Nintendo are infamous for their handheld hardware revisions, but today's Japanese Direct presentation unveils their most ambitious update yet. The New 3DS and 3DS XL models contain a host of upgraded features including the long-awaited second circle pad, wider 3D viewing angles and a faster processor that can support a new wave of more graphically intensive games.
Unfortunately they won't be out in time for Christmas here in the UK... meaning that you might want to strike a 3DS off Santa's list, but fence-sitters might finally get the push they need.
Dubbed the 'New 3DS' and 'New 3DS XL,' these two new models are roughly the same dimensions as their predecessors, but pack some big changes into the same volume. First things first, a small second analogue nubbin has been introduced above the four newly-coloured face buttons, allowing the device to support a wider range of software without having to individually purchase the Circle Pad Pro peripheral. We've bemoaned the lack of a second stick for years, so it's good to see Nintendo incorporate it into the design. Hopefully it will be natively compatible with existing Circle Pad Pro-enabled titles.
Perhaps more importantly, though, the new handhelds boast a faster CPU that will vastly decrease loading and store access times. It will also support a range of more advanced games, headlined by a port of Xenoblade Chronicles, which as you may or may not know is probably the best JRPG of the generation.
We're not entirely sold on the idea of releasing a more powerful version of a handheld halfway through the lifespan, though, especially since newer games will only run on the newer models. I think I'll have to explore that side of things in more detail soon.
Other changes are more subtle but my no means less welcome. The 3D viewing 'sweet spot' has been massively increased, meaning that we won't have to rigidly hold it in place to avoid blurriness, while an onboard NFC reader should neatly tie into the new Amiibo figurine initiative. In a neat twist, the faceplates can be swapped out to suit your tastes.
The bad news for us Eurotrash is that Nintendo won't release the hardware in our region until next year, which puts their Christmas plans in a bit of a bind. Knowing that a newer and more capable upgrade is lurking around the corner won't help their sales any, but in the long-run, many concerns that several 3DS critics have understandably harboured will soon be addressed.
Are you more likely to buy the New 3DS? Worried that your current model might become obsolete? Sound off in the comments!