Anyone who may wish to purchase a 3DS XL may wish to do so this holiday season, as Nintendo has announced on their official Japanese page that they are ending production of the jumbo sized version of its 3DS handheld system for Japan in the coming months. With the 3DS XL end of life reached in Japan, it puts a time table on the Americas and European territories that have not seen a solid release date yet for the new 3DS and its larger counterpart, the 3DS LL.
The new 3DS is the fourth iteration of the 3DS console, with the original 3DS, 3DS XL, and the 2DS as the precursors to the new models. The primary additions to the new models, the New 3DS and Ne2 3DS XL, include a new right analog stick dubbed the “C-Stick,” two additional trigger buttons, and a more powerful CPU, giving future games the ability to increase their graphical fidelity and gameplay. Functionally, the new system is basically an integration of the circle-pad pro accessory for the current 3DS which added a full size right analog stick rather than a small nub found on the new models. Other additions include built-in NFC communications for the new Amiibo figures, wireless file transfer between PCs, eye tracking for 3D viewing, and auto brightness.
Nintendo has a long history of modifying its hand held systems after several years on the market. The original Game Boy that shipped in the iconic gray and purple chassis with the green monochrome screen was later replaced by multicolor case versions. The Game Boy Advance went through two revisions, including the addition of a back-lit display. The next console was the 3DS, which became the biggest hand held console to date in terms of sales, and went through three distinct revisions including the 3DSi XL. While none of the revisions from the previous handheld consoles made strides in raw power, the new 3DS is the first hardware revision that Nintendo has made during a product’s life cycle. The 3DS XL reaching the end of life will signify either a much-needed step forward for the company or risk splitting the market and driving down sales even further in a market that is saturated by iOS and Android-based gaming.
The new 3DS, which the Inquisitr has reported on previously, has been seen as a great step forward by some, and a giant misstep by others. Detractors from the remodel which is bringing the end of life status to the old 3DS XL and 3DS, say it will divide the market again, much as it was during the N64 era with the memory expansion pack required to play certain games. The new 3DS will feature new games with a new cartridge form, preventing them from fitting into the outgoing 3DS XL model. One of the new games already confirmed by Nintendo is a port of the Wii title Xenoblade Chronicles.
The proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, and the pudding is very good for the new 3DS. According to Nintendo, the new 3DS is the fastest selling remodeled device in the company’s history. Almost half a million units have been sold since its October 11 launch in Japan, with 230,000 of those moved in the first 48 hours. The system was released on November 21 for Australia and New Zealand, with a launch date of 2015 for North America and Europe.
With the 3DS XL reaching its end of life in Japan, it shows that Nintendo is confident that the remodeled handheld will be what it needs to stay relevant in the gamer mind space as the Apple and Android devices continue to increase their market space in North America and Europe. How it will do in the next year? Time will tell.
[Image Source | Nintendo of Japan]