With the Circle Pad Extension now a reality, some have asked the obvious question – does this mean that soon Nintendo will be forced to redesign the 3DS for a more demanding market?
It’s an interesting question, and I am in no doubt that the 3DS has its fair share of design flaws – the lack of a second analog stick just the start of a rocky road that has seen it have a difficult start in life.
That said, a redesign would be an incredible issue – so early into the consoles lifespan could be misconstrued and even lead to a product recall, effectively causing more financial damage to a company who, despite sitting on billions of dollars in reserve funds thanks to its past successes, has posted its first ever fiscal loss.
But IF the 3DS were to be redesigned – what would be added, and what would we lose?
Well, the first thing Nintendo would be likely to ditch – unsurprisingly – would be the 3D screen effect. Some may be horrified at this thought, but even Nintendo had to admit a few months ago that the 3D screen was not only a power drain but an unnecessary complication, and an issue when 13% of the general public can’t even see stereoscopic 3D. This is compounded by the fact they can’t really trailer in-game demos as… well… most screens are still normal flat 2D, and therefore cannot display the stereoscopic depth effect.
This surprisingly would also free up a significant portion of the hardware for graphical effects, which would – with the Vita delayed until next year for us in Europe – compete very nicely. It would also make the units cheaper. But then, it wouldn’t be the 3DS – it would be the DS2. Which makes more sense.
The second analogue stick would likely be moved under the ABXY buttons, much like an X-Box controller, and there would need to be a slight reworking on the Start, Select and Home buttons – flimsy and badly positioned as they are. You would also likely see an extra bumper button or two, and a new DS2 would need to be a little chunkier to accommodate that. Again, no real issue there.
And all of this would likely keep the 3DS price-competitive, and allow more seamless creation and porting of games old and new onto the hardware – if not making the hardware creation slightly cheaper overall.
But this is rhetorical. The 3DS is an amazing piece of kit, but it took risks that have failed to be pulled off. The 3D effect hurts my eyes at the best of times, especially the constant refocus from top to touch screens, and its a little flimsy and doesn’t feel as well-made as a normal Nintendo product.
But it has, with the price cut, started to sell more. Which is good. And as much as a 3DS redesign is inevitable, I’d say be careful what you wish for. Because a redesigned 3DS won’t be a 3DS… it will be a whole new handheld.
And it is unlikely, when that happens, that Nintendo will be willing or able to issue a recall on the 3DS.