Well isn’t this a first.
Nintendo Australia have just announced that the ‘New’ 3DS and 3DS XL will be launching in Australia and New Zealand this year, with a wider launch happening for other markets, such as the US and Europe, in 2015. While Japan will still get the portable console first, in early October, Nintendo detailed local release plans via an Australian Nintendo Direct video this afternoon.
The release will come November 21, with a price-tag of $219.95 for the regular model and $249.95 for the New 3DS XL. A charger will be sold separately, strangely, for $15, though the new model works with pre-existing Nintendo chargers.
As well as being more powerful the new model now has a second analog stick, called the C-Stick (only 3 years late), as well as new ZL and ZR rear-facing buttons. The Super Famicon-colour scheme for other buttons (pictured above) will also remain. The screen’s 3D effect will also improve, with a so-called “super-stable 3D” function. Not one to miss an opportunity, Nintendo will also include an NFC reader, allowing the use of what they call amiibo figures. Cover plates will also be available now, meaning you could potentially swap the default cover for a limited edition front-plate, or even a custom cover.
Other than that, the new release is a little confusing. As usual, a new Nintendo console brings with it a strange name, likely to confuse average consumers. Some new games, for instance, will only work with a new model, leaving current 3DS and 2DS owners with a possibly obsolete device. And despite the low price of the new models, the naming strategy of just adding a ‘New’ prefix will likely hurt public awareness. It’ll be interesting to see how Nintendo communicates the difference between exclusively New 3DS software and games which work on both devices. Likewise, as history shows, we shouldn’t be surprised to hear of Christmas-day disappointment as a parent buys a New 3DS game for a 3DS owner. Like we’ve already seen with the also awkwardly-named Wii U, and even the 2DS, it wouldn’t hurt Nintendo to just give it an entirely new name, or even something more distinguished. Perhaps the Nintendo Super 3DS, or just the Nintendo DS2.
Either way, it’s a little crazy, though at the same time inherently interesting to see Nintendo test the waters down under. Hopefully, for their sake, the temperature is high.