Nintendo’s AC Adaptor Policy Isn’t Fair

Nintendo’s AC Adaptor Policy Isn’t Fair

The New Nintendo 3DS XL does not come with an AC adaptor. If you don’t have one, you must buy one. Nintendo says there’s a good reason for that. Whatever that reason is, it’s not fair.

The New Nintendo 3DS is an updated version of the 3DS, and it’s truly a fantastic handheld. I cannot recommend it enough. I also recommend that Nintendo put AC adapters in the box when it releases the NN3DS XL, but their failure to do so is not a deal breaker (though it is annoying).

The Kyoto-based game maker explained its rationale to IGN: “New Nintendo 3DS XL uses the same AC adaptor as any Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo DSi system. Rather than raise the cost of New Nintendo 3DS XL by charging consumers for a component they may already own, we are giving them the option to only buy if they need an AC adaptor.”

Picture: NK_AraHaBaki

For years now, Nintendo has been doing this in Japan — and in the past, Japanese players would complain about how Nintendo included plugs with Western portables, but stiffed the domestic market. That being said, the fact that many Nintendo handhelds don’t come with something as basic as an AC adaptor still surprises people in Japan. Even if the packaging does point out that the handheld needs a power plug, it seems like someone people just assume that, you know, it would.

“This 3DS doesn’t come with a power plug?” wrote one Twitter user last December. “Santa brought a 3DS and Yokai Watch 2: Shinuchi to my son,” wrote another on Christmas Day. “But, it doesn’t come with an AC adaptor?!” Getting a present and then realising you need to buy a plug so it will keep working — what a drag!

Back when the Nintendo 3DS XL was released in 2012 in Japan, it did not come with an AC adaptor (ditto for Europe, it seems). Nintendo explained that the reason was “We won’t make you pay for something you don’t need.”

But… it’s the plug that powers the hardware. You need it. More unsettling was the fact that the 3DS XL was sold in North America with an AC adaptor. That’s the sticking point that makes Nintendo’s current claims ring false: In the past, it’s included an AC adaptor, so why stop?

Picture: mucom88

Nintendo is making an assumption that people who purchase the New Nintendo 3DS already have an AC adaptor. In Japan, the plug came with the DSi and the smaller 3DS, but it did not come with the 3DS XL as well as both New Nintendo 3DS sizes.

The odd thing is that Nintendo is actually punishing people who are not early adopters. So, if you bought an original-size Nintendo 3DS, then you got a plug. But if you waited for the XL, too bad.

Or maybe you really waited and didn’t own a DSi or a regular-sized 3DS, but had a DS Lite? Well, you can’t use a DS Lite plug with the 3DS handhelds. You must buy a plug. Nintendo sells them for 925 yen (around $10) — which makes me wonder how much the AC adaptor is really worth or how much it costs Nintendo to manufacture them. Other companies seem perfectly capable of including cables to power their machines, why isn’t Nintendo?

It’s really the principle of the matter that’s so disconcerting. This is like ordering a meal in a restaurant and then being told there’s a surcharge if you need eating utensils. Nintendo shouldn’t be making the decision of what I don’t need and be considerate enough to think, hey, maybe this customer will need a plug to power this new hardware.

Picture: SollairoDays

Sure, some gamers will already have an adaptor, but maybe they want another one. I know in my house we have multiple Nintendo handhelds owned but different family members, but a short supply of plugs. That kinda sucks.

Nintendo may say it’s not passing along charges to the consumer or that it’s saving the consumer money. Actually, Nintendo is saving Nintendo money. Nintendo is thinking about what’s best for Nintendo.

And this isn’t new. The company has been pulling this kind of stuff for years. This ad for 1977’s Colour TV-Game Block Breaker states that dedicated AC adapters are sold separately at 1500 yen (around $16) a pop. (More here on

Picture: million7000

Well, at least now, Nintendo is charging less money for them.



  • It’s just pure arrogance on Nintendo’s part. They are just asuming that everyone already owns a DS or 3DS.

    • I dont have a problem with it and I will tell you why (gotta love the internet):

      1. I paid LESS for the New 3DS XL than I did for my last one by exactly $20. It was not on sale.
      2. I decided to get a new adaptor also because my old one was kinda ratty. It was $14.
      3. I saved $6 in theory.
      4. For those wondering I got metallic blue colour and yes it is awesome.
      5. Include one or not, who cares, is it really a big deal in your life? Go play games. Go have some fun. Relax a little. Dont get so worked up.

