A video presentation this morning announced a brand-new, redesigned 3DS that sports a 90% larger screen. Generally good news for anyone that has not purchased a 3DS, but perhaps not such good news for existing owners.
I think it is odd that Nintendo chose not to announce this at E3; but perhaps they didn’t want to overshadow their Wii U announcements. It is also slightly strange that they did not chose to include a second circle pad in the redesign as including one would have likely helped the new system sell in Japan alongside a new Monster Hunter. This also makes for bad reading for current 3DS owners who plan to trade in their current unit for the new XL model; if they happen to own titles that take advantage of a second pad (such as Resident Evil: Revelations and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater), they will be either be forced into reverting to the use of a single pad or, presumably, be expected to buy a new XL-compatible Circle Pad Pro.
The redesigned console will be available in Europe from 28th July, but according to Nintendo America’s Twitter feed, will not be available in America until 19th August and for a recommended retail price of $199.99. It’s worth noting, however, that Nintendo have stuck to their policy of not stating RRPs for their new product, and have not let on how much the 3DS XL will cost UK gamers come July. So, yet again, we will have to wait for retail outlets to start listing them before we get any idea how much of a premium the 3DS XL will be sold for.
Another potential problem that both existing 3DS owners who plan to trade in their old handheld and 3DS newcomers alike will face is the bizarre decision to not pack in some essential accessories with the XL, at least in Europe. For starters, the console does not come packed with an AC adapter – which is fine if you plan on keeping your 3DS (or have an AC adapter for the DSi) – but means that you will either not be able to trade in your old console, or you will also have to buy one separately if you pick up the 3DS XL. Also, although this is arguably more of a welcome convenience than a true essential, the XL, unlike the standard 3DS, doesn’t come with a charging cradle – although it’s not unknown for subsequent iterations of hardware to slim down on pack-ins (we’re looking at you, Apple), I think it’s not unreasonable to expect that you can use a new piece of electronics straight out of the box; which most certainly is not the case with the 3DS XL.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom – apparently the 3DS XL will have an improved battery life compared to the old 3DS, clocking in at a maximum 6.5 hours (compared to the previous maximum of 5 hours) when playing 3DS titles. Nintendo have also upped the size of pack-in SD card from 2GB to 4GB.
The 3DS XL will be available in 3 colours at launch; black, blue and redThankfully, Nintendo’s software announcements made for good reading if you already own a 3DS – and may just push those people who have been tempted by the 3DS XL into actually parting with their cash. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance had already been announced (and I got to play a demo of this last week); new announcements included Art Academy – hardly the most compelling software title – but a newly announced Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, especially made for the 3DS, was good news as was hearing that Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem would be coming to Nintendo’s handheld in the first half of 2013. Nintendo will also be holding a sale on the 3DS eShop that starts today (22nd June) and will be slashing 20% off the cost of some of the most popular software; an announcement that’s just robbed me of any excuse that I may have for not having picked up the highly-rated Pushblox.
Clearly determined to carry on with the theme of bizarre news, Nintendo also announced that they would be partnering with Namco Bandai Games to help produce Super Smash Brothers for the 3DS and Wii U. The project will still be headed up by Masahiro Sakurai, who is said to have been working on the project since finishing production of Kid Icarus Uprising. I was a bit disappointed that this presentation did not include a release date for Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, and, perhaps worse still, noticed that Nintendo were still using the old logo – which still bears the number “2” in the title – for the game at the end of the presentation.
You can watch the full presentation in the video below. What do you think of the news. As an existing owner are you tempted to upgrade? If you have not bought a 3DS already is this enough to push you over the edge? I suspect that Nintendo may have annoyed as many of it’s existing 3DS fans as it has made new ones, but am also sure that like the DSi XL and other DS redesigns before it, the 3DS XL will likely go on to bigger and better things.