New 3DS announcement! Iwata you sly bastard :P

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So, Nintendo surprised me by uploading a Nintendo Direct today that included a HUGE announcement (plus it’s great to see Iwata is recovering well from his surgery). They presented us with a new 3DS system! And it’s Japanese release date is October 11, 2014. That’s less than two months away! WTF.

Personally, I think this is a good time for an updated 3DS. Nintendo has a lot of momentum with new 3DS games coming out soon (I just got my Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright today!) and people seem to really be appreciating the 3DS more. Some people have complained that Nintendo is ripping people off, but I don’t feel that way with the new 3DS. Not like how I did with the DSi and I think they’ve learned from that. The new 3DS honestly feels like a lot of QoL changes that were a long time coming. To me, it’s the natural evolution of the system.

Now, let’s break it down!

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Iwata starts by talking about the new home menu that will be customizable and can be bought from the Nintendo eShop.

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Another example is shown with a Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds theme.

Then a small trailer video shows briefly the new features of the New 3DS system. Which Iwata goes into more detail later.

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There are 2 flavours of each New 3DS. The regular 3DS comes in white and black (this makes sense for later in the video). The XL/LL comes in metallic blue and metallic black.

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The screen sizes are talked about a bit. The XL/LL will have the same ~4″ screen. But the new 3DS will be ~3″ and have a difference of 1.2″ between the old and new versions.

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The new 3DS will have coloured ABXY buttons with similar colour of the Super Famicom. I don’t know if this will be the case for NA 3DS. I kinda hope they change them to the dark/light purple buttons of the SNES

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One of the major new hardware changes is the C-stick. It’s reminiscent of the Circle Pad Pro for the XL and the C-stick for the Gamecube. But this will be on both new regular and XL/LL systems. 

Games that were confirmed to support the C-stick or Circle Pad Pro are:

  • Monster Hunter 4G
  • Dragon Quest X (online)
  • Final Fantasy Explorers
  • Super Smash Bros 3DS

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Other hardware changes include the ZR and ZL shoulder buttons.

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The game cart slot, headphone jack, stylus holder, and power button will now all be located on the front.

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A look at the difference of stylus pens between the new 3DS and XL/LL.

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Size comparisons of old and new devices. The regular 3DS is slightly wider, longer, and heavier. Whereas the new XL/LL is close to the same size, but very slightly shorter and lighter. Although, this will mean that some cases and docking stations will not fit the new models.

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Battery life is extended slightly with the new models. I’m assuming this is with the screen turned on to full brightness. There’s a more noticeable difference with the regular 3DS. Then again, the system is also the oldest of the 4 shown.

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From what I understand, the new models will have auto brightness adjusters. When the 3DS is in a brightly lit area the screen will be brighter. If the 3DS is somewhere with little light, then the screen will adjust to a lower setting. This would save a lot on battery power.

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One of the best QoL improvements is the 3D screens. On the old devices if your head wasn’t perfectly aligned the 3D would be blurry. With the new 3DS and its gyro sensors you’ll be able to see the screen in 3D even when looking at the screen on an angle. 

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The new models will have NFC (near field communication) built-in. On the older devices the NFC would be present in a special game cart. This is presumably for the new Amiibo figurines that are set to launch soon. They’ll be compatible with Super Smash Bros 3DS.

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The new models will use microSD cards instead of SD cards. The card slot will be located under the back cover which is easy to remove without screws. Interestingly, the battery is also located here and seems to be easy to remove. As is the stylus holder which would make it easy to dislodge debris that may get stuck in there.

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You will also be able to transfer media from your microSD card to your computer using an access point, such as a local router. This is another needed QoL improvement as it’s not feasible to remove the card every time you want to transfer your photos/music. The downside is it’s only supported with Windows 8.1 and 7 OS. No Mac support. Also, from what I understand it supports microSDHC cards that are 4gb and larger (much like the SDHC cards for the older models).

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There’s a new built-in browser. You’ll be able to use the analog stick and the C-stick to maneuver webpages. The ZR will bring up the browser menu. And it’s capable of reading HTML5 websites, so it can also play videos too.

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The browser also has new parental controls which block unsafe websites. I’m not entirely clear on how this will work (or even if we’ll have this enabled on the NA/EU devices). From what I understand that by default the browser will block certain websites. In order to lift the restriction you will have to provide a valid credit card that will charge you 30yen (~$0.28 USD). 

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The new models will have a faster more powerful CPU installed. This will allow for faster browsing in the Miiverse and web browser. Games will also install faster through the eShop. 

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Here’s where things get a bit uncertain. From what I understand some games will utilize the new CPU making graphics in games perform better. I’m not sure if this means that there will be games that will only be able to run on the new 3DS models. Much like how the DSi had games that could not run on the DS Lite. 

Here they showed a new 3DS port for the Xenoblade Chronicles that was originally for the Wii. Presumably this game won’t run on the older 3DS models. But this makes me wonder if that means the CPU will allow for more ports on the 3DS or possibly expand the VC into more GBA games. Who knows?

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Price points for the new 3DS is 16,000yen (~$153.74 USD) and new XL/LL is 18,800yen (~$180.64 USD). With a release date for Oct. 11, 2014 in Japan! No word on North American or European release dates yet.

These are more than fair price points. Especially when you compare it to other systems out on the market. The 3DS XL and the PSP Vita are about $200. And the regular 3DS goes for about $175. 

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Docking stations are reasonable as well. New 3DS for 1,000yen (~$9.61 USD) and new XL/LL  1,200yen (~$11.53 USD). 

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And one of the best QoL changes IMO are the cover plates! The new 3DS (not the XL/LL) has removable cover plates that let you fully customize your device. There will also be matching home screen themes so that everything will match. This is why there are only white and black colours available. The covers go for 1,000yen (~$9.61 USD). 

I think this is a fantastic idea since I feel like there are 2 types of people when it comes to limited edition 3DSes. Those who are collectors and may not even play with the 3DS itself. And those who really like the designs and just want it to own. I fall in the latter and I don’t see the point in buying a whole other system just so I can have a cool design. This solves that problem from me since I have no qualms about buying covers for $10 a pop!

And as far as I can tell, the themes and covers are separate. But it would awesome if they came as a set. And I’m sure you can expect special edition covers to come out too.

I’ll leave you with more delightful covers and theme designs and combinations from the video! The Animal Crossing ones are my favourite!

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