      • I would go play games, but my 3DS ran out of battery and I have to pay extra to be able to recharge it.
        If it charged via USB it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this is just stupid.

        • If you have issues paying an extra $15-20 for an adapter, I would argue you shouldn’t have bought the 3DS in the first place.

          At best, it’s a mild annoyance and at least the adapters are available in stores now. Previously if you needed one for any reason, you’d have to contact Nintendo and get it posted to you.

        • You can get USB adapters from ebay. I have one for my desk at work. They’re pretty cheap too.

      • I got a metallic black one. First handheld I’ve owned. I was shocked it didn’t come with the charger, but if the RRP is cheaper than previous ones to compensate then I’m OK with it. And you’re right, it IS awesome!

        • The RRP is the same on the new 3DS XL as the old one.

          If someone paid less for the new one then it is due to normal retailer discount and not Nintendo.

    • I don’t own any Nintendo handheld system, and I don’t have a problem with this.

      It’s not as if the adapter is unavailable to buy. If you need it, buy is separately. What exactly is the issue here?

      • People like to piss and moan is the issue… I think its a perfectly fine move as long as it is plainly advertised and the cost savings are passed on to the consumer.

    • Is it arrogant to assume that those which do not already have a charger, will simply buy one? It seems like the stupidity of the consumer is to blame for any mishaps, it clearly says what it has in the box, and undoubtedly employees would make this clear when prompted. Just like A.X has stated below, simply by going ‘oh okay, I need a charger’ and buying one still leads to a cheaper system. Is it arrogant to market your console in a way that maximizes affordability ? Mate… Do you know what arrogant means ?

  • I have 100’s of “Figure 8” plugs at home, but if I was to buy something that uses this type of cable, I would still expect whatever new product I just purchased would still include one.

  • I don’t see this to be a major issue, even if I didn’t already own one, $15 at EB isn’t going to put anyone too out of pocket and the NN3DSXL (acronym getting long in the tooth there) is rather well priced that even if it were included in the packaging and the price bumped up a little it would still be a fair price to pay.
    That said I do understand the argument in principle, you buy a product and expect it to work out of the box.

  • Imagine Apple selling an iPhone without a power adaptor – people wouldn’t stand for that!

    I got a New 3DS XL recently and was given the option to buy the official Nintendo adaptor for about $18, or a third-part adaptor for a couple of bucks less. I eventually managed to get the salesperson to throw in the third-party adaptor for free.

  • Poorly timed American article? The new 3DS has been available in Australia for a while now and is only being released in the US now? Seems this gives you an option to buy the dock instead. Just buy the 2DS, it comes with a plug.

  • I don’t get Nintendo’s stance honestly. The plug would cost them barely anything to manufacturer and would easily be able to be included.

  • This wouldn’t be so bad if the charging port was just a micro-USB port. But a lot of people who upgrade their handheld will then sell the old one. It’s a bit hard to sell it if you need to keep the power adaptor. Maybe that’s Nintendo’s evil plan.

  • The issue isn’t that they’re noting including an adaptor, it’s that they use a non-standard plug. Pretty much every portable device worth anything uses micro-usb for charging now days, if nintendo used the same plug this wouldn’t be an issue at all, as people would already have plenty of chargers kicking around (unless you live in an Apple only household, in which case you get little sympathy from me).

    • If not a lack of USB charging, their adapters also still only do the local voltage, ie: japanese/US 3DS charger only accepts 110V; australian charger only accepts 240V.

      • This! This so much! Every other portable electronic device I have merely requires an pin adapter to work. If you want to take your 3DS from Australia to the US, you have to bring along a bulky step up/step down transformer.

        • If you’re going to the US and expecting to see very little civilisation, maybe. Otherwise, you can just pop into a store and buy a US adapter to charge it over there. That way you don’t have to pay for a transformer AND it frees up space in your luggage.

          • Yes you could buy a local adapter, but it’d be cheaper to get a plug adapter. Plus, if you’re gonna travel, you’ve probably already got a plug adapter. This was a problem from the 90’s and nothing has changed 🙁

          • Ah, yeah of course. I was more referring to @banjofrog’s suggestion of bringing a transformer along.

          • Or you could still bring the transformer, but then bring along a 4 or 8-port powerboard so only need the transformer and a single plug adapter 😀

        • Me and my friends all took our 3DSes along to Japan, sporting only the non-stepping converters for the plugs. We didn’t have any problem keeping our units charged for the copious amounts of StreetPassing throughout the entire two weeks.

