the 3DS for almost 3 years, finally buying a 3DS XL within the past year... this pisses me off. If this was a new handheld console, fine... but making it a 3DS with games that won't work on my 3DS? Nintendo can shove it.

Benjamin Quintero
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Technology man... Same goes for all the people who got a ps3 for their birthday, the day before ps4 was announced. Same with iphones, same with video cards, etc... Just be happy with what you have or you will never be happy with an ever changing market.

Ujn Hunter
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PS4 is not the same as the PS3. Like I said... if this was some "NEW" handheld console, I wouldn't care, but it's just a "better" 3DS than the one I just bought that plays 3DS games that mine doesn't play.

David Klingler
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Benjamin didn't say the PS4 is the same as the PS3... Also it technically is a new handheld console despite it also being a better 3DS...

Bob Johnson
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@Ujn

They won't make many other games that only work with the new 3ds. That would hurt sales of those games as install base would be limited.

The 1 announced game which is a remake or port (and any other exclusives they release) are just further incentives to upgrade besides the better 3d and 3 shop browsing and ability to customize the shell and the analog nub and nfc.

But they aren't going to go all out with games that only play on this new model.

Benjamin Quintero
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@Ujn

Also, this is only an announcement for a JP release. There is not official news for a US/EU release other than 2015 I think. If sales are booming in JP, beyond the capability for them to build up some stock in their warehouse then it's possible we may not see this until Holiday 2015. That's a long wait, and I'm guessing 90% of the future games will still work on old 3DS. There are companies like Wayforward that were making DS games long into the 3DS life cycle. Trust me, there will be games to play on your system...

Adam Mahase
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So sell it and buy the new one. Next time buy the device early on so you can have more time to enjoy it. Welcome to the world of technology btw. The new device doesn't suddenly make the old one crappy and no one knows what Nintendo's plan is yet. When Apple does this (not saying you're mentioning Apple btw), no one seem to care other than developers, then again, why should Apple care about them now that the app ecosystem is so mature.

Zul Zulkifli
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I believe they've done this before with the DSI, which didn't have much exclusive games.

Other than that, not much to say other than you're unlucky.

Ron Dippold
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This would have been great, normal periodic Nintendo handheld upgrade... if they'd changed the name.

It was bad enough with Wii U, but how are you going to explain to grandpa or grandma that /this/ 3DS won't play all the games, but /this/ 3DS will, and this 2DS is obsolete and won't play that new game but it's what you should get for your young kids anyhow? Or oh, do you know /which/ 3DS your kid has so we know which games we can sell you?

Bob Johnson
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If they changed the name it would just make it worse. This will be the only version on shelves too once the old ones are gone. And this new revision isn't going to have many other, if any other exclusive games so you won't have to do any explaining.

The announced game is just another bone thrown your way to get you to upgrade. But other than that why would they make games only for this new revision when there is already a 40 million or so install base of other 3ds hardware?

They won't.

Ron Dippold
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I think 'why' is kind of the question for anything Nintendo does other than the boringly reductionist answer of 'We've got so much money in the bank we just don't care.'

Kyle Redd
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I *just* bought a 3DS XL system. Not happy.

David Klingler
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To those complaining about the rate of hardware transitions: it's not just releasing today out of the blue. They've given what I would consider a reasonable amount of preparation time for release, especially because they haven't stated/confirmed any release outside Japan.

Duvelle Jones
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If I remember, I think that Europe was confirmed to be some time in 2015.

I have not heard Nintendo of America on this new device, but if I was to make a guess, I would think that it is about the same time frame, maybe a month or two behind.

I don't think that you are going to see Nintendo (at least in the US and Europe) move to the New 3DS too fast, they would still need to clean out stock of the old model and from what I understand, Nintendo prioritizes those regions the most. So, it's likely that you might hear about this model again around the next E3.... I would not expect anything before that.

Michael Stevens
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Has anyone ever put a stick above the face buttons before? Nintendo has a long history of unconventional-but-effective ergonomics, but I can't imagine ever touching the c-stick and not also hitting the X button. Maybe it's okay if you're playing with the system on a table?

