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."
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?
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.
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 BeforeMario.com.)
Well, at least now, Nintendo is charging less money for them.