          • I think that’s because youre going from 240V to 110V; if you do it the other way, it’ll most definitely result in something blowing up *looks at blown-up japanese N64 power adapter*

    • This. I was pretty sore about it when I got my Vita and it had a non-standard plug (although, it does need a lot more juice to charge than most protable devices) AND a proprietary memory card.

  • So if you’ve got a N3DS at the moment and upgrade they say well you’ve already got a charger so you’ll be fine and no reason to complain. If people do look to upgrade from their N3DS to the NN3DS then how many of them do you reckon will want to sell their old N3DS? And chances are if you want to sell it then you’ll have to sell it with its included charger because how many people would want to buy it without it? Oh, wait a sec…

  • If a new 3ds xl bundled with an adaptor costed $265 in comparison to a standalone new 3ds xl costing $250 and an optional adaptor costing $15 then I dont see a problem.
    As long as the consumer isn’t getting charged extra then it’s not a big problem as I already have two spare adapters then yeah I would rather it not be bundled if that means I save a few dollars for something I don’t need. People need to read the packaging before buying.

    • I would think the majority of people buying a 3DS for themselves would be aware that it is not bundled with the adapter. The parents on the other hand, who are buying it as a gift would probably see the 3DS and buy it, no questions asked.

      If you buy one from EB, then it’s possible that the staff will mention the adapter, but Target, Kmart, Big W etc I wouldn’t imagine the staff would be aware.

      • They will most definitely get told upfront it does not come with an adapter, because the staff will gladly sell you the adapter (ie: another sale).

    • Pretty much. It’s the same deal as the wii u external storage thing, with people harping on about capacity. Not a big deal.

      Also, the box for the new 3ds is ridiculously compact because they dropped the charger. That will save them significantly on shipping, as will not having to faff with every 3ds box to include the right pins on the adapter. Reminds me of how ikea recently slimmed their classic Expedit book case, saved a billion shredded trees and transport costs, then were attacked on their Facebook pages by weirdos for doing it.

  • So let me get this straight Nintendo. You’re telling me, that after 2-3 years you release an incremental update to a very low-end set of hardware, and it suddenly costs even more to make than it did before? And then you want me to believe $10 is manufacture cost of your PSU?

    It’s clear to me, that you’re being classic Nintendo. You’re doing stupid shit just to push our boundaries and see if we actually see through your bullshit or not. Apparently, the answer is, you can get away with it.

    • The fact that you believe that the 3DS is a low-end portable console painfully betrays your anti-Nintendo bias.

      • He’s obviously talking about hardware and from that perspective the 3DS really is low end.

        Its barely more powerful than the PSP from the year 2004.

        The new 3DS that has just come out has 4 CPU cores clocked at 268mhz each, to put that in perspective the PS Vita which came out in 2011 has 4 CPU cores each clocked at 2000mhz.

  • This does actually breach Australian consumer law – the most prominent price advertised must be for the total set of items to make it function.
    Given the average speed of bureaucracy, there might be some sort of official acknowledgement and clarification by the appropriate watchdog department in 2 years or so.

      • I’d be going along the lines of they’re using a standard type of battery (AA, AAA, C, D, 9V etc..) where as Nintendo is using both a proprietary battery (I am guessing here) which probably not user removable and charger. I think that’s what you could look at where it would be crossing the line and breaking consumer law, forcing you to buy a special Nintendo only charger. Either way it’s a dick move, all to probably save a few bucks in the manufacture & packing process.

        • Not sure about the XL model, but on the non-XL model the battery is accessible and replaceable. Not sure about the proprietary charger connector angle considering Apple’s Lightning connector is proprietary as well (though they do include a charger, even if it’s the slowest charging one).
          But I do agree that, as a first-time buyer it seems deceptive to not include the charger; they should have made the packaging such that you could insert a charger easily to sell to those getting one for the first time (thus you’re still somewhat saving money), or bundle the two together for an “introductory price” where the charger is technically cheaper than buying it separately.

          • See that’s the thing, Apple include a cable & power adapter for all their devices headphones too. Probably because it’s minimal cost to them and they probably don’t want you using 3rd party cables & chargers with their devices so it is in their best interest to include one lol.

  • Couldn’t they do something like not use a proprietary plug if they’re going to pull an arsehat move like this?

