It wouldn’t be a Nintendo handheld without more iterations on the theme than you can shake a stick at. So it comes as no surprise (maybe a little surprise) that Nintendo today announced the New 3DS line. That’s right, “New” is part of the actual title of the system. But what’s so new about it?
First and foremost, the New 3DS (and XL) will boast second analogue sticks that really don’t look like an analogue stick unless you know it’s an analogue stick. Right above the face buttons sits a tiny nub that will act as the camera stick. Let’s hope it has more utility than the PSP’s nubbin.
Second, ZL and ZR buttons will make their debut set inside of the normal shoulder buttons akin to their placement on the Classic Controller for the Wii.
Battery life has been upped a smidge, and the unit will use Micro SD cards for memory. Screen resolution remains the same, however, at 800 x 240 for the top screen, as normal 3DS games will still work in this system. The physical footprint of both the New 3DS and XL remain just about the same as the older units. However, the new units offer customization throughout interchangeable back plates.
Though Nintendo’s stats page doesn’t mention it, The Verge is saying that the units will have faster processors than former 3DS’s, and that a handheld version of Xenoblade Chronicles is in the works for the system. Now that’s cool.
And finally, the units will support NFC, which will allow users to use Amiibo figurines with the unit.
The New 3DS line will come to Japan on October 11. No word on when they’ll arrive stateside, but let’s just say…February.
It’s unfortunate that Nintendo couldn’t (or won’t) bring these to the States in time for the Smash Bros. launch. It would be some kind of stat to see the attach rate of these units with Smash Bros. Oh well.