Nintendo’s New 3DS – Here’s Why You Should Be Excited

Robert Wiesehan 30-08-2014

On August 29th, Nintendo announced that it would be bringing a new 3DS console to Japan this October. More than just the size and style redesign of the 3DS XL Nintendo 3DS XL Review and Giveaway Among all the big names in gaming consoles, Nintendo is definitely among the top favorites. As a '90s kid, I associate much of my childhood with playing Nintendo games. I remember growing up with the... Read More , the New 3DS (and larger New 3DS LL model) is a half step toward being a new generation of handheld, with a faster CPU, more buttons, and even an exclusive game already announced. Learn more about the features of this new system, and appreciate all of the new possibilities it opens up for gaming on the go.


The Next Generation Of 3DS

Though we don’t have a release date for western markets yet, it’s not too early to look over the New 3DS feature set announced in the Japanese Nintendo Direct stream. Here’s what we know about the new console so far:

  • More Buttons – The system has secondary shoulder buttons – the ZL and ZR buttons – slightly further in from the existing L and R buttons.
  • Right Analog Nub – At long last, this iteration of the 3DS will have a right analog input standard. A nub that looks similar the pointing stick input you may have seen on laptop keyboards sits just above the four face buttons.
  • Wider Angle 3D Viewing – While 3D viewing is turned on, the system will use the player-facing camera to track your head, and adjust the image so that it doesn’t blur and distort. The games with the best 3D implementation 4 Nintendo 3DS Games That Make Incredible Use Of The 3D Tech The 3D in the 3DS isn't just there for show. It's actually a key part of the console that just isn't used by enough games. However, there are some games that take the 3D technology... Read More will look even better!
  • Near Field Communication – NFC capability will allow the system to interface with compatible devices and chips, including Nintendo’s upcoming Amiibo figurines. The best example of this feature in video games so far has been the Skylanders series, with its statues that become playable characters when in contact with the game’s Portal of Power accessory.
  • Better Specs – The New 3DS has a faster CPU and boasts faster download speeds than any of its predecessors.
  • HTML5 Video Support – While your 3DS is unlikely to be your favored web browsing device, HTML5 support makes the New 3DS more capable in that regard should the need arise.
  • Removable Faceplates – Nintendo will be offering a wide variety of options to customize your system, from classy wood and slate colors, to soft pastel fashion patterns, to vibrant images of gaming mascots.

It’s exciting to imagine all of the optional features this new hardware could enable in future 3DS games, but these new additions aren’t just for enhancing games that run on the existing hardware. Like exploration heavy RPGs Love Exploring? These RPGs Are Made For You Many players love RPGs because their large, open worlds offer an unparalleled opportunity to explore a virtual landscape. Here's ten games that you can explore for hours on end. Read More ? Nintendo also announced that the portable version of the popular Wii RPG Xenoblade Chronicles will only be playable on the New 3DS hardware.

What Could The Future Hold?

By continuing to use the 3DS name, Nintendo is projecting that this new system isn’t a dramatic leap over the previous models. The little features add up though, and there are lots of new experiences this hardware upgrade could enable.

Proper Dual Analog Control

When the first generation of 3DS launched, the lack of a right analog input seemed like a terrible oversight on Nintendo’s part. Players have gotten used to controlling all kinds of first and third person games with dual analog input, with one stick controlling movement and strafing, and the other controlling looking and turning. Kid Icarus: Uprising got by on the 3DS with its stylus swipe look controls, but it was a clumsy work around at best. Now that we’re looking forward to a 3DS with dual analog inputs included, it isn’t hard to imagine great first-person shooters on the horizon. Maybe not the gritty modern military shooters like Call of Duty, but more playful titles, like EA’s Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, would be a perfect fit.

Innovation On The Skylanders Experience

The Skylanders fad may have cooled somewhat, but that doesn’t mean that the appeal of physical figures and trinkets that influence your games is dead. The New 3DS won’t need accessories to interact with the Amiibo figurines, but what if Nintendo takes the idea even further? What if your Pikachu figure could bring some exclusive attacks from Super Smash Bros. to your next Pokémon battle? Games are just starting to explore the possibilities that NFC figures and accessories enable. By providing this feature on both their home and handheld platforms, Nintendo is in a position to innovate.