    • Totally agree. If it were a USB-type plug, i’d have no problem.But proprietary? What if they’re sold out of chargers at the store? You’re pretty much screwed!
      I would honestly rather pay an extra $15 and have everything included in the box.

      • I bought a USB cable for 3DS/DSi on eBay and have since put away my proprietary cable that came with the 3DS XL. It’s so much easier now, especially when travelling and not needing to deal with dual voltage. I highly recommend it.

  • I am right in the middle, I have a DS Lite and a 3DS XL so either way I would need to buy AC adaptor.
    Didn’t they see that it’s pissed off their domestic market. For a couple of dollars they will actually lose sales I think. I at least have reconsidered my need to get one so fast.

    • the 3DS XL adaptor will work with any New 3DS.
      I had a DS Lite and got a New 3DS XL (Metallic Black) for Christmas. The gifter didn’t know about the adaptor not being included. I got a couple of hours out of the battery that was in there, but it meant I had to brave the post-Christmas sales to be able to do anything with it beyond that. A little frustrating.

  • It’s complete BS, because if they genuinely wanted to save the consumer a buck, they would make the power adapter plug generic USB, rather than unique to the 3DS. That said, I picked up a 3rd party 3DS cable off trademe for $3 when I bought my New 3DS XL – better that than the $20 for a Nintendo one, or having to pay $20 more for the 3DS!

  • All this needs to stop this crap is a bunch of parents buy their kids the new 3DS as a Christmas present and are not told or misled about the power adapter and they then find out the charger they have isn’t compatible or they needed to buy one extra and then create a stink with the media, i’m sure we’d see the ACCC jump on it and smack Nintendo for being naughty.

    • I thought they did. That’s why the DSi XL or the first 3DS XL (can’t remember which one) included it.

        • Not sure. I just remember there AC adapters were included in previous versions whereas they weren’t else where.

  • I can’t think of any other electrical product that is sold with the same kind of limitations. The device is literally unusable unless you go out and purchase a specific AC adapter, not standard AA batteries or even a USB cable.

  • On a slightly (but not really) related topic, my biggest issue with the AC adapter is the fact that when it’s plugged in, it’s oriented parallel to the floor (ie, sticks out to the right) making the thing a huge annoyance to plug in if you don’t have a single or right-most socket available.

    And then I come into this article and see that the US adapters are perpendicular to the ground, allowing you to plug them into any socket available 🙁

    • This has always annoyed me too! I just made sure the right most socket was left spare for this sort of thing.

  • The fact that one might already own a 3DS or DS Lite seems irrelevant to me, I own both btw. When you transfer your Nintendo account from your old DS to the new one, it’s wipes the old one anyway seemingly like you’re not intending to use it anymore, and if that’s the case in my mind, most people would probably look to just sell their old DS’s off. Now of course if you sell it with the charger it came with which would be expected, then you effectively end up with no charger.

    At the very least if they don’t offer a power socket based charger, they should at least pop in a usb based charging cable, surely that wouldn’t bump the cost up much.

  • Sooo we criticise Apple for their constant changing of plugs and the waste that generates now we bag ninty for doing the opposite because it’s inconvenient. Very sad :-(. Though limited it’s at least something

  • Couldn’t they negate this by also having a thrid option of a ‘starter kit’ which has everything included? It could just be the two boxes duct-taped together…or retailers could do it? It seems like not a very big deal either way, as long as it’s clear that the charger isn’t included and that you should get one if you don’t already have one…

  • It uses an identical plug to the DSi, DSiXL, 3DS, and 3DSXL.

    Between them those consoles sold more units than there are grains of sand in the entire universe and it’s the came plug that they’ve been selling since November 2008. That’s 6 goddamn years. The majority of buyers will more than likely have access to at least one charger.

    Between my girlfriend and I, we own 3 proper chargers and 2 USB chargers, even after the bullshit of moving country and then moving house twice, there was no shortage of chargers for either of us. When we upgraded to the new model there was no reason to include one. This move makes total sense.

  • New 3DS is better value overall even with having to buy the charger separately

    Get a 2DS or 3DSXL, they come with chargers, but you want that second stick, gotta buy a Circle Pad Pro ($25)
    Amiibo fuction, gotta buy that platform attatchment ($PriceTBA)

  • Not only are Nintendo assuming most people already own a previous console, but they are ALSO assuming that we don’t want to trade those consoles in or give them to friends when we get the N3DSXL. And that’s kind of a crazy assumption…

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