Editorial: The New 3DS XL US Release

I'd bet good money that this image was used as a reaction pic on Reddit.
Even Shulk was upset about the AC adapter.

Since last year, Nintendo has been somewhat forthcoming with the hardware specifications of the New 3DS and New 3DS XL, the latter of which is a particularly annoying system name to type repeatedly. Apparently I can add a lack of alternating current support to that list, but first I need to address the elephant in the room, which is the fact that Nintendo seems to have deemed the US market unfit for its new handheld…or have they? Well, since I have a fresh cup of coffee next to me, I might as well sift through my thoughts on both.

On Wednesday, the day this is being written, Nintendo announced that US markets will get their collective mitts on only the New 3DS XL starting February 13th, removing a potentially paralyzing choice from my life, burdened with options as it is. Every morning, I dither over Brazilian Bold verses the tried and true House Blend, risking tardiness at work and leaving the other customers flummoxed. It is a careful decision, and one that begins my day, which is quite enough for me. However, I must write with a disclaimer, while keeping in mind how Microsoft reinstated consumer choice by allowing an Xbone to be purchased without a Kinect after appending it to the System of Sluggish Sales as a mandatory accouterment. If something changes by the time this writing is published, then I will perhaps have to gulp a steaming hot cup of my own words.

But we all want the Majora's Mask bundle. I mean, come on.
Monster Hunter 4 Edition needs love, too.

Previous to the announcement, I was perfectly in agreement with USGamer.net’s Jeremy Parish, who made some very sound arguments from multiple positions regarding the purchasing of a New 3DS anything. I happened to personally be in the camp of people who had upgraded to the 3DS XL within the last six months simply because I was in no mood to wait and replace my old one. Admittedly, I did have some buyer’s remorse, expecting this decision to come back and bite me when the release dates for the new systems were posted. As it turns out, I am pretty okay with this turn of events.

To explain why, it would be helpful to read Mr. Parish’s article while knowing that I liked to carry my old 3DS with me, leaving it nestled comfortably in my coat pocket as it waited to occupy the downtime of a cold Midwestern day. The screen size was a bit of a gripe, but not enough to push me over the edge and into an XL. Eventually, though, I came to a point where the upgrade made sense, and I went ahead with that, loving the larger screen, but finding the bulk of the system at odds with the size of the convenience chambers in my clothing. No matter where I tried to stow it, it was met with resistance and unacceptable congestion in my daily duds.

As the rumors flew on Monday, since someone at GameStop could not keep their mouth shut, I began mulling over, as Parish points out, upgrading while downgrading. Trade in my old 3DS XL for a shiny new New 3DS, since it has a marginally larger screen than its predecessor, and I could potentially once again return the system to my every day carry. I have to imagine Parish and I were not the only folks out there thinking this, even before he wrote the article and it certainly made sense to me. Clearly Nintendo did not share those thoughts.

Allow me to whip up a tin hat, press it upon my head, and speculate as to why Nintendo made this decision instead of just defaulting to the “declining 3DS sales in the US” explanation. At first I thought they were testing the waters. Announce the release on the XL only, examine the inevitable outcry, and see if releasing both would be profitable. I will not sit here and pretend to know anything about marketing strategies, but that does sound somewhat plausible when bounced about within my foil crown.

The fireball looks like an angry sperm.
Itsa me! Mariamiibo!

Another insane explanation I began telling myself includes the missing AC adapter, which by itself is rather vexing, but in context with the limited system selection, might actually make some sense if I take in to account that the US is full of consumer whores [citation needed]. The new systems will have Amiibo tails wagging, with a peripheral adapter coming for the old 3DS models, and based on the reports from the dust motes on the store shelves not too long ago, it is not hard to assume that Nintendo knows damned well what they are doing with the US market. It should be noted that I am not necessarily as against that as I sound, yet limiting a market to only the costlier system while denying that same market a charger that retails at less than ten US dollars still smells faintly of fish. The thing is, the Internet will (and has) put up a remarkable fuss over the lack of a charger and the option of the smaller unit, yet most of the people generating these comments will still throw their money at the new system and give a bump to every GameStop employee’s accessory purchase count by tacking on a charger. In short, Nintendo limiting sales to the more expensive product with a forced accessory will probably be a tidy profit for them since people will buy it anyway. What an embarrassing conspiracy.

I will now breathe a sigh of release as I remove this craggy tin hat and get back to business. Sure, the decision to limit the US to the New 3DS XL can, and probably will be explained by sales numbers, despite seeming weird on the surface. Ultimately, the only thing I can not figure out is the missing adapter. Nintendo has to know that many folks will probably take advantage of GameStop’s trade-in “deal” toward the new system, but GameStop requires the charger to buy back 3DS systems.

If Nintendo’s logic was something to the tune of “people who upgrade will already have the charger, so we can save some money,” then someone should probably be fired. I have bought an absurd amount of rechargeable electronics in my life, and I have never, that I can recall, purchased one that did not come with everything I needed to at least keep the product running. An AC adapter, or at the very least, a USB cable, is literally an expectation of the modern tech world. Even selling a 3DS on the web or to a friend implies the inclusion of the charger, unless otherwise specified or the seller is a complete twat.

While a faster chip set sounds wonderful, I have to ask what you, ravenous readers, are planning to do as fans of the 3DS line. Upgrading right away? Waiting it out to see what Nintendo adds to this initial roll-out in a new market? Does anyone anywhere actually care about the improved 3D display capabilities or other features? If you live in a region where the New 3DS is already out and about, do share some first-hand knowledge with us!


  1. I’ll upgrade IFF a game comes out that requires it and that I consider to be a must-play.

  2. I never played Xenoblade, so that’s tempting. Also, camera rotation would be nice. Especially in this game that I just got yesterday that I can’t quite talk about yet…


  3. There’s a really good chance I’ll be getting one of these. Only for the fact that it comes out three days after my birthday, so it will be a nice little gift to myself.

  4. How does Bup manage to drop his birthday into every comment he writes?

  5. I enjoy my 3DS enough as-is. Which is to say, not a whole lot, but that’s just the type of gamer I am. I am sympathetic to the people that would have wanted the smaller version, and am baffled by the meager cost-cutting measures Nintendo is imposing by skimping on the adapter. Lusi and I figured the savings to them amounts to about a dollar per system. Now ADD to that all the profit from AC adapter purchases, and you just can’t help but scowl.

    Additionally, the “c-stick” on the N3DS is not exactly ideal, is it? Maybe it’ll be ok for calmly rotating the camera in Majora’s Mask, but I can’t imagine its use in precision gameplay like an FPS or Smash Bros. Majora’s Mask will probably be the last 3DS game I buy for a long while.

  6. “Xenoblade requires the New 3DS, I believe.”
    That’s just a remake of the Wii game right? I’ll just play the Wii version then. My Wii U is perfectly capable of having two sticks.

  7. @DiceAdmiral: You’d have to use the WiiMote and the Classic Controller on your WiiU, as it is a Wii Game. Because it is not on the store (yet), you can’t use the Gamepad.

    I think the reality is that I am more likely to play it on a 3DS XL–but I say that having the knowledge that I might just as well not play it there, either.

  8. I have a classic controller pro, so that’s not a problem.

  9. @Mel: I purposely didn’t mention the c-stick because I need to feel it in action first (leaving that one wide open for Bup). At first glance, the placement seems HORRIBLE. Cramped by the top screen hinge and buttons, all waiting to be bumped by a larger thumb. There had to be a better way to execute it, and I almost feel like Nintendo intentionally made it a silly looking addition out of spite for the people who pissed and moaned for so many years about how much better the system would be with an extra thumbstick. Basically it’s them saying “here, now shut up.”

  10. I think it was Nintendo’s begrudging concession to developers that complained about the restriction of only having one analogue-style input. It’s the same pressure they caved to when they made the Wii U gamepad’s controls sticks instead of the originally intended circle pads.

    Yes, Nintendo’s home console was supposed to have circle pads.

  11. Right. Although, to be fair, the boosted chipset should make a difference on the dev end, giving them some more play when it comes to powering the game. We’ll see what they do with it. For all I know, the architecture could really suck. I want to say it’s ARM and Pica for the CPU and GPU respectively, but even if that’s correct, I have no idea what that looks like on the dev end. I’m betting good, so I’m not dismissing the New 3DS entirely, just holding off on it. Sort of a Mennonite approach; wait long enough to see the impact and full capabilities, then decide on adoption.

  12. I don’t care about any of the added features to this machine; it just comes down to what games come out on it, and that’s entirely too high up in the air of possibilities right now. I have little use for a portable gaming system, played 3DS mostly at home, and now my WiiU has almost completely replaced it, so it’s a very big “why should I care?” from me. And if I would have a reason to buy another portable system, there’s another one out there which is already more powerful, well-designed, and comes with a fantastic library of games, for the same price as a New 3DS. I’m eagerly awaiting to see what Atlus might do with it though.

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