Nintendo never seems satisfied releasing only one version of a console, and its 3DS is no exception. It's already been through an original, an extra-large and a kids' version, so what's one more? A new 3DS is on the way, and this one boasts two analog sticks, improved 3D functionality and more power under the hood.
The announcement came via today's Nintendo Direct video stream in Japan. The company will release the New Nintendo 3DS (16,000 yen; $154) and the New Nintendo 3DS LL (the Japanese equivalent of the XL, 18,800 yen; $181) on Oct. 11 in Japan. European and North American releases will almost certainly come later.
The upgraded 3DS straddles the line between revamp and entirely new system. In addition to making the A, B, X and Y buttons color-coded, the redesign adds two new shoulder buttons, a second analog stick on the right-hand side of the system (this will control the camera in select games) and NFC functionality for Nintendo's upcoming Amiibo toys.
Because the New 3DS models have improved processing power, Nintendo will be able to release some exclusive titles that will not be backwards-compatible with existing 3DS systems. The first of these titles will be the well-received Xenoblade Chronicles, a Japanese role-playing game that released on the Wii in 2012. This is almost sure to spark some discontentment among people who already own a 3DS and feel that withholding games without creating a brand-new console is unfair.
Beyond that, the system will sport improved battery life, take microSD cards rather than standard ones and use the system's camera and gyroscope to let players see in 3D, even when they move their heads from side to side. The screen will also automatically adjust brightness for use in any kind of lighting condition.
Whether the system justifies a purchase for people who already own a 3DS will be a matter of some debate, but Tom's Guide will review the hardware if and when it hits North America. In the meantime, gamers on this side of the Pacific who want this fall's Super Smash Bros. for 3DS will have to go without it.