It’s official: the Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL are getting a hardware upgrade. No, it won’t be faster, but there will be a few changes and additions with respect to controls: there’s a new control stick, similar to the C-stick on the GameCube controller and a new set of bumpers have been added to the back of the handheld.
My take: it’s bringing us closer to letting us play Wii U games with the 3DS versus using the Wii U Gamepad and it hints at the possibility of playing GameCube and N64 games on the 3DS through the Virtual Console service or, if the handheld is not powerful enough to do so, streamed from the Wii U base.
Upgrades to hardware fragment the userbase. Does this mean that new games will be released that can only be played on the new versions of the 3DS? From my view, it’s much more likely that this is Nintendo’s attempt to bridge the gap between the living room and the bus stop.
Consider how cool it would be if Nintendo mimicked Sony’s Vita/PS3 hand-off, where you could give up playing on the Wii U Virtual Console but continue your game on the run while you go to school or commute.
Perhaps we might see more asymmetry, like NFL2K for the Dreamcast, which took advantage of the screen on the memory cards to display football plays to only the players on the team and hid them from competing players.
What’s your take?