Nintendo has revealed that their New Nintendo 3DS XL system, which has been out in Japan since October, is making its way to North American consumers next month. This updated model of the popular 3DS XL will include several performance bumps, as well as hardware improvements to make more complex games accessible.
The long awaited second joystick comes in the form of a C Stick, which is being added just above the ABXY buttons on the right-hand side of the 3DS. Nintendo has released a less-than-impressive add-on that bulked up the 3DS in order to give you twin stick controls, but this new addition keeps the 3DS’ signature slim profile intact and should still allow for the added control that modern games are requiring more frequently.
Nintendo’s popular amiibo toys are getting some love on the 3DS now as well, with the addition of built in amiibo & NFC support. This will mean that you can now put your amiibo down on the 3DS’ bottom screen and you’ll be good to go – no need for a cumbersome add-on.
In addition to the two shoulder buttons that Nintendo’s handhelds consoles have always had dating back to the GameBoy Advance, there will now be two additional buttons on the back of the New 3DS XL. These appear to be similar in appearance and in function to the Wii U and other home console’s “bumper” buttons, that put more control and variety in how you utilize in-game characters, especially in quick first-person shooters.
Never one to disclose their specific system specs, Nintendo did state that the 3DS will include “faster processing,” which will improve boot times and greatly improve download speeds, both of which have been notoriously slow on the aging handheld.
Perhaps the most interesting feature in the New 3DS XL is the addition of Face Tracking 3D technology. If you have played a 3DS in the past, you know that the 3D effect only really works on one very specific angle. Move too far left or right and you are met with a blurry and headache-inducing image. With this new technology, the 3DS’ inward facing camera will now follow your face and determine where the best location to show the 3D effect is located. How well this actually works and how quickly it responds to your movement is something that will of course require some hands-on time.
The best news about this new hardware? Nothing about it will hinder older games, or require you to buy it in order to play new games coming out. All of the additions, including that 3D face tracking, are hardware upgrades. This means that if a game is capable of taking advantage of the new upgrades they will do so; if they can’t they won’t. Simple as that.
The New Nintendo 3DS XL hits North America store shelves on February 13th. You can check out the full trailer below, and see even more information revealed during the full Nintendo Direct that aired earlier today.