Portability Of Console Gameplay

Four face buttons, four shoulder buttons, a directional pad, and two analog sticks. It’s kind of amazing how little video game controllers have changed since 1997. That was the year Sony released the DualShock controller for the PlayStation. The New 3DS may not have buttons hidden beneath the analog sticks like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4’s controllers do, but along with the added flexibility of its touchscreen, it’s closer than ever before to having parity with the control standards of major consoles. Even closer than the PlayStation Vita!

Why is this so important? Developers have had over 15 years of experience designing games around this controller paradigm, and they’ll continue to design for it thanks to Sony and Microsoft’s decisions to stick with what we all know. This means lots of game design work done for the two most popular next generation consoles will be portable to the New 3DS. Complex action games like Rocksteady’s Batman series could go portable, and fighting games won’t need to map as many critical functions to combined button presses.


Nintendo is making a bold proposal by offering some games exclusive to this incremental hardware upgrade. Just like Apple has taught iOS users that some new apps just won’t work on older versions of their hardware, Nintendo is asking you to accept a continuum of 3DS hardware models. This could mean you’ll see hardware iteration more often, with the understanding that older models, while still supported and viable, just won’t play some small fraction of future games.

Would you buy a new 3DS every two to three years to take advantage of constantly improving technology? Do you think this new 3DS has arrived too soon? Make your case in the comments.


Image Credits: gtknj Via Flickr

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  1. Chris
    September 2, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    *how much your people love you
    Damn autocorrect.

  2. Chris
    September 2, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I really don't think that this will be quite the same as the DSi transition since the DSi was a complete and total hoax that Nintendo used to somewhat gracefully combat piracy. The DS and DS lite both lacked upgradable firmware, meaning once flash carts were developed for "homebrew" then there was absolutely nothing Nintendo could do about it.

    The DSi on the other hand had upgradeable firmware so when the flash carts come out, they can change it and flash stop working until the flash carts get a firmware update. To the public, they pretended to offer all these fantastic features when in reality they gave you a browser that should have came standard on the system anyways, a terrible low quality camera, and an eshop not containing anything particularly interesting, or at least not enough to warrant a new console.

    In the end, I preferred keeping the ability to play my GBA games. This new DS looks like it will actually offer gameplay enhancing features and as long as Nintendo presses this as an advantage, they will come out fine. This means make lots of games that use the new hardware! Maybe even more than a handful of exclusives. Don't underestimate how much your puerile live you Nintendo!

  3. Cubx
    August 31, 2014 at 2:20 am

    I would settle for games that took advantage of the circle pad. I bought them for both of my Zelda 3DSs, merely as a grip. But it would be nice if they had functionality for more than one or two games.

    • Robert W
      August 31, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      You may be in luck, Cubx. If developers can count on more players having two analog inputs, they may make more games that use it. The question is, will they make those games demand the other New 3DS features so you'll have to nab the new hardware anyway? Time will tell...

  4. LiquidEvilGaming
    August 30, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Honestly i think they didn't go far enough,the new features are nice but it's not really a "next gen" handheld when it still sounds like the specs will be behind the slowly selling Vita. I think they needed to go much much further in the spec department (especially an HD screen) among other things...this seems more akin to what the DSi was to the DS honestly.

    • Dimitris
      August 31, 2014 at 9:24 am

      Well that's exactly what it is. Like the DS to DSi. They never said that this is a next generation system. Just a typical upgrade-redesign Nintendo always do.

    • Liquidevilgaming
      August 31, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      That's exactly the problem Dimitris the dsi by all accounts was more or less a failure compared to the other units... So this as a side grade is relatively pointless given the already overly saturated 3ds market. So unless they make a ton of games exclusive to it due to the increase in cpu speed... I see this one going the way of gameboy micro a near forgotten model.

    • Robert W
      August 31, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      I think the thing that's getting to me a bit about this one is that it's going to have exclusive games at retail, which, and correct me if I'm wrong, the DSi never had. It had exclusive eShop stuff, but at the end of the day, a casual user who walked into their game store of choice wasn't getting confused.

      It also creates a new content gate that will likely have very cool, but very little content behind it. When the price to go through that gate is probably going to be around $200 (no US price yet, admittedly), it feels exploitative.

      But like I mention in the article, I think this is Nintendo trying to do the Apple model. It just feels strange because it isn't "the way things are done" in this market, by and large.

    • huhua
      September 2, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      shut up and eat your noodles fry boy