New 3DS Models Announced – Update

UPDATE: Nintendo has confirmed that the new models will be region locked, which means you won’t be able to buy one in Japan and then use it to play games purchased in North America. This shouldn’t come as too big a surprise given that Nintendo does this with most of their platforms, although some fans have probably thought about doing it anyway.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Handheld gaming is getting better, because Nintendo has unveiled the latest 3Ds and 3DS XL models.

The best new feature is that they both have a second analogue thumb stick built in, which makes the cumbersome Circle Pad Pro obsolete. Known as the C-Button, this will give players better control of first-person games, and is something that fans have been wanting for years. There’s also new shoulder buttons, a faster CPU, a micro USB slot, and an improved display that Nintendo says will offer better 3D visuals when viewed from different angles.

Another big feature is that both 3DS models will have built-in NFC technology, which means they’ll work with Nintendo’s upcoming Amiibo toys. They’re Skylanders-style figures that you buy in stores, which will unlock new in-game content across multiple Wii U and 3DS games. You can watch our chat with Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime about the Amiibo toys by clicking here.

The new 3DS and 3DS XL will hit Japan in October, with a North American release expected for next year. They can’t get here soon enough, because Nintendo has also announced that a new version of Xenoblade Chronicles, originally released on the Wii in 2010, is being built for the new models. They say they wanted to bring it to the original 3DS, but the CPU power was lacking, and the second thumb stick will also be a big help. It will not be playable on the older 3DS models.

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