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Nintendo Limits 3DS Analog Stick Add-On To GameStop Stores Only
Nintendo Limits 3DS Analog Stick Add-On To GameStop Stores Only
December 13, 2011 | By Eric Caoili

Nintendo has formalized plans to bring its Circle Pad Pro accessory for the 3DS in North America, though it will only be available at one outlet: major video game retailer GameStop.

The Circle Pad Pro attaches to the 3DS and provides a second analog stick for those games that support it. The company hasn't explained why the peripheral won't see a wider release, and tells Gamasutra that there are no current plans to make it available elsewhere in the future.

Nintendo of America has previously put out first-party games with limited appeal, such as Electroplankton and Chibi-Robo! Park Patrol for DS, through limited distribution deals with retailers like GameStop and Wal-Mart.

Most recently, it announced that critically acclaimed and cult favorite Wii RPG, Xenoblade Chronicles, will ship in North America through GameStop and Nintendo's own website next April.

Since the Circle Pad Pro's unveiling in September, many gamers and analysts were skeptical of the accessory, questioning why its features -- a second analog pad and additional shoulder buttons -- weren't built into the 3DS when it launched.

Nintendo hasn't announced retailer-exclusive releases for the Circle Pad Pro in other territories, and in fact bundled it with Capcom's Monster Hunter Tri-G in Japan and Resident Evil: Revelations in Europe (where Nintendo is distributing the game).

Resident Evil: Revelations will ship in North America on the same day as the Circle Pad Pro, February. Other upcoming 3DS titles including Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D and Kingdom Hearts 3D will feature support for optional Circle Pad Pro controls.

The Circle Pad Pro itself will sell for $19.99.

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Eric Kwan
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Are they trying to have this thing fail to reach mass adoption?

Nick Kinsman
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A lot seems to be going through my head right now, but ultimately, I'm left speechless.

Eric Geer
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My guess is that Ninty is looking to sell the items of "least demand" from their home website and gamestop(the largest game distributor in the US).

It will still reach a huge audience and they won't end up with quick price drops like they would if they over shipped items. I'm sure its a testing ground for the future of their distribution process.

Harry Fields
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Clearly, the peripheral was a knee-jerk reaction to fledgling 3DS sales from early this year. Now that they've rebounded and are really taking off (without the help of the peripheral), I doubt the Big "N" wants to really saturate retail channels with this thing.

Chris Melby
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Anyone else remember the memory upgrade for the N64, which improved its visuals by allowing games to run at 640x4840?

If not, Nintendo was hesitant to release it. When they did, it sold out and they couldn't keep up with the demand. I wonder if Nintendo is underestimated the potential popularity of this peripheral? But I guess that all depends on the games that support it.

Jamie Mann
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True... but the N64 was memory starved and the ram-pack (hey hey 16k - obscure British reference of the day) made a significant difference to game visuals. And some of the console's most popular games (e.g. Perfect Dark, DK64, Zelda: Majorca's Mask) required it.

Conversely, it can be argued that the features on the AddOn are not as vital: they should have been either built into the 3DS (and look to have been added to the Wii U controller) or developers should be using the available control mechanisms. This distinctly clumsy hack should never have made it out of R&D!

John Flush
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For how much hate GS gets with developers and publishers, I can't figure out a good reason why Nintendo would force more foot traffic to the store.

Eric Geer
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GS has a huge reach and it is known by just about anyone--and none of the other stores are much better now--they have all started their own used game programs...but at GS generally the money comes back to the industry. At other locations(BestBuy/Target/Amazon) the money can be used on anything they sell, which could potentially draw money out of the industry.

Russell Carroll
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I think this has to do with the target for the device.

This is an accessory that isn't required, but one that core gamers are likely to want.

Core gamers are more likely to buy at GameStop than at Target/Walmart/etc.

So it makes a lot of sense that the device, which is only useful on a handful of core games, would be available at a place like GameStop. Who knows, maybe Nintendo is trying some subliminal connection of 'core' w/the 3DS?

Regardless, on a personal front, unless the device works with the new Kid Icarus game I'm not interested.

...but then again dual-stick FPS games don't get me excited, so it's no surprise that I don't see any utility in the add-on ;).

Steve Ackerman GS
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I guess I won't be getting one since I will never set foot in GamStop again.

Ujn Hunter
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Dear Nintendo, Let me know when you release a 3DS with these controls included in the design of the actual system. Thanks.

P.S. I don't and won't shop at GameStop so you should find other avenues for your business. Thanks. Again.