Yesterday, Nintendo announced the 3DS XL, a 3DS that is bulkier and size and sports a 4.18 inch screen. We can probably expect various sizes of new 3DS handhelds in the future, if the DS’s track record is anything to go by, but there are a few things that are off about this new iteration in the series. It has no Circle Pad Pro built in, and there is no room to put it anywhere. The price is a whole $100 less than the original 3DS, ringing up at $200 instead of $300. The most this addition has to offer is a larger screen that can spread out the graphics and let you get a closer look at their sharp vector edges—at best. Whether the system actually renders those larger graphics or just scales up the original images is unknown, and the latter is most likely.
Because it has no Circle Pad Pro support built in and no room for the Circle Pad Pro extension, even though there are plenty of high-profile games using it, the system will alienate players. Granted, putting the Circle Pad Pro extension into the 3DS might make it a different console entirely, but there is presently no known way to play games that require Circle Pad Pro. Monster Hunter 3DS, Resident Evil Revelations, and Metal Gear Solid 3DS all use the peripheral to improve their controls, with many more high-profile games on the way. The first Circle Pad Pro add-on caused a stir of its own, since they were essentially telling original customers they needed to buy more than just the handheld to ensure the best controls. Releasing the 3DS XL with the Circle Pad Pro built in might be in bad taste, but it’s better than making yet another peripheral just for the larger 3DS.
The 3DS XL is also cheaper than the original launch price at only $200, despite getting a size and power upgrade. I’m certainly not someone to complain over price, and $200 seems like the fairest price Nintendo can afford to offer. However, it does seem a little unfair to original customers, who spent $300 on an inferior product, saw a steep price drop less than half a year later, and now have to see a better product on sale for less than their original console. What’s more, the system went unannounced at E3. It’s been less than two weeks, surely they had some information on it—but they decided to delay their announcement in order to get more original 3DS sales. After all, if nothing was announced at E3, there’s nothing else for a Nintendo fan to spend it on.
In all honestly, the large size is likely due to the increased amount of work the graphics card has to do. They probably didn’t have room to add in the peripheral. But can you imagine the add-on? The handheld is already large enough as it is. Putting the Circle Pad Pro in should have taken precedence over an increased screen size. They already admitted they made a bad decision when they released the add-on in the first place. Nintendo has no reason to perpetuate something that they already know has inferior controls.