Duvelle Jones
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That seems to be a thing with Nintendo devices of late, since the start of the Wii U.
I am not a big fan of more than one analog stick, but it's not a big issue. It's effective and comfortable with the placement on the Gamepad or the Pro controller. The 3DS might be a little different... by the sound of it, it seems to function alot like the track pad from Thinkpads.

Bob Johnson
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This is just standard Nintendo. They release new hardware revisions every few years.

They try and give you incentives to upgrade but at the same time know that games have to be playable on the older systems as well. You'll get that announced exclusive but little else in the way of exclusive games will come of it.

Look at what we have. They combined the peripherals (2nd stick and upcoming NFC hockey puck) into the thing. They added colors (like they always do) in the form of the customizable shells. And then gave you an exclusive game to play like they did with the DSi.

They improved the 3d like they did the backlight on the GBA. And along the same lines added a faster cpu for better eshop browsing and downloading etc.

Jay N
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The naming of the handheld could certainly be a problem, if not handled correctly. Unfortunately, if the 3DS and Wii U are anything to go on, the issue won't be handled until after the fact. I still remember having to explain to the customer service reps in the store that yes, I did know this game could not be played on the original Nintendo DS, and yes, I did in fact have a Nintendo 3DS on which to play it. The Wii U's game box colors were sufficiently different from the Wii's that this wasn't necessary for those games, but stories of consumers unaware that the Wii U was in fact a new machine, not just a tablet, are a dime a dozen.

As for Xenoblade Chronicles, I don't see any reason Nintendo should go for a boxed copy if the game is only available for the New 3DS-range. Establishing an in-store identity for that brand is going to increase exponentially if game boxes are thrown into the equation. It will most likely be available only through a section of the Nintendo eShop that's only available to New 3DS owners.

Monolith Soft is a Nintendo owned subsidiary, which means they're not porting this game under normal market conditions, or else it would be insane to ignore the 3DS's already installed userbase. There probably won't be many other examples of New 3DS exclusive games, especially not from third-parties.

It's funny, though: I had hoped for a re-release of the Xenoblade Chronicles, but on the Wii U. I guess porting it the New 3DS must be cheaper than updating all the textures to HD. Still, it's a very beautiful game, and I think the 3D will work wonders for the title.

Zul Zulkifli
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Like some others have said, I find it unlikely that the new system will find much exclusive support. Nintendo of course would likely push it with its own games but I find it unlikely the same will happen with 3rd party unless the console install base massively moves to the N3DS' direction first. I think some developers would maybe implement dual control schemes but I find it unlikely many will go the exclusive route because if the weaker install base. As some as said, the tech isn't advanced enough for this to be really a "new" generation but mostly the same hardware. Most developers would probably target the older and larger install base and make the push to the next console when the real next generation of handheld comes (something that they'll know they have to do anyways). While I loath to spend more money in another handheld, a second analog stick and more shoulder buttons is something I really wanted and I would be willing to pay just for that. At the same time, given what I said about lack of exclusive support, I don't think many news games are going to built from the ground up using the new wider control options. I really just wish Nintendo just placed there from the start.

This new console would however greatly reduce the resell value of existing 3DSes I assume.

Jakub Klitenik
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I think it's interesting to look at the other possibilities with this console and Nintendo's other console.
One thing that we can all agree on is that the WiiU is overpriced. According to different areas the main cost is based on the Game Pad. Something around the price of £100. What if they could sale the Wii U without the Game Pad but retain their integrity based on the Game Pad Gameplay?
This could possibly be done with the 3DS, but not in their current state. Too slow a processor, not enough buttons, no NFC capabilities for Amiibo figures.
But the new 3DS models? They should in theory be able to handle it.
I wouldn't be surprised if we hear about how Nintendo are going to release a new WiiU SKU that doesn't have the Game Pad, or even a combination of the Wii U and New 3DS.

Duvelle Jones
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I don't think that is going to happen... Without the game pad, there is little that separates the system.


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