Well, Nintendo fans, it’s the end of another era.
It was announced today that the ever-present gaming company would be ceasing production for the standard-sized New Nintendo 3DS in all of their Japanese facilities. The announcement was made via the 3DS section of Nintendo’s official Japanese website, and stated that the black, white, and limited edition models of the base New 3DS will not be manufactured any longer.
What that means for the 3DS lineup in the Western world (i.e. North America & European markets) is still unclear. The Nintendo US Store has none of these New 3DS handhelds listed on the site, and the UK Store is only showing what remains of their stock of the limited edition bundles. So, it appears that once that stock is gone, that will be it for the long-running handheld.
All is not lost, though, dear readers. While Nintendo is no longer making the standard New 3DS, the company did announce today that a new addition to the handheld lineup is being added. The New 2DS XL handheld was released in Japan this morning, and is already available in the New Zealand and Australia markets.
The New Nintendo 2DS XL seems to have some pretty good functionality, too. According to Nintendo, gamers will be able to play all Nintendo 3DS, New Nintendo 3DS, and most Nintendo DS games in 2D on this system. The system will also have built-in Amiibo support, allowing those who use the eponymous figures to obtain bonus items or content, customize their character(s), and a host of other perks when using Amiibo figures with compatible games.
In addition, the system’s ZL and ZR buttons offer more control options in games, while Nintendo says that the C Stick adds enhanced controls (like intuitive camera controls) to the New 2DS XL.
At this point, it appears that Nintendo may be starting to shift their handheld lineup to a more streamlined three-option roster, which will include the 2DS, New 2DS XL, and the New 3DS XL. This theory comes following a statement made by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, who said in an interview with Time magazine that the New 2DS XL is “focused on that entry level gamer”. Fils-Aime went on to say that the new handheld is for “The four-, five-, six-year old that is just getting into gaming, but wants to play Mario Kart, wants to have a Super Mario Bros. experience, wants to play Pokémon. And we feel with Nintendo 3DS XL at $199 that it’s a fully-featured product, that it is, if you will, the Cadillac of handheld gaming. And then we heard from consumers, ‘Boy, I wish there was something in between.'”
Now, with the Switch having only been recently released, the questions that are probably on Nintendo’s collective hive mind is, “Will those who currently own the standard 2DS want to upgrade? Will the New 2DS XL’s redesign be enough to prompt a lateral move from 3DS XL owners? Only time will tell, and Nintendo will have to at least wait until the New 2DS XL releases in more markets worldwide. The re-vamped handheld is slated to hit the United States market on July 28, and will retail for $150 USD / AU $200 / £130.