If you haven't already heard, during a Japanese 3DS Nintendo Direct this morning a new iteration of the 3DS model called the, I kid you not, 'New 3DS' is on the way, because if you hadn't realized it by now: Nintendo's console/game naming department is filled with cocaine addicts. This 'New' handheld features an upgraded CPU, a second analog stick that looks more like a zit, two additional ZR and ZL shoulder buttons, and a sleek new design that looks exactly like the previous 3DS(es)! It's literally the DSi of the 3DS generation, and if that console is any indication to the future of this 'New' handheld we're going to experience the whole "Which DS is which" scenario all over again, because...
3. The Name 'New 3DS' Is the Most Vague Name Ever
Hey, remember when the 3DS came out and FOX News called it a '3D DS'? Or remember way back when the DSi came out and GameSpot thought it was a new system? Hell, I remember when the 2DS first came out and some unfortunate GameStop employee had to describe the difference between that system and the 3DS to every parent that came into the store. Well now amplify that confusion to 11 because the 'New 3DS' is here! You can pretty much guess how that conversation will go down during Christmas shopping:
"I would like to buy a 3DS for my son."
"Will that be new or used?"
"Do you mean a new 3DS or the NEW 3DS?"
"Is there a difference?"
"The NEW 3DS plays new current 3DS games."
"Okay...I guess I'll buy my son that then."
"Will that be a new NEW 3DS or a used NEW 3DS?"
"Is there a difference?"
"No, one is just used."
"But you just said it was NEW??"
"Because it plays NEW games."
"So it can't play his older Game Boy and Xbox games?"
"So can this play 'NEW' 3DS games too?"
"If I say yes, sir, will you leave the store?"
It's as if Nintendo never learned anything from the Wii U/Wii/Wii Mini everyone-thinks-it's-the-same-console-clusterf**k, they outdone naming stupidity once again by adding the prefix "New" to their consoles. Note that the 3DS also struggled to form an audience during it's first year because of it's similar name to the DS, so it's absolutely baffling why Nintendo would want to mimic that disastrous attempt at promoting two similar handheld iterations at once, only this time promoting three handheld iterations that look nearly identical and have similar names- and this is just two years after Iwata said there will be no more 3DS iterations because they would confuse gamers. Most fanboys will know the difference and buy the console anyway, since that's the audience Nintendo is obviously trying to impress, but to the rest of the gaming public it's just another confusing DS iteration. But hey, at least it doesn't have exclusive games? Right?
2. It Will Have Exclusive Games You Can't Play on Previous 3DS Systems.
I've already read dozens of posts in comment sections defending Xenoblade as a N3DS exclusive by saying ignorant quips like "This is no different than Apple releasing a new iPhone every year, and everyone buys still it no matter what economy we're in. This is no different and you'll just buy it anyway". It's amazing we're still comparing apples (no pun intended) to oranges, and it's highly stereotypical to believe that every gamer is a fanboy who throws money at every single new hardware that comes out. It seems to be an elaborate scam to tease cult gamers into buying a system they don't technically want. It gets worse when developers jump in on the action and start producing games exclusively for that handheld iteration (I'm looking at you WayForward), and at one point the DSi was even starting to get re-tail games. RE-TAIL. Not downloadable games mind you, but physical copies of DSi games next to DS games, because confusing people apparently boosts sales. Fortunately, you can only name all the physical DSi re-tail games on one hand, and pretty much all 100% of them were awful enough to deter other developers from supporting the system.
This game probably only ruined about two birthdays and one guy's video game boxart career tops.
Judging by the reports of the N3DS having an upgraded CPU, Nintendo will inevitably promote it as a 'New' handheld system, and more exclusives will inevitably follow after Xenoblade, potentially something like the Pokemon X and Y sequels or GBA VC just to sell consoles. And it's a stretch, but who knows if they'll raise the price of these exclusives to $50 a pop just because they can. But hey, it's your money, so I don't care how you use it. Just note that....
1. You'll End Up Buying a Prototype To the Next Gen Nintendo Handheld
The 'New' 3DS is to the next portable system as the DSi was to the 3DS: a prototype for what's to come, and not much more. So far, what little 'new' the N3DS does offer isn't anything spectacular. The 3DS is already getting an amiibo peripheral, and you can buy a Circle Pad Pro for a second analog stick if you really wanted it. Considering that the N3DS is releasing in Japan just a month after Smash Bros 3DS its primary existence could just be a glorified Smash Bros peripheral. Will the extra shoulder buttons even be backwards compatible? Would we need them other than for Monster Hunter? Probably not.
Its shelf-life won't be incredibly long either. Judging by Nintendo's launch timeline, the DSi was released 5 years after the DS, with the 3DS released just 2 years later. If that's any indication Nintendo has one year to convince people into buying the thing, a year to convince them to buy what ever exclusives the iteration will have and another year to disappoint everyone when they announce the next gen handheld. While the 3DS could last a lot longer than what I'm speculating, the fact still stands that the next gen handheld is in the making, so buying a whole new iteration now would be gambling $160 on something that will be outdated in a few years.
It's like the 2DS...only with 3D!
Here's my tip to Nintendo before releasing this iteration to western audiences: remove the moniker 'New' in its title and replace it with something like the suffix 'Pro', and then sell it as a '3DS with Circle Pad Pro built-in', while taking special care to promote this as a 3DS and not a new system. And finally, instead of full-on exclusives why not just give exclusive content to N3DS owners? At least that way everyone gets the game. Just try not to confuse everyone too much this time around, okay?