Editorial What is the Future of the NEW 3DS?
What is the Future of the New 3DS ?
Editorial Written By: Adolph Vega
Original Publish Date: June 30th 2016
I am not usually the person to write long editorials, but how Nintendo is handling the launch and post launch period for the NEW 3DS has me seriously confused and frustrated. One of the key elements of this website is to cover the Nintendo 3DS News and it's games and how Nintendo is handling this new hardware is truly strange to me. The future of the NEW 3DS hardware is so unclear that I feel that it must be discussed in full detail . Before I discuss the future of the NEW Nintendo 3DS I need to go over the brief history of this system.
This time last year (June 2014) nobody in the media or general public knew about the existence of the NEW 3DS. Nintendo released the 2DS in 2013 to a lukewarm reception and less than stellar sales. The Nintendo 2DS is a redesigned hardware of the 3DS platform without a stereoscopic 3d display and without the clam shell design . Nintendo of Japan revealed the NEW 3DS in a Nintendo direct presentation in August 2014, and released it in Japan two months later. Australia was the next region to receive the Nintendo NEW 3DS in November of 2014. Sadly the NEW 3DS wasn’t available for American or Europeans consumers until February 2015. Nintendo of Europe experimented with the release of an ambassador NEW 3DS earlier than the official release in 2015 but the wide release was February 2015.
Now that I have talked about the history of the NEW 3DS hardware, I must discuss what exactly this hardware is . The NEW Nintendo 3DS is the handheld video game console from Nintendo that can play stereoscopic 3D video games without the need of 3D glasses. The NEW 3DS is the successor to the original Nintendo 3DS which released in 2011.
The NEW 3DS has two hardware models: The extra large size (XL) and the standard size which has removable interchangeable faceplates. The smaller standard sized NEW 3DS has not released in the United States as of publication of this editorial. I find it perplexing that Nintendo refuses to sell the smaller model within the United States when it’s sold in every other region of the world that the NEW 3ds is available. Nintendo of America must consider releasing the smaller sized NEW 3DS in in North America, it's simply unfair that the United States doesn't have the option to buy the smaller unit. If Nintendo is afraid of low demand for the unit or supply issues with the faceplates than make the smaller NEW 3DS an online exclusive. Having the smaller NEW 3DS as an online exclusive mitigates stores from needing to find shelf space for the faceplates and any potential consumer confusion. Many potential consumers have shown interest in the smaller NEW 3DS model within the US market on various Online message boards and forums and social media but Nintendo of America hasn't decided on a release date for that model. Nintendo of America is literally preventing more sales of the NEW 3DS hardware by refusing to sell this smaller model in North America.
Let me digress and return to what are the notable features of the NEW 3DS. The notable new featues of the NEW 3DS include: improved 3D viewing angle ( Super stable 3D ) , additional ZL and ZR buttons, new C stick analog nub , faster and more powerful graphics processor, improved and faster wireless internet, built in near field communication (NFC) amiibo support and slightly improved digital cameras. The NEW 3DS is backward compatible with all previous DS games and 3DS games, and even improves a select few of them with the addition controller inputs and faster load times. Most members of the press and the general public consider the NEW 3DS to be a nice upgrade to the previous 3DS hardware , but not a monumental improvement .
Many people have compared the NEW 3DS to the previously released Nintendo DSi. The Nintendo DSi was an incremental update to the Nintendo DS handheld that had a small increase in graphical processor, digital cameras, and a digital shop to download games. The NEW Nintendo 3DS currently (as publication of this article) only has one exclusive game that cannot be played on the previous 3DS/2DS hardware. This exclusive game is Xenoblade Chronicles 3D which is a re-released port of a Wii game.
The Nintendo DSi had five digital exclusive games at launch and the NEW 3DS only has one exclusive game released within the same time period after launch. Yes many of the DSIWARE games were smaller scale games and not full fledged games but the fact still remains that the Nintendo DSi had more initial support from Nintendo than the NEW 3DS during the same period of time after launch. It is absolutely shameful that the DSi has more support from Nintendo than the NEW 3DS currently has .
Going back to the subject of the NEW 3DS a major announcement regarding the NEW 3DS came in April of 2015. Unity Technologies announced support for the NEW Nintendo 3DS with a Unity 3D game engine made specifically to take advantage of the hardware. Several independent game developers regularly use the Unity engine to make and port their games so this announcement is a big deal.
The future seemed very bright for the Nintendo NEW 3DS hardware after this announcement but after this point the news started to slow down. Nintendo had a few direct presentations in early 2015 but none detailed exclusive content for the NEW 3DS hardware. E3 2015 ( Electronic Entertainment Expo) was only a few months after the release of the Nintendo NEW 3DS hardware so many people expected Nintendo to showcase many upcoming exclusive games during that major event. During E3 Nintendo revealed several upcoming 3DS games and a few of them used the features of the NEW 3DS, but sadly not a single NEW 3DS exclusive was revealed at E3 2015 .
