Just when you thought it was safe to make a handheld purchase, Nintendo of Japan drops a bomb on gamers everywhere. New hardware with new specs in both 3DS and 3DS XL flavors will be available soon in Asia – the rest of us seemingly have to wait. Here’s what we know so far.
So what’s the difference? Lots. There are now twice as many shoulder buttons (ZL and ZR join the two original triggers), and the new systems will feature dual analogue sticks… though the second one really seems to be more of a glorified nub.
And that’s it? Not even close! These models also support a newly retooled charging cradle system, have onboard support for the upcoming Amiibo NFC figure line and everything from the stylus to the cartridge slot to the Micro SD port (which replaces the old standard SD functionality) has been moved around within the shell.
What about the overall look? Pretty much the same, although the New 3DS does appear to now sport some nice SNES-style multicolored buttons.
But the New 3DS XL will still be the superior system, right? I honestly don’t know. I’ve really come to appreciate the bigger XL screen, but the smaller New 3DS does come with an option for swappable top and bottom covers – and we all know I’m sort of a sucker for vanity features like that.
There’s that support for new Menu themes, too. Yeah, but that’s coming to the current models as well with the October firmware update. We still don’t have word on how much these theme’ll cost, but I’m hoping Nintendo will shed a little light on that soon.
So everything goes down in October? Well, only Japan appears to be getting the new system this year. US and European gamers will have to wait until 2015 – unless they want to import a (likely still region-locked) system.
What’s this I hear about the web browser? In the Japanese territory, at least, it will arrive with web content filtering already enabled. To deactivate it users will need to register a credit card, which will entail around a 30 cent charge.
But I can still play all the new games on my current system, right? Not quite. The upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles port, for example, will only works on the newer iterations with their speedier processors.
So bottom line it; do I need to upgrade? That’s the big question. It all depends on how far Nintendo (and 3rd parties) are willing to take this game-specific stratification. That being said, as much as I hate to see the user base splintered I am crazy anxious to get my hands on the new hardware. I’ll do my best to keep all you GeekDad gamers in the loop as further details are revealed.