What We Know About The New 3DS So Far

What We Know About The New 3DS So Far

Nintendo woke us all up early this morning with a fresh batch of information about a new and improved 3DS mobile console it’s making. Most of this was geared towards its Japanese audience, however, so let’s break down the relevant parts of the news for gamers outside the company’s home country.

Here are the main talking points:

There’s a new analogue stick.

What We Know About The New 3DS So Far

Well, more of a nub really. It’s called the “C-Stick.” It sits on the top right corner of the lower half of the console, just above the four face buttons. Nintendo says it will be easy to use in a number of different ways for multiple games going forward. As my colleague Brian Ashcraft wrote this morning: “The new C-stick will be used in Dragon Quest X: Online, Final Fantasy Explorers, and Monster Hunter 4G to control the in-game camera function, and in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS to unleash Smash Attacks.”

Also: new shoulder buttons.

What We Know About The New 3DS So Far

That’s in addition to the current two. They both sit slightly inward from the original shoulder buttons, so gamers will have four going forward. As for how these buttons are going to influence gameplay? We’ll have to wait until it’s actually out in the wild to see.

Speaking of buttons, they look awfully familiar.

What We Know About The New 3DS So Far

Good observation! The whole system is getting a subtle redesign that references choice elements from previous Nintendo consoles. The C-Stick, for instance, recalls the GameCube’s C-Stick. The face buttons, meanwhile, are brightly coloured in the SNES tradition.

The hardware and software are getting an upgrade.

What We Know About The New 3DS So Far

It’s still a 3DS, but Nintendo insisted that this will be the best 3DS yet, performance-wise. The new 3DS has 3.5-6 hours of battery life, compared to the original’s 3-5. The XL has 3.5-7, up from 3.6-6. Nintendo also said that the newer models will have a faster CPU and better 3D effects to avoid some of that pesky “blurring” that happens so often with the current models if you tilt the console too much while playing. It will still use the same cartridges, but the slot’s position has been adjusted slightly for the new models, both of which are slightly larger than their predecessors. Also, it’s switching from normal SD to Micro SD cards.

Alongside the technical improvements, Nintendo is also updating the look and feel of the device. There are the new buttons, as I’ve already mentioned. But they’re also rolling out some snazzy-looking faceplates — though they’re only available for the 3DS and not the XL version, unfortunately.

The internet will be “filtered”.

Gamers will still be able to surf the web on the new system, but they will have to pay a small fee to override certain parental control-type limitations on the new console.

It’s backwards compatible, but already has one ‘exclusive.’

Part of what a hardware upgrade means is that Nintendo will begin making games that are optimised for the newer tech. To start, the company said that Xenoblade Chronicles will be exclusive to the new systems — though that’s technically a port of a 2010 game. But it’s also making all of the new hardware instantly compatible with the NFC tech required to use the Skylanders-style Amiibo figures that the company will be rolling out later this year. Older 3DS models will have to rely on a peripheral to use the figures.

As is often the case, the true backwards compatibility of the new system remains an open question. Nintendo said that it will be compatible with earlier 3DS games, and that players will be able to transfer data from previous consoles. Keep in mind that it’s also already getting its own exclusive titles, though. So while you might be able to play older 3DS titles on the new console, there could also be any number of other games incoming that are only available for the new version. Once it’s actually available of course. And, well…

We won’t be playing with it anytime soon.

Nintendo said that the new 3DS models are going to launch in Japan on October 11th for 18,800 yen and 16,000 yen respectively (around $190 and $170). Everyone else is going to have to wait. The company said that while it likely bring the new mobile console to other markets at some point, that won’t happen in 2014.


  • I knew I was holding off on buying a 3DS for a reason! But how long will I have to wait? If this plays all previous games though plus a bunch of new ones I guess it’s worth…

  • Besides having the same name, how isn’t this a completely new hardware generation? Way to segment your consumers Ninty.

      • The confusion exists with the additional controls on the machine. How will Developers find a way of utilizing them so it doesnt impact original 3ds owners? I just think they wont be used at all.

  • I’m assuming, by its omission in any details – that it doesn’t play DS games.

    I guess it’s to be expected – the original DS late lifecycle upgrade, the DSi/DSiXL omitted GBA backwards compatibility – so its already established in Nintendos console cycle.

    A shame, if as I suspect – it’s true, as I’d be day one for this – if only to justify digging into my DS backlog of shame, which is significantly larger than my 3DS pile of shame. And since I’ve already got a 3ds & an XL (and a DS phat, lite and DSi XL, and had planned on getting a 2DS for young 4 year old DangerMaxwell … Oh the horror!) – I think I need excuses not to rush out and buy ANOTHER system to play the same games on…

    Though I probably will anyway. According to Nintendo, I’m a “3DS ambassador” and have a shiny app to prove it. Surely it’s an ambassadorial duty to buy near every iteration of your ambassadorial territory.

    But seriously – I hope it is DS compatible…

      • Oh noes. I’d skipped straight to this one.

        Obviously this is “almost” everything I needed to know about the new 3DS.

        Day One it is then. Hopefully by PAL launch, they’ll have a red one (with omega ruby k thx)

  • Looking forward to this! The only reason I don’t play with the 3D on most of the time is because of that horrid viewing angle. Now it’s fixed 🙂 Also, will be able to use battery extenders without sacrificing Circle Pad Pro functionality – because it’s built into the system. Should have been like that from day one, but meh, better late than never!

    I really should be more cynical about this, but you know what, F that – there’ll be enough of that in comments sections all over the interwebs soon enough. For me, it’s just an excuse to hand my 3DSXL down to my Nephew, and splurge on this for me! 🙂

  • After the Wii U issues I’d have thought Nintendo would have learnt to be more creative with their console names..

  • How soon until the “C-Stick” is called the “C-lit” by everyone?

    Am a bit miffed at finally buying a 3DS XL last year for Pokemon X & now that they have the updated I was originally waiting for with an exclusive title that I really want.

    Since I got a limited edition Pokemon Y (the red one) 3DS I might just buy the new one once the price drops a bit.

    • Doesn’t seem likely. Xenoblade Chronicles isn’t, although Smash bros is. I’d say most will be compatible, but within a little while they’ll all be making use of the C-Stick

  • Ok, I sense a flop. Is this a new machine? Or an update? How will new games take advantage of this machine while not impacting gamers with the current model?

  • Guys! 3DS! Woo!
    Wait…. who forgot the second analog stick – shit….
    Guys! Circle Pad Pro! Woo!
    Wait…. it’s a bit small – shit….
    Guys! 3DS XL!
    Wait…. you forgot the second analog stick AGAIN?Shit….
    Guys! Circle Pro XL! Woo!
    Wait…. you mean we can KINDA fit a second analog nub thingy?
    Guys! New 3DSes! Again!

    Seriously. I sometimes think Nintendo are just taking the piss with their upgrades.

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