One example of a new game using the New 3DS features was Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer which use the NEW 3DS’s NFC support to scan amiibo statues and cards. Metroid Prime Federation Forces is another example of an announced game that uses NEW 3DS features with its use of the C stick nub on the NEW 3DS for dual analog controls . If you are an owner of the original 3DS you can buy a separate NFC adapter (not currently available) so you can use amiibo functionality in the Animal Crossing game. You can Also buy a separate circle pad pro accessory to play Metroid prime federation forces game with dual analog controls . Simply put owning a NEW Nintendo 3DS system only makes playing these two games more convenient for the player so they don’t need to purchase additional accessories.
Sadly it seems that the NEW 3DS is a console of convenience and not a legitimate successor to the Nintendo 3DS line of hardware. It’s convenient that the NEW 3DS has NFC amiibo abilities built into the hardware. It’s convenient that the NEW 3DS has additional controller inputs built into the hardware. Nintendo so far has failed to make the NEW 3DS worthwhile as a handheld console on its own merit. I know that it’s extremely early in the life cycle of the NEW 3DS, but it’s very worrisome for Nintendo to release new hardware and not give it exclusive content or even allude to any upcoming content. E3 2015 was the first time the NEW 3DS was present during that big event and it’s outrageous that Nintendo decided not to showcase the NEW 3DS further. Many of the upcoming 3DS game trailers showed the NEW 3DS in the video, but Nintendo never directly mention the advantages of using the NEW hardware. I am stunned that during E3 Nintendo didn’t bother in including a sizzle reel of upcoming 3rd party/ indie NEW 3DS games that use the Unity 3D engine . Nintendo should have used E3 2015 as a tool to market the NEW 3DS and give it more of a focus and further cement the desire for consumers to upgrade. Many people are still confused to what makes the NEW 3DS special and using E3 to highlight the strengths of the NEW console seems a missed opportunity for Nintendo.
I understand that Nintendo does not want to fragment the market but honestly this move does not give the fans confidence that the NEW 3DS is worth buying. Market fragmentation is normal as new hardware releases and it's perfectly acceptable to give new hardware some exclusive games. It’s admirable that Nintendo doesn’t want to alienate its current 3DS owners, but now they have done the opposite and alienated the NEW 3DS owners. Nintendo has been able to play both sides of the fence before. The Legend of Zelda game series has several examples of giving exclusive content to a new console yet make it still compatible with older hardware. The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons on the game boy color had an exclusive shop that you could only access if you played it in the game boy advance hardware.
The Legend of Zelda Links awakening DX had a similar exclusive dungeon if played on game boy color instead of the original game boy.
With the recent release of the Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask 3D Nintendo only added additional camera control if you are playing the game on the NEW 3DS hardware, but again if you have a circle pad pro accessory you can have access to this feature so it's far from an exclusive feature. Why couldn't Nintendo make an exclusive amiibo functionality for the NEW 3DS version or simply lock the frame rate or allow the player to use the ZL, ZR buttons ? Maybe Nintendo could use super smash brothers for 3ds as a bridge title and include the Ice Climbers as an exclusive character since the original 3ds can't handle the character in game. So far Nintendo has not done anything to help bridge the gap between game consoles like they did before.
With the 2015 holiday shopping season coming in a few months, what reason do parents have to upgrade their children’s 3DS models to the NEW 3DS outside of convenience, since not a single game uses the superior graphical processor ? Currently in the United States the NEW 3DS model retails for only $20 more than the previous 3DS XL model, so the decision to upgrade isn’t obvious. I understand that hardware manufactures want to give customers some time before abandoning the older hardware for the newer one, but it appears that Nintendo is totally ignoring the NEW 3DS hardware all together and hasn’t done anything to incentive the purchase of the NEW 3DS hardware. Up to my knowing not a single new exclusive game will be released for the NEW 3DS system within the next year. Seriously this is pathetic and brings in to question to why Nintendo even bothered releasing the new hardware to begin with. Nintendo could have released a new model of 3DS with the new inputs before, so why wait until now? Why does Nintendo even bother releasing this new hardware with better graphics card and faster processor if they don't plan on using it ?
I bought a NEW 3DS in February of this year because I wanted to be future proof and be able to purchase future exclusive games, so far that future is not materializing. This personal frustration is part of the reason for this editorial, because it doesn't seem like my purchase was worthwhile. It seems like the New 3DS hardware was only released as an afterthought to help generate some new sales and revenue to impress investors. It seems like Nintendo didn't make the NEW 3DS to make new games that couldn't be done before with the previous hardware. I understand this is part of the business world, but without any exclusive content the sales spike the NEW 3DS initial had will not continue . The NEW 3DS sales have been even better in Japan so it's even more strange that no new exclusive games have been announced for the NEW 3DS hardware considering that it'd been so popular in Nintendo's homeland .The NEW Nintendo 3DS has sold fairly well in the short time it’s been available in the market, but if Nintendo wants the sales to continue it must outline a plan for the future.
If Nintendo isn’t supporting the NEW 3DS hardware with exclusive games, why should 3rd party and indie game developers even bother? By Nintendo not supporting NEW 3DS early on it creates a horrible precedent and gives consumers no reason to upgrade and 3rd parties have little incentive to make games if they don't even see Nintendo paving the way. The NEW 3DS owners are a smaller userbase which can't grow without the promise of exclusive games. Nintendo has started a negative feedback loop that guarantees less sales of the hardware in the short term and more upset investors in the long term . This negative feedback loop is insidious, no software support causes less sales of the hardware and less sales of hardware equates to less software being made for the hardware and so forth. Nintendo needs to break this loop now and announce some exclusive NEW 3ds games soon or else this hardware will eventually fail. The original Nintendo 3DS had a rough start as Nintendo had to drop the price of the system only a few months after release and created an ambassador program to help allivate frustustration of early adopters. The 3DS had limited 3rd party support from the start and it dried up quickly because of low sales or the hardware. The negative feedback loop has already happened before and it seems like Nintendo is not paying attention and allowing it to happen again. Has Nintendo not learned anything from there previous mistakes? Why can't Nintendo make smaller scale games that are exclusive to the NEW 3DS on the e-shop to help showcase what the system can do? In a recent Kotaku article the President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime commented on the possibility of the smaller 3DS releasing in America and more NEW 3DS exclusive games coming soon. Sadly the President's answers were vague and generic in nature . Essentially the President of Nintendo of America is just dancing around the several unanswered questions that need to be resolved. In fact the entire launch surrounding the NEW 3DS has been filled with many unanswered questions. Why such a large delay between Japanese and American launches? Why wasn't a exclusive game available at launch of the system? Will the NEW 3DS hardware be the last hardware to use stereoscopic 3D? Will Nintendo have a direct presentation in the future detailing the future of the NEW 3DS?
In a Iwata asks interview segment for the recent release of the Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask 3D Nintendo mentions the NEW 3DS hardware was in the works for some time now. So why are so few games being made for it? Nintendo is not in a position to just release hardware and ignore it, sadly Nintendo's current home console the Wii U is considered a failure, and the original 3DS undersold compared to its predecessor the Nintendo DS/ DSi . Nintendo has talked about expanding and selling mobile phone games and establishing a new video game console code named the " NX ". Will the mobile phone games also be available to the 3DS / NEW 3DS ?
Am I supposed to believe that Nintendo will be making mobile phone games, 3ds games, NEW 3DS games, Wii U games and NX games within the next year or two? I refuse to believe that Nintendo has the capacity to make so many games for so many different hardware when the recent track record of games releases has been so sparse. In closing I am left with many questions and not many answers regarding the future of the NEW 3DS hardware and its software . Sadly I can't even answer my own original question. What is the future for the NEW 3DS? Honestly I don’t have a clue, and I seriously doubt that Nintendo even has one either.
- Adolph Vega
Founder & Editor-In-Chief of 3dor2d.com
Nicalis Inc. tweeted that the Binding of Isaac game is coming to New 3DS on July 23rd 2015 in North America. This is only the second New 3DS exclusive game.
Nintendo of America finally released the smaller NEW 3DS in two bundles. The Animal Crossing happy home designer bundle and the Pokemon bundle. You cannot buy face plates in stores, and you cannot buy the smaller bundle outside of these bundles within the US.
I updated the article with more pictures and cleaned up the text layout so it's easier to read.
I originally posted this article on June 30th 2015 and as of September 25th 2016 not much has changed.
Nintendo revealed information regarding the NEW 3DS on a March 3rd 2016 during a Nintendo Direct Presentation . Please go to 18:34 time stamp for this New 3DS news, you can watch it below:
So the New Nintendo 3DS will allow you to purchase, download and play Super Nintendo Virtual Console games. The old 3DS hardware won't work for these games . If you already own these games via Wii or Wii U virtual console you will NOT receive any discount or have the ability to sync game data from other versions of the game you already own.
No 1st party games from Nintendo have released for the New 3DS and no games are currently known to exist. Hyrule Warriors Legends released for the Nintendo 3DS and the 3D feature is exclusive to players who use the New 3DS system and the game runs better on the New 3DS hardware, but it's still playable on the original 3DS hardware. A small indie game Brick Race released for the NEW 3DS, on the e-shop but it doesn't do anything special with the new hardware. This appears to be a game using the Unity engine but I cannot confirm this. A 3rd party game Runbow Pocket is scheduled to release exclusively on the New 3DS sometime in the fall of 2016.
On August 8th 2016 Nintendo did announce a new smaller NEW 3DS bundle. This bundle comes with Super Mario 3D Land and is an Walmart and Target exclusive for $149.99.
You can read about this bundle by clicking here
Sadly it still seems like Nintendo refuses to release the smaller NEW 3DS without a bundled game of some sorts, which is a shame.
Kotaku.com news article on the smaller NEW 3DS hardware coming to America :
Iwata asks interview about The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask 3D that talks about the NEW 3DS hardware (section 5) :
Unity Engine supporting New 3DS:
Nintendo life article on Life Speed the 3rd possible NEW 3DS Game :