While other companies have attempted to gain success in the handheld gaming market (most notably Sony with the PlayStation Vita), no one seems to understand the market more than Nintendo. For instance, many of you are familiar with this beast released in 1989:
Fast forward more than 2 decades later and Nintendo still reigns supreme in the handheld gaming market. Their most recent device, the 3DS, boasts an impressive user base of over 40 million. Things seem to be going well for Nintendo in terms of handheld devices- which is why their latest news of releasing an upgraded version of the 3DS seems bizarre.
This new device (appropriately titled “New 3DS”) essentially fixes some of the faults of the original 3DS while adding in a slew of additional features.
The New 3DS supposedly has:
- An improved screen that allows the effects of 3D to be viewed in many angles. This is a major improvement over the original 3DS, as gamers once had to find the “sweet spot” to correctly view the 3D effects. This resulted in users being restricted to one viewing angle.
- An improved CPU that allows more demanding games (both graphically and mechanically) to be played on the 3DS.
- An increased battery life. This is important as using 3D features drains battery quickly. The original 3DS had a battery life of about 4-5 hours.
- A new “C” button that allows for dual analog controls (similar to the PS Vita). This is one of the major upgrades from the original 3DS, as the original only had 1 analog control. With the addition of another button, games are now able to create a more vivid experience for gamers.
- A micro SD card slot
- NFC (Near Field Communication)Technology: To learn more about NFC technology, click here.
Nintendo UK PR has confirmed that the new 3DS won’t be released before 2015.
So what’s the big deal about an upgraded model?
While I’m an ardent supporter of improvement, I understand that some devices eventually become obsolete. I don’t see anyone using the original iPhone and rightfully so because it simply wouldn’t handle the abundance of features that a current generation iPhone has. Although Apple and most cell phone companies release a phone every year or so, I expect a different standard when it comes to gaming.
See, the problem with the new 3DS model is the DUAL analog controls along with the CPU. What this means is that games for the new 3DS will NOT be playable on the original 3DS, as it lacks the necessary hardware to properly play the games. An example of this would be Xenoblade Chronicles, a long anticipated 3DS title that will only be playable on the new 3DS:
Considering that the 3DS originally launched in 2011, making it obsolete after only 4 years is absurd, especially since the 3DS is performing amazingly right now. Unlike smartphones, video game devices are expected to last a long time. Companies like Sony aim to have all of their devices be relevant for at least a decade. Prematurely pulling the cord will definitely have its consequences, as over 40 million people will be forced to buy a new device if they want to play the latest and greatest games.
Some may argue that Nintendo has done this before with the Nintendo DS and DSi. For those of you unaware, the DSi was a massive overhaul and improvement from the original DS. The DSi was released in 2009 and the DS was released in 2004, so the time frame between these two devices is about the same as the 3DS and new 3DS.
However, it’s important to note that all physical games for the DSi were compatible for the DS. Purchasing the DSi was not mandatory to play the newest games, so owners of the original DS weren’t abandoned. This isn’t the case with the new 3DS, as explained above.
Accordingly, the New 3DS has received mixed reactions from fans. Some say it’s a welcome change, while others are rightfully angry that their newly purchased console will soon be obsolete. My advice to Nintendo would be to delay the release of the New 3DS or offer an upgrade program for owners of the original 3DS (ex: trade in your 3DS and pay $30 to get the New 3DS).
What do you think? Is Nintendo making a wise decision to release the New 3DS? Do you own a 3DS? Comment below and share your ideas and thoughts!