Friday, August 29, 2014

Nintendo Reveals The New Nintendo 3DS (XL)!

Nintendo's recent Japanese 3DS Nintendo Direct revealed a new model of 3DS being added to the successful line of hardware. Known as the New Nintendo 3DS, the system will come in the same sizes as the standard 3DS and the 3DS XL. The system will feature quite a few improvements over the original 3DS which is approaching its 4th birthday. Here is a full breakdown of the improved 3DS hardware:
  • More Powerful Hardware - The New Nintendo 3DS (XL) will feature a faster CPU that will allow for faster system operation, quicker eShop downloads and more complex games. Rumors have also surfaced that the FCRAM and VRAM have both been doubled in the new hardware. This means that there will be special games that will ONLY work on the new hardware such as Xenoblade Chronicles (a New 3DS port of the Wii original) which was just announced for the machine. Where the original 3DS was about as powerful as the GameCube, the new system will be in line with the Nintendo Wii.
  • C-Stick - The new system now features a second analog stick above the A, B, X, Y buttons on the right side of the system (the design was inspired by the GameCube C-Stick).
  • Colors - The New Nintendo 3DS will come in Black or White while the New Nintendo 3DS XL will come in Metallic Blue or Metallic Black.
  • New Layout - The Stylus, Power Button and Game Card Slot have all been moved to the bottom of the unit. The top of the system now features 2 additional buttons in the form of ZR and ZL (these buttons were featured on the Circle Pad Pro)
  • Adjustable Brightness - The screen can automatically adjust brightness depending on the lighting. This will give better battery life depending on your lighting. A welcome feature for indoor and outdoor play.
  • Improved 3D - The original 3DS used an impressive glasses free 3D screen to produce its 3D effect but this meant that you had to keep your head in a "sweet spot" to experience the effect. The new system uses the built in camera and gyro sensors for head tracking meaning the system can make adjustments to ensure the 3D effect isn't blurred when you move your head.
  • NFC Reader/Writer - The New 3DS has a NFC reader/writier built into the lower screen which will support Nintendo's upcoming Amiibo toys without any additional hardware (similar to how the Wii U GamePad has a NFC reader/writer built into it). 
  • Improved Battery Life - The new hardware will expand its battery life to be in line with the current 3DS XL (if not a little better). Based on a variety of factors, the systems will play 3DS software for to 6+ hours while original DS software can be played for up to 11+ hours. Brightness, 3D and Wireless settings will all effect the max time but overall, it will be a marked improvement over the previous models.
  • Improved Web Browsing - The New 3DS will feature an updated Web Browser that takes advantage of the systems increased power/speed and even features support for HTML 5. Hopefully this will put the New 3DS web browsing capabilities in line with the excellent Wii U browser (One of the best console based web browsing experiences available).
  • New Storage - For gamers who need to expand their storage for eShop software, the new system will use Micro SD card instead of the Standard SD cards used for current machines. This new storage will be located under the back faceplate of the unit where the battery is located. It has been rumored that the new console will wirelessly link with your computer to transfer data so players won't have to swap the SD card in and out of the unit.

Official US pricing has not been revealed but Japanese pricing gives us a rough idead of what to expect. The New Nintendo 3DS is priced at 16,000 yen (roughly $155) and the New Nintendo 3DS XL is priced at 18,800 yen (roughly $181). When you take exchange rates into account, the new systems will likely cost about as much as their current counterparts. The New 3DS will hit Japan on October 11 while North America and Europe will have to wait until 2015 (March 2015 or later is the most likely scenario). Here is a quick trailer showcasing the new system and its many improvements. Enjoy!

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