It's been three years since Nintendo launched its Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming system, so I suppose we're due for an improved model. Nintendo loves to tinker with its hardware over time, after all. People have speculated that it's time for a new 3DS model and now the prophecy has been fulfilled as the company has announced via a Japanese edition of Nintendo Direct what it's calling the New Nintendo 3DS which sports a secondary analog stick, additional buttons, and various other improvements. The New Nintendo 3DS (and New 3DS XL) will be released in Japan are due out in October for ¥16,000 ($154) and ¥18,800 ($181) respectively, but will not be available internationally until 2015.
I'm not one to upgrade my handhelds as new iterations are released, but there's enough happening with the New 3DS that I feel I have no choice but to buy one if I want to stay current. Obviously I can't use the new ZR and ZL buttons or C-stick if I don't have a 3DS that includes them. There's an improved CPU involved, too. It seems risky for Nintendo to split its 3DS user base into two groups like this, but with upcoming games like Super Smash Bros. and a glut of RPGs using these features, what choice do we all have but to upgrade (note that Smash does not require the New 3DS, but will use its C-stick if available)? Exclusive releases for the New 3DS are also in development. Time to move on. Existing 3DS games will not get a boost from the new hardware though.
Especially neat is that Nintendo has improved the 3D functionality to supposedly fix the problem that comes with trying to see the 3D at odd viewing angles. The system uses the built-in gyroscope and camera to track the player's face and adjust the visuals accordingly. The screen will even adjust brightness automatically based on the amount of light in the room. If you're like me and use the 3D at maximum setting most of the time, these upgrades may be worth the price of the new system alone. For those planning to get involved with the Amiibo figurines, you'll be glad to know that the system includes a built-in NFC reader.
There are some other changes in the New 3DS such as the replacement of the SD card slot with a micro SD card slot, improved battery life, and the relocation of the game card slot & stylus. Here's hoping the system transfer function works perfectly right out of the box; I'm not the only one with a lot of existing 3DS content that will need to move to the New 3DS. There's a lot to be excited about here and I'm looking forward to learning more about the new system. There'll be import reviews all over the Internet come October and perhaps the hardware will be further refined before it shows up outside of Japan next year. I kept my original Nintendo DS active for seven years without upgrading and that's a record for me, so I suppose I'm about due for something new. My, how time has flown by. How about you? Do you plan to upgrade when